Welcome to Friday Night Flix, where there’s never a need to leave the couch or put on pants. Each week I’ll recommend an under-the-radar movie currently available on one or more of the major streaming platforms. They won’t all be classics, but every selection is guaranteed to be 100% watchable or your money back.
Gotta admit, this one is a bit of a stretch. It’s not my best selection by a long shot. And on Friday the 13th, no less! I’m really sorry. (No, I’m not.)
Vampires (Netflix) plays like a very special behind-the-scenes episode of True Blood. A camera crew follows an ordinary Belgian vampire family. Wacky antics give way to horrible carnage. Yadda yadda yadda.
It’s almost offensive how obviously this movie cribs from True Blood. There’s a tween vampire lord, a rigid vampire code, corrupt human cooperators, etc. The only thing missing is Jason Stackhouse fucking everything in sight.
Still, Vampires has some good things going for it. It has the look and feel of a legit documentary at least in terms of film quality. I’ve been watching some truly, devastatingly awful horror movies lately. I’ve come to appreciate expensive cameras and sound equipment. For all its faults, Vampires at least looks and sounds nice.
There are some cool ideas here too, even if none of them are terribly original. It’s hard to be original when you base your story on a 120-year-old public domain novella.
I enjoyed the black sheep daughter who insists on wearing pink and applying fake tan to look more human. I also liked — well, appreciated at least — the total lack of sexual taboos in vampire culture. Granted, this is little different than Eric banging his sister in True Blood. But Vampires takes it to a whole other level when papa vamp calmly explain that his son just looooves having sex with mom.
Mercifully they stop short of showing the act — in point of fact there’s curiously little nudity for a species that claims such sexual liberation — but the implication is pretty ballsy. And gross.
I also like the relationship between the vampires and certain humans, especially the one they keep in a glass room and refer to only as “Meat”. This living banquet freely, even lovingly allows her vampire hosts (Employers? Captors?) to feed on her nightly. She sings to them on their birthdays and cries at their misfortunes. Yet when she goes into convulsions from rapid blood loss they don’t even bother taking her to the hospital; they get mad at her for messing up dinner. There’s a message in there about non-reciprocal relationships, I think.
Added bonus: If you thought casual incest was extreme, howsabout repeated references to murdering little children? Nothing like getting to know the charming, bookish couple downstairs only to discover they made a souvenir out of a tiny lace bib that belonged the first infant they devoured.