A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night is probably the most artsy vampire film I have ever seen. It’s in black and white, so that’s part of it. The film plays with light and dark, angles, focus..everything. It’s a slow movie. There’s one scene that we both were squirming in our seats asking each other “HOW can they move SOOOOO slow?” And, we were able to do that, and talk over many of the scenes because there is very little dialogue.
Silence is so much a part of the story it becomes its own character. It builds tension and discomforts the viewer. We’re so used to words, words, words! All the time WORDS! and explosions and action. This film is the exact opposite of most every contemporary movie.
The story takes place in “Bad City”–a nebulously awful neighborhood where people are seen throwing random bodies that lie abandoned and ignored in a ravine. Here’s what the “experts” had to say:
Guy Lodge of Variety said in his review that “Ana Lily Amirpour’s auspicious debut feature is a sly, slinky vampire romance set in an imaginary Iranian underworld”. Andrew O’Hehir of Salon called the film “the year’s biggest discovery” and praised its feminist themes. Boyd van Hoeij, in his review for The Hollywood Reporter, praised the movie, saying “this moody and gorgeous film is finally more about atmosphere and emotions than narrative – and none the worse for it”. Drew Taylor of Indiewire graded the film A− and said that it gives “the impression that you’re witnessing something iconic and important unfold before you” –From Wikipedia
Let the Right One In is a Swedish romantic horror film that is one of my favorite vampire movies. Like a lot of Swedish films, it’s moody and dark and perfect. Last year we had the opportunity to see it on Stage in Seattle performed by the National Theater of Scotland. The stage adaptation was amazingly true to the film. (I’m including trailers to both at the end of the post for fun.)
The film is based on a novel and, apparently, departs from the book’s darker themes to focus on the relationship between Oskar and Eli. Oskar, a 12-year-old boy, and Eli, a centuries old vampire, become unlikely friends in a cold and bleak suburb of Stockholm. While reviewing the details of this movie for this post, I learned that the book has much darker themes that aren’t touched upon in the movie. Definitely worth a viewing!
(We saw this same production in Seattle, but the only trailer I could find was from the Texas production.)
What We Do In the Shadows is a mockumentary about a bunch of vampires in New Zealand. We get to meet a group of vampires that have been sharing a flat for a while.
It’s the brain child of Jemaine Clement and Taika Waititi. Clement is better known for his role as himself in “Flight of the Concords.” If you haven’t seen that, you should look it up. This is a campy, hilarious movie. Watch the trailer, then go rent the movie!
I was recently invited to a very special screening of Nosferatu at Benaroya Hall in Seattle. A friend’s uncle had written a new musical score for the silent film, and he performed the piano with the symphony. I went because I’d never seen Nosferatu and because there was this cool connection with the composer.
In spite of the fact I’ve edited three volumes of Blood in the Rain, I’m not the biggest vampire fan. I mean, I enjoy vampires–Ann Rice, Buffy, Angel–but when I got to the hall, it was apparent I barely qualify as an actual FAN. There were people there in full cos-play–costumes from Nosferatu, Dracula etc. And lots and lots of goths. Apparently, there is quite the cult following.
We’d had dinner with my friend and her uncle, so I’d heard some of his concerns about the performance ahead of time. They’d had one run-through of the music with the movie on stage, and he, as the composer of the score, had a few concerns about how the performance would go. As the movie started, I was worried I’d be looking for mistakes.
Once the movie was on screen, however, I was totally lost in the experience. If there were any goofs, I missed them. The movie itself is considered a classic. It’s one of the first horror films and over a hundred years old. I had to remind myself over and over what it must have been like to watch this film over a hundred years ago. Before sound, before color, before computer graphics. There are a couple of special effects that, at the time, must have been genius. Now, almost any teen could pull them off with their iPhone.
The plot was obviously ripped off of Dracula and there’s a whole history of lawsuits between Stoker’s widow and Nosferatu’s creator. At one time, every copy of Nosferatu was ordered destroyed. Fortunately, a few copies had made it to the United States and were saved from destruction.
The overall experience was delightful. The music was written for the movie, and worked brilliantly to underscore what was happening on the stage. I’m not sure what renting Nosferatu will get you in terms of the score, but this was definitely the way to see it.