The Fangs of February
It must be a surefire sign that I'm utterly burned out on the entire zombie subgenre because word of two new low budget vampire flicks coming to DVD in February suddenly seems like a breath of fresh air to me. Remember when that was pretty much the other way around? Seems like a long time ago, huh?
First up on February 12th is the Image Entertainment release of Soul's Midnight, a film with quite an interesting pedigree behind it. It may have been written and produced by relative unknowns Brian and Jason Cleveland, but the executive producer of this fangfest is Gray Frederickson, Oscar winning producer of all three Godfather films and Apocalypse Now. Whether or not Soul's Midnight lives up to that pedigree remains to be seen (Highly doubtful), but I must say it sounds like it has a neat premise that takes the famous legend of "Saint George and the Dragon" and puts a vampiric spin on it. I'll just quote the synopsis on the website of the film's production company, American World Pictures:
"In the 12th century Saint George vanquished a creature of extraordinary evil. As time passed, fact evolved into legend and the true story of Saint George and the Dragon was buried in time…
Charles, a descendent of Saint George, and Alica, his pregnant wife, are a happy couple that travels to a sleepy Midwest town to attend his estranged father’s funeral. They are graciously invited to stay at the lavish Borgo Hotel, where the eccentric owner Simon (Asante) invites them to enjoy the festival of Saint George.
Their holiday turns to terror when..."
Pardon me for interrupting the synopsis but I really have to question the person who worded this synopsis. "Their holiday..?" This couple has made this trip to attend the funeral of one of their parents. Does that sound like a "holiday" trip to you? Anyway, back to the synopsis:
"Simon reveals his thirst for blood. As the leader of a Vampire cult he lured Charles and his pregnant wife to his hotel with the intention of capturing their unborn child. As a descendent of Saint George the child possesses untainted blood and will be sacrificed in a ceremony that will resurrect the Dragon -- The world’s original Vampire!"
Like I said, I totally dig this premise. Unfortunately (Why must there always be an unfortunately?), I then watched the trailer for Soul's Midnight and it really doesn't do the film any favors, unless the idea is to make it look like as generic a vampire/devil cult horror flick as possible. Is "Fight the Bite" really the best tagline they could come up with?
We do get a brief glimpse at the gargoyle-esque Dragon, but mostly it looks like generic vampire shtick and all the stuff you'd expect from a "Help; a satanic cult is after my unborn baby!" flick. Not a whole lot of the Saint George tie-in that's really what could and should set this movie apart from similar films of the genre. I really hope this was just a poorly cut trailer and not a reflection on the finished product. Otherwise, we might be back to bitchin’ about lousy low budget vampire movies again.
A week later will see the DVD release of Revamped, boasting the tagline "immortality sucks". Hopefully the movie doesn’t. Suffice to say, this one will be as campy as it is vampy. Here's a synopsis from the film's official website.
"When successful businessman Richard Clarke is bitten by a beautiful Vampire, he is transformed into a creature of the night and plunges into the dark world of the supernatural.
Richard very quickly realizes that immortality isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be and must fight for survival when a militaristic Team of Vampire Hunters, The S.T.A.K.E. Team, discover his existence. Richard is separated from Lilith, the beautiful vampire that originally “turned him”. Searching for his eternal Soulmate, Richard winds up in Club Synister where a Goth promises to lead him to her. He takes him downstairs to a private party, which turns out to be the set for a snuff film.
When a female Vampire-Dominatrix viciously kills her leading man, it becomes obvious that Richard is about to become the next star of the film. When the Dominatrix realizes that Richard is also a Vampire, she and the crew soon become the unwitting talent for their own production.
After viewing the carnage in Club Synisters basement, two L.A. Detectives develop the film and discover Richard’s existence along with his face on celluloid. Through a bizarre course of events, Richard is finally reunited with Lilith, but their bliss is cut short, when they are ambushed by the S.T.A.K.E. Team.
Barely surviving, Richard’s presence is brought to the attention of The Bleeders, a savage underground gang of Vampires bent on survival at all costs.
The Bleeders capture Richard and are attacked by the S.T.A.K.E. Team. All Hell breaks loose and it turns into a war for survival and no one is taking any prisoner’s. Let the Bloodbath begin."
Writer/director/star Jeff Rector has overloaded the cast with recognizable names: Martin Kove, Billy Drago, Sam J. Jones, Fred Williamson, Reggie Bannister, Vernon Wells, R.A. Mihailoff, Kato Kaelin, rising b-movie starlet Christa Campbell, original "American Gladiators" Deron McBee and Raye Hollitt (Malibu and Zap), Carel "Lurch" Struycken, Tane "Cinemax After Dark" McClure, soap opera cutie Alana Curry, Babylon 5's Jason Carter, and Saved By The Bell's principal, Dennis Haskins, as a satanist. Is this a horror movie or a VH1 reality show cast waiting to happen?
MTI Home Video will be releasing Revamped on February 19th. Check out the trailer on its official website, in only to enjoy the scenery-chewing stylings of Billy Drago. Nobody overacts quite like Drago.
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