This Halloween I’m celebrating the holiday by re-visiting some of my favorite vampire movies. Vampires have been one of my favorite monsters, and I’ve seen every title I could get my hands on from Dracula 1931 to Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I have typically have a soft spot for vampire movies, and have quite a large list of films about bloodsuckers that I can’t boast about enough. While I have a large library of films from the sub-genre I’d love to re-visit someday, I narrowed it all down to five of the best vampire movies I’ve ever seen. These five have constantly popped in to my repertoire time and time again, and never wear out their welcome. These are my five best vampire movies of all time.
It must either be really wise decision making, or a really weird coincidence that Eva Green stars in two Frank Miller based projects in 2014, both of which are pretty much just god awful cash grabs of their former films, and she ends up being about the best aspect of both films. Green really stole “Rise of an Empire” from everyone, and here she seems to embrace the absurdity in the incredibly rancid “A Dame to Kill For.” I’m not going to say I’m disappointed that “A Dame to Kill For” is awful, mainly because I didn’t ask for a sequel and I didn’t want one. I likened “Sin City” to Robert Rodriguez’s own wonky version of “Pulp Fiction.”
Danny Trejo has been in almost three hundred films, and at the age of sixty nine (turning seventy this year!), he is by no means slowing down. He has almost a dozen projects lined up in 2014, including a supporting role in the upcoming George Lopez series on FX in America. Trejo is a man who obviously loves to work and will be in almost anything. Whether you enjoy the movie or not, you have to admit the man has presence and a unique charisma that makes him stand out, whether he’s playing a bar tender, or a janitor. While Mr. Trejo has managed to amass a humongous list of films and television roles, here are five we especially enjoyed from his long and well earned career.
Not surprisingly, when long time film making pals Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez teamed up to make a horror movie, in the end it felt like two different movies. For folks unaware of the duo’s style of writing and film making, the second half will completely blow away anyone entrenched in the crime drama that is the first half of the film. “From Dusk Till Dawn” begins like a hyper violent take off of “Reservoir Dogs.” Seth Gecko and his brother Richie have broken out of jail leaving a trail of bodies behind, and are now hiding out in a gas station. Just their luck a sheriff comes in to chat with the owner, and thanks to a series of mishaps, Seth and Richie leave the gas station and its workers dead in a hail of gunfire and flames.
Robert Rodgriguez’ filmography reads like a bucket list of films he’s always wanted to do. “The Faculty” is a modern teen horror film for the “Scream” fanatics, but tailored by a man who grew up on classic science fiction and horror. The film in essence is abundantly silly, but Rodriguez adds his own flourishes such as casting his favorite actors and combining story elements from “Invaders from Mars,” “The Thing,” and “Invasion of the Body Snatchers.” Most of all “The Thing.” Rodriguez includes his own version of the blood test, as well as the detached head moving on its own consciousness much to our shock. Granted, the CGI for most of these effects are nonsensical, and in today’s advances, the more upfront scenes of CGI carnage are just so blatant, but “The Faculty” has an unusual charm to it.
Robert Rodriguez proves with “Machete” that his and Tarantino’s little experiment entitled “Grindhouse” was much more of a failure than fans originally suspected. While both of their original films were basic flops at the box-office, Rodriguez is given another shot with “Machete” a film that began life in popularity as a mock grindhouse trailer before “Planet Terror” and eventually became a feature length film. And much like most of Rodriguez’ films, he takes what could have been an amazing premise and turns it in to a scattered, confusing, and muddled piece of action cinema that throws a host of characters at the screen, all of whom he can barely keep up with at one time.
I’m one of those people who very much looked forward to “Pontypool,” and am not ashamed to admit that I was utterly disappointed with this production. It was dull as day old bread, lacked in sheer suspense and tension and sadly didn’t quite creep me out as much as its double “Dead Air” did. Not quite a zombie movie, people like to brand it as such and there aren’t even many zombies that pop up. What we get in the end is a practice in a cinematic dry humping that promises frights and never actually delivers. Seek out “Dead Air” for a nearly identical premise that works much better.
So this is what it’s come to for Rodriguez. Trading all his indie cred for a movie that plays like a messy sloppy concoction of ideas that never even bother to sort out its stories and characters for the audience. Instead, per Robert’s usual bad habit, we’re given a bunch of supporting characters, main characters, and side characters, all of whom are barely emphasized in the wide scope of this ADD enhanced stink pile. Rodriguez’s style of making the cheapest movie with his quick fix CGI has become something of a really bad habit where the man doesn’t even seem to want to try his hand at complicated filmmaking anymore.