31 Days of Horror: Day Eleven
I was doing a Google search just now to find something striking to use as the feature image for this blog post and apparently one of the most frequently asked questions about this film is “is Blood Red Sky a horror movie?”
Well, if you can’t tell from the trailer, or from this German version of the movie poster, yes, yes–Blood Red Sky is very much a horror movie. If you’re one of the horror fans constantly griping and moaning about how there are no scary vampires anymore, and it’s all sparkles and romance and you’re looking at these befanged, velvet-clad dandies wondering “what kind of interview is this, anyway?” Well, first off, quit your bitching, there’s room in the world for all kinds of vampires. But secondly, the monsters in Blood Red Sky are on par, fright-and-terror-wise, with those in 30 Days of Night. They might even be scarier! I am still trying to decide.
Blood Red Sky is an intense and emotional, dark and savage horror-action spectacle, and follows a woman with a mysterious illness and her son, on board an overnight transatlantic flight that gets highjacked by terrorists. You can look at the poster and figure out the woman’s illness and its terrifying nature, but what you don’t see there is her struggle to reign it in, how her concern for her son’s safety overrides the brutal, vicious nature of her vampirism. And the bad guy that she faces off with in one portion of the film? Hoo boy. That guy is gonna give me nightmares.
Vampires have been scaring me since I first saw a Dracula in Scooby-Doo so many years ago, and it was awesome to stumble upon a vampire film that was still able to freak me out. Typically, my own bloodthirsty tastes for celluloid creatures of the night, run to the strange and surreal, like the dreamy gothic poetry of Jean Rollin’s films. Or…stories of people who are suffering delusions that they are vampires, when in fact, they’re just lonely and confused (or are they??) Good examples of this would be George Romero’s Martin, or the more recent Transfiguration. And certainly, the slick, stylish glamourous vampiric gems like The Hunger or Only Lovers Left Alive. And of course the thoroughly weird and difficult to classify, like Let’s Scare Jessica To Death and Lair of the White Worm!
I’m leaving quite a few off of those lists. The 1992 Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a favorite. I enjoyed the vampire-noir of A Girl Walks Home Alone At Night. And you know…oddly, Let The Right One In didn’t really do anything for me, both the book and the film left me a little unenthused.
I think what I probably need more of is classic vampires or Hammer vampires. There are quite a few of these movies that I haven’t seen. Also, I just learned of a Larry Fessenden film called Habit, which sounds interesting, and even if it’s not, well, I will get to see that beautiful weirdo, Larry Fessenden!
What am I missing? What are some of your favorite cinematic vampires?
I have only seen a couple here that you mention; I am a classic horror film and a Hammer fan. Speaking of difficult to classify, have you seen "Valerie and Her Week of Wonders"? It's a Czech movie from 1970 and talk about weird. It's good, though.
S. Elizabeth says
Oh, IT IS!! And I guess you could definitely call that a vampire film too, couldn't you? Thank you for the reminder, it is definitely time for a rewatch of this strange, hazy gem.
I don't know how the 70s did it but it might still be the best decade on record for vampires, what with Daughters of Darkness, Fascination, Ganja & Hess, Valerie, the Hammers, etc, etc. I suppose there's always "The Velvet Vampire" to remind us not to get too far ahead of ourselves, though...
Favorites of a more recent vintage: Wir sind die Nacht, The Countess, Styria.
S. Elizabeth says
Yes, yes, YES--70s vampires are best, and I enjoyed all of the ones that you have listed...except I still haven't seen The Velvet Vampire, hee hee! I also have not seen Wir sind die Nacht ("We Are The Night", correct?) so thank you for reminding me of this one :)
Stella Polaris says
If you haven't seen it, I think you'd love Daughters of Darkness (it's a favorite of mine). Aldo, maybe Blood for Dracula ? With Udo Kier. It's pretty and grotesque at the same time...
S. Elizabeth says
I DO love Daughters of Darkness! But I have not seen the Udo Kier one and that sounds like a hoot--thank you!
Personally, I like Habit. And if low-budget, independent 90s films are your jam, then I also recommend The Wisdom of Crocodiles, 1998 (aka Immortality), directed by Po-Chih Leong and starring Jude Law as the vampire character (also features the ever-ravishing Elena Lowensohn and the criminally under-appreciated Colin Salmon in a supporting role); Abel Ferrara's The Addiction, 1995 (starring Lili Taylor and Christopher Walken); and Tale of a Vampire, 1992, directed by Shimako Sato. This last, I hesitate to say is a good movie, (the central premise is, quite frankly, absurd) but it is beautiful to look at, very stylish, and if you can tolerate a film short on plot but long on mood, then you may enjoy it. Also stars Julian Sands as the vampire so...
S. Elizabeth says
Ooooh! I am so excited I am vibrating right off of this plane of existence--I haven't watched, let alone even HEARD OF, any of these that you have listed here. Thank you so much!
Please take Stella’s advice and watch “Blood for Dracula” at your earliest opportunity. It’s one of two “monster movies” produced by Andy Warhol and is as stylish and strange as you’d expect.
I also love Werner Herzog’s “Nosferatu.” Klaus Kinski is so so good as a monster and Isabelle Adjani is delicate and luminous.
“Vampire Circus” is probably my favorite Hammer vampire movie, followed closely by “Twins of Evil” or “The Vampire Lovers.”
Even though it’s not the uncomplicated fun it used to be, I’ll always be a big Buffy fan.
I’ll definitely be watching some of the recommendations from your post and the comments!