On the one hand, I haven't posted in a while. On the other hand, I've been writing small pieces of stupidly oversized articles, which was stupid. So here are a couple lowish-budget horror movies with mixed results.
Written & Directed by Michael Medaglia
It's best to think of Deep Dark as a fable. A bleak, bitter fable with a taste for the freaky stuff.
Now on the one hand; I have a taste for the archetypal tales, and Deep Dark knowingly composes itself within classical motifs. On the other hand, however -- and primarily in the interest of even-handedness -- it is at times so classically grounded that one could construe it as predictable. It added up to a mostly satisfying fable about desperation and deception, jealousy, betrayal and the cost of success.
Deep Dark also wears its film-making influences openly and proudly. Moments recall Cronenberg, Lynch, the Coens and others. First-feature writer/director Michael Medaglia isn't there yet, but he's making the right choices. The film feels both fresh and timeless.
In the time since watching Deep Dark, I find I've come to like it more than I did when it first ended. The experience of watching it was perhaps diluted at the time by my reservations about the lead character, which is a pretty big deal considering he's in pretty much every scene. Looking back at the film, however, I tend to reflect more on the story and the presentation than my minor annoyances with his persistent dysfunction. Hermann is consistently unpleasant and self-pitying. Even when a goldmine falls into his lap, he doesn't pause a beat to acknowledge (much less appreciate) it before he goes to work self-sabotaging. I feel like I would have had a more powerful connection to the story if I'd had more reason to care about him.
Lesbian Vampire Killers - 2009
I don't want to say that Lesbian Vampire Killers is bad, but when something so completely dodges every opportunity to be good, I don't know what else to call it. It's meant to be a kitschy, fun vamp on low-budget exploitation films of a bygone time, but where it's should be kitschy; it's bland, where it should be fun; it's self-satisfied, and where it should be exploitative; there's a spout of flour paste. Wait, what? Yeah, the many lesbian vampires killed simply explode into some gloppy white goo -- and yet NO ONE in this "comedy" thinks to make a joke about ejaculate. I mean, come on.
Anyway, add this to the stack of vampire films that deserve cheesy headlines about "lacking bite."