As we all know, vampires come in all brands and bottles — popular media over the centuries has spun out various mythos on how the undead do, or do not, behave and the weapons all are vulnerable to. Yet from a cultural stance, vampires carry an even deeper, underlying fascination. Notably in the modern gay community, where the vampire’s potent but ambiguous sexuality carries strong appeal.
On many levels, “Razorblade Smile”‘s own nosferatu Lilith Silver (Eileen Daly) qualifies the term “vamp.” She’s a bisexual siren in high boots and skin-tight leather who totes a hired gun and raging bloodlust. Yet Lilith is also quite the unconventional vampire — immune to daylight and crucifixes, and entering homes when uninvited. Interestingly, Lilith also cannot be “staked” into dust. However, she is repulsed by garlic and can be whacked by decapitation. The latter detail bridges to a climax in “Razorblade Smile” that is more than a slight homage to “Highlander”.
We later find Lilith also enjoys human relationships (and lovers), in addition to talking Hollywood vampire myths. At one point, she fantasizes about turning into a bat, which she cannot do, and later skulks on the Internet like a seasoned geek. It’s an interesting, post-modern take on vamps, or at least on the surface. As otherwise, make no mistake: “Razorblade Smile” poses Lilith as a campy marriage between Morticia Addams and Nintendo diva Lara Croft — blasting her marks with semi-automatics before dining on their jugulars. This, and she is tracked by an obsessed, Agent Mulder-like detective (Jonathan Coote), with a well-armed pagan conspiracy after Lilith’s head.
As if one couldn’t guess, “Smile” is loud, atmospheric nonsense. But moreover, it falters from schizophrenic production values — creator Jake West’s project resembles something that’s part-music video, period romance, James Bond movie, and low-grade porn. And it’s all, perhaps appropriately, basted with red food dye and Kayro syrup, and lots of Hammer-like visuals. For her part, Miss Daly plays a lusty, feminist-tinged vampire who is indeed remarkable, be it through rating blood by letter grades, or hissing insufferably over her prey all kinky and dominatrix-like. Yet again, what a viewer draws from “Razorblade Smile” depends on one’s taste in horror flicks, and, more importantly, a patience for the eccentric.
Regarded as a cult classic in Britain, “Razorblade Smile” rates high on the novelty factor. That’s not in doubt here. But on a strictly personal level the movie simply must be judged alone.