I have a thing for vampires. I won’t tell you how much of a thing, since I’m pretty sure I began last year’s 31 Days of Horror Biff Bam Pop! guest post by doing just that. But let’s just say, Andy invited me back and I picked another vampire movie. If he calls on me next year, the outcome will likely be the same. It’s a big thing.
The reason vampires are my number one monster largely comes down to versatility. They can be used to tell horror stories, fantasy stories, sci-fi stories, romance stories – you name it, really. They can be anything from grotesque and monstrous to almost mistakably, sympathetically human, and all points in between. And their narratives can be just as grand or just as slight as the opposite ends of that spectrum allow for. With vampires, the possibilities feel endless. It’s hard to be bored with a bloodsucker in the room.
And it’s damn hard to pick favourites.
So I’m not going to.
Instead, I’m going to tell you about a little vampire movie you may have missed, but one that should be on your radar, particularly if you’ve fallen under the thrall of the slow-burn soul searching and quiet suffering of films such as Byzantium (2012) and Only Lovers Left Alive (2013).
Like those movies, 2011’s Midnight Son won’t tell you the whole story – it begins and ends somewhere in the middle. While not as lush or stylish as either of the previously mentioned films, its realness and desperation function in a similar manner. Want a look at vampirism without the lens of escapist fantasy? Want a look at what it would be like in the real world, in our modern world? Look here. It’s messy, problematic, and dangerous.
Midnight Son is the sole feature from writer/director Scott Leberecht (better known for his visual effects work on blockbusters such as Spawn, Sleepy Hollow and Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters), who commands a cast of largely unknown actors. It’s a film that never makes its main character Jacob’s vampirism implicit (in fact, I’m not sure the word is ever spoken aloud, though it is seen on a poster). When the movie begins, he is already “sick.” We do not know why or how he contracted the contagion or how long he’s suffered, only that it’s worsening. Read the rest of this entry
Artist John Bolton has had a long and storied career in comic books and sequential art. He made the jump from working in English magazines such as Warrior, to burgeoning American periodicals like Epic Illustrated, in the early 1980’s. He’s been working in and around the mainstream comic book industry ever since, as comfortable drawing superheroes as much as he is painting fairies, vampires and demons.
Drawn to the genres of fantasy and horror as both an illustrator and painter, Bolton has worked alongside some of the greatest writing names the comic book industry has known, including Chris Claremont on Marada The She Wolf and Black Dragon, both for publisher Epic Comics. With Neil Gaiman in The Books of Magic for DC Comics, he created the look of the reluctant boy-wizard, Timothy Hunter, based on his eldest son. His acclaimed graphic novel series, Shame, alongside writer Lovern Kindzierski, is where Bolton’s efforts most currently dwell, with the first three acts being recently complied into a single hardcover volume.
There’s a sense of wonder, amazement, power, and sexuality inherent in Bolton’s work, combined alongside an overt menace that makes a viewer full of trepidation. Even when his sense of horror is not manifest, nothing is ever as it seems in Bolton’s completed visual offerings.
On the eve of an infrequent visit to Toronto via the 2017 edition of Fan Expo Canada, JP Fallavollita caught up with John Bolton in an exclusive interview via email, and asked him about his process, his female-driven subject matter, and his recent work on Shame.
Long before the teen angst pangs of Twilight or the fever heat of True Blood, director Kathryn Bigelow had an inkling of what a southern-fried vampire romance could be. Near Dark delivered on her vision of hillbilly vamps, an eighties cult classic that’s hard to believe is coming up on its thirtieth anniversary. The cinephiles at TIFF have dug out an archival print, so this Friday, July 21st, Bigelow’s blood-sucking hicks will rise again.
Do you have a favourite monster? If you do, you probably understand the lengths one will go to satiate that monster-mania.
Me? I love vampires. I don’t know what vampire book or film I saw first. I no longer remember when this lifelong love affair began. When I look back now, it seems like it was always there. I’m not selective in my vampire love either, though I do worship at the altar of a good story; I like the feral inhuman ones, the haughty aristocrats, the grotesque parasites, the misunderstood monsters, and even some of the teenage incarnations. Perhaps I love vampires for their versatility. They are a monster with a thousand stories.
In recent years, I’ve found myself fascinated with films and books that flip the “few bloodsuckers feeding off humanity (and must be destroyed)” narrative upside down and, instead, offer up detailed, well-thought-out vampire societies. One movie of that ilk that I keep coming back to is 2009’s Daybreakers, directed by The Spierig Brothers.
I love horror, but my favorite character has always been the vampire. Those little blood suckers have gone through a wide range of metamorphosis starting with the first time I set eyes on them, which was at the tender age of seven. I am a child of the creature double feature generation and the movies offered a wide variety of horror every Saturday afternoon. I was a loyal fan to the undead ever since I watched Bela Lugosi play Dracula in a movie theatre with my mom and siblings while on vacation in Atlantic City.
My love of bloodsuckers continued up with a major crush on Eric Northman (played by Alexander Skarsgard on the HBO series) a character from the Charlaine Harris Southern Vampire Series called True Blood. I even have vampires as some of the main characters in my Roof Oasis Series. I thought I had seen all there was to see about vampires, but I was wrong. I had yet to watch vampires star on a reality show. What We Do In The Shadows is definitely different, but did I like the film? Sharpen those fangs for my review. Read the rest of this entry
Holy Children of the Damned! Last week’s episode of “American Horror Story: Hotel” had the SWAT team sweeping in to save the teachers and the kiddies from an attack. What the cops didn’t know about the little tykes might come back to bite them; literally. While Alex and Holden share a coffin, Ramona and Donovan plan their revenge. If we stay away from Room 33, we might survive the night. Read the rest of this entry
On last week’s episode of American Horror Story, we were invited to a dinner party that left me looking for the nearest exit. While Mr. March entertained a room full of dead serial killers (the best kind), Alex decides to join Team Countess. I’m wondering if being a blood sucker will interfere with Alex’s day job. Read the rest of this entry
One of my favorite movies, and television series, along with a flavor of the month for horror, would be the film From Dusk till Dawn, the amazing cross-genre masterpiece from two undoubted movie masters of horror – Robert Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino. Together they wove a tale of two spree killers from a straight crime drama who wander into a horrific den of vampires. Meet me after the jump for my thoughts on From Dusk till Dawn.
I’ve had the same friends for a long time. Most of my closest friends I’ve known since the eighth grade, so our friendships developed through those awkward teen years of being idiots and finding ourselves. This includes finding our senses of humour I think, but I have two theories about that: One, the people with whom you learn to laugh will laugh with you (and you with them) no matter what you think is funny or not, forever, because it’s now just part of the dynamic of that friendship. Two, you and this person discovered your senses of humour together at the same time and therefore developed similar ones and will always find the same things funny. Two nights ago, one of my oldest pals came over to watch What We Do in the Shadows, and I can’t tell you if we laughed ourselves to tears because the film was in fact that hilarious, or if we are just that used to laughing together. I think it’s a bit of both.