Bloodsucking Cinema

There are three reasons for “Bloodsucking Cinema” premiering on Starz! as part of the Fearfest Month. One: there’s the premiere of David Slade’s “30 Days of Night” which is, coincidentally centered around blood thirsty vampires in a terrain where night lasts for a full month. Two: Starz! is ringing in the holiday again with this great two hour documentary, and three: vampires are just flat out fantastic pieces of lore and the occult. Ever since I was a child from Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee, vampires have been one of my primary focuses of the horror genre. They’re the easiest monster to create for the screen, and they’re the most prevalent, and that’s because there’s still so much to do with the vampire mythology.

There’s so much lore, so much regional vampire legends, and so many centuries of vampire tales stemmed from paranoia, fear of the unknown and medical anomalies that it will live on forever; no clear surprise, considering vampirism centers around immortality. They’re manifestations of our deepest human desires, the creatures that break down all of our taboos and sexual limits and feast on the human essence. Allow me to be a contradiction here, but while “Bloodsucking Cinema” is a good enough vampire documentary, it’s just rather disappointing.

It’s an hour long recapping of some of the best and most interesting moments in modern vampire cinema and really is just a superficial homage to vampire cinema, and the sub-genre in general. We never delve deeper into the lore, we never discuss the actual great titles, and we never bother to see what influence they’ve had over cinema in general. “Blood Sucking Cinema” will definitely be fun to the starter movie geek, or perhaps that horror fan who loves to revisit vampire cinema, but as a whole it just glosses over a great portion of vampire cinema, and fails to really provide a deep and extraneous insight into the sub-genre that’s garnered legions of followers.

While it’s always interesting to see people like Greg Nicotero and John Carpenter discuss the mechanics of movie special effects and the basic reasons for their fascination with directing said films, there’s really nothing more to this than a series of interviews, and clips from great movies like “Lost Boys” to surprisingly deep glimpses into stuff like “Van Helsing.” The biggest problem with this particular product is that it states the obvious from beginning to end. We’re basically asked to sit for an hour and watch these men spout

the same quotes we’ve heard a hundred times over, and we’re never given the privilege of listening to an expert of folklore, we never hear the background of these directors in vampire cinema, and we never even hear if these people enjoy the concept of vampires to begin with. People thought all vampires talked with Romanian accents after “Dracula,” Hammer films brought an edge to the lore, there’s clearly nothing here that these directors will explain that we don’t already know, and in many instances it can feel like a waste of time. For a Halloween buffer course, it’s a lot of fun, there’s no doubting that, but the documentary is just a rather unusual byproduct.

Hosted by Richard Roeper, featuring interviews with Uwe Boll, and Stephen Somers, and discussing perhaps some of the worst vampire films ever made like “Bloodrayne” and “Van Helsing” as if they actually provided some sense of influence on the culture. I could never understand why these clips were included, especially since “Bloodsucking Cinema” has a pretext that it’s delving into vampire cinema of considerable impact. The way they feature “Bloodrayne” with such intent, stern insight, and exploration is hilarious, to say the least.

Considering it was basically a cheap B movie, its inclusion is utterly dumbfounding. Furthermore, they focus on Anne Rice and how she forever altered vampire cinema. Sure, she altered it forever with “Interview with the Vampire,” but it ruined vampires as a conceptual monster and turned them into frilly angst ridden drama queens. I love vampires, and I love the sub-genre in all its flaws, but “Bloodsucking Cinema” is a wonderful concept with sadly the same old territory unfolded for audiences. In the way of Halloween entertainment, it’s a definite quick pleasure, but there’s really nothing beyond simple popular titles.

However, if Starz! is planning on making this a yearly event exploring horror sub-genres, then consider me an instant Starz! subscriber.

Premiering on Starz! Television October 26th! Check your Local Listings.