VAMPIRE BLUES Image

VAMPIRE BLUES

By Brad Slager | March 10, 2003

This is the biggest challenge to face a film reviewer—how to critique a movie that is unwatchable. I have witnessed some truly poor efforts, I have seen enough of Pauly Shore for two lifetimes, and I have watched some films that could be considered a war crime in other hemispheres. But I have not watched—nay, been subjected to—any work by Jess Franco.
In a recent piece, this site reported how he has produced something like 175 films and even worked closely with Orson Welles. He covered it all–filth, smut, trash, you name it. He earned a name, if not respectability, over time and the packaging of this DVD refers to him as a cult filmmaker, although they don’t say what cult he is in, (but I kid the European grind house auteur). How he went all that time without learning a thing about movies is a mystery.
“Vampire Blues” is such an unpardonable affront that it sends a writer lunging for Roget. The only way this kind of thing is excusable is if Jessie had given his 12-year-old nephew a camcorder and some debased distributor slapped his name on the tape for promotional purposes. Again, that’s the only excuse. Any other involvement by Franco is grounds for the government to march into whatever institution currently housing him in order to confiscate every item of recording apparatus in his possession and even prohibit him from further use of the television remote control. After this mess ended I felt as if someone had snuck up and bludgeoned me with a pillowcase filled with cans of Turtle Wax.
I fear that I may have been a little ambiguous in the previous paragraph so let me simply say this man must be stopped.
At first I wondered if this may have been some pirated Eastern-Bloc pornography circa 1962, but Franco’s name is all over this production. He has absolutely no regard for lighting, framing, editing, sound, script, or the viewer. Pull a patient out of a methadone clinic and toss him a Sony hand held and you would get better results. The opening twenty minutes play like a vacation video in which your dad was still learning all the buttons, complete with random zoom lensing and scenes that look like the “record” button was accidentally left on. These are the good portions.
The plot goes something…no, that’s not right. The story is…nope, that won’t work either. Oh hell, here’s what happens—I think:
There’s a girl on the beach. She sun bathes. She strolls the local shops. She moves around a bunch. All the while she is being followed by a middle-aged female vampire who strokes a phallic looking tree suggestively, even though the girl has no phallus. The girl sleeps restlessly with images of the vampire in her head. Eventually the vampire seduces the girl. The girl gets advice from a gypsy who looks like Ertha Kitt in Kabuki makeup. She suggests the girl seduce the vampire one more time. The 60-year-old gypsy enters with the top of her dress pulled down. She kills the vampire with something other than a stake, plunged into something other than her heart. The girl is back on the beach. She may now be a vampire herself. I go and pour three quick shots of Bombay Sapphire from the bottle in my freezer. Eventually the pain subsides.
Now lest you get misled that this is vaguely erotic, our vampire is at the least 55 years old and is never clothed. This left me with an unsettled feeling, as if I walked in on my great aunt as she was changing out of her swimsuit and she asked me to stick around. Franco throws all vampire conventions out of the door as our senescent blood sipper pursues the girl at high noon along the shore. And I would like to know where this resort town is because nobody notices the geriatric stalker wearing a transparent body stocking with a six-foot long neon pink lace boa. I take comfort in the knowledge that in my municipality she would have brought back to the home and her family forced to pay for the counseling any of the neighborhood children would require.
Humbly I suggest that any one connected with this production be rounded up and forced out of the movie business entirely. I don’t mean just the cast and crew. The distributors should also bear the burden. Like wise the promoters, the sales staff, and even the graphic artists who designed the sleeve and the interns who were in charge of the printing on the disc. Societal restitution should be the focus of their remaining lives.
Again, I apologize if I was vague in expressing my opinion.

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