8/25/08

A Vampire Masquerade

When I was a teenage bug, I used to play a bit of D&D once in a while. Then there came a day when a whole new game hit the shelves. I'm talking Vampire:The Masquerade. It made a whole new way of playing RPG's that depended less on dice than on playing paper, rock, scissors. Before too long I got my chance to play Vampire as a live action RPG with everyone running aound with thick eyeliner and black trench coats. Basically it gave all our inner Goths time to shine as we bickered and bartered over power and status and who was gonna end up getting a stake in the old ticker next. I played off and on for a few years, and every now and then I meet someone or hear about a game going on and think it might be fun to give it a shot. Then I get a look at a movie like this.



Lifeblood (2006) starring Stephen Niles, Kimberly Niles, and Marci Tint Kotay. Directed by Stephen Niles.



We begin our tale of vampire woe with a couple of nuns getting stabbed by a guy looking for some mysterious ashes. Personally I didn't know he was a vamp right off as I haven't ever seen a lot of vamps shankin' people, but whatever. The movie stars in earnest as a hooker vampire surprises her john and has a quick drink before our hero Carl Spenser busts in and questions her about a vamp named Demetrius. She gives up the info, but for good measure he gives her the business end of a stake. Spenser then heads off to a Goth club to get some more info on the whereabouts of said bloodsucker, and there we meet Clara and her somber pals. Well except for the jockish jerk that keeps hitting on her. Demetrius shows up at the bar as luck would have it and seduces one of Clara's friends. He gets her outside and take a little snack off her before deciding that she is not "the one". You have got to hate it when there's a "one" out there cause 9 times out of 10 people are just gonna get wacked for not being it.



Clara goes out looking for her friend and Spencer finds her with the body and takes Clara on home. Seems she lives with his sister who has a life threatening blood anemia of some sort that has already killed both their mom and dad. Meanwhile across town in an abandoned warehouse (is there really any other kind?) Demetrius comes back to the vampire haunt and has to fess up to the HVIC (Head Vamp in Charge) Wraithwood that he has not been about to find, you guessed it, "the one", but he'll do better tomorrow.



Tomorrow is another day and everyone is busy. Spencer has a lead on a drug dealer named M.D. who is supplying more than the average junky. He's dealing out blood to vamps who are too depressed to actually go out for a bite. After some roughhousing and a shot in the foot, M.D. finally spills it that if Spencer is looking for Demetrius that he can be found out at the ever popular abandoned warehouse. Now you might be wondering why Spencer is on the trail of big D, and we find out in a flashback scene that Demetrius one upon a time killed Spencer's lovely, but neglected, wife. We also get a little scene where Spencer even talks to a vision of his dead wife at her graveside, and this scene cemented for me that he's maybe just a bit coo-coo in his co-co puffs. Clara and her pals have been busy too. They decide that the night after one of their friends was killed to take a little trip out into the woods. Great plan right? Nope. Demetrius and his gal pal show up and put the suck on everyone but little Clara who they cart off to Wraithwood.



Spencer, never one to stay still for long, find the abandoned warehouse and sneaks in only to get himself captured right off the bat. Wraithwood makes him a deal. Seems the head vamp needs both sisters and if Spencer would only be so kind as to bring the other in then he'd be glad to hand over Demetrius. While he trots off to do the vampire's bidding, Wraithwood takes the time to explain to Clara that she is, of course, "the one" (making it a but hazy as to why he needs both her and her sister, would that not have been "the two") and she is the last in a linage of a vampire countess who came over to claim this country for vampire kind. Seems the ashes that Demetrius got in the opening scene were the Countess' and with only a bit of blood added POOF instant Countess Vrana, back and ready to lay the smack down on the human race. So you see, Clara being a true born vampire just needs a sip or two of Wraithwood's blood to make her feel find and dandy, put on a corset, and some heavy eye makeup.

Across town Spencer tries to convince Clara's sis to accompany him to where Clara is, but she won't go and would rather call the cops. So Spencer pulls out his gun and he's going to force her to go, but his conscience gets the best of him and he can't do that. However, she decides to go anyway. I know that right after someone pulls a gun on me is when I decide to follow them where ever they would like. Unfortunately, Demetrius shows up and kills the sister seeing as all his boss needs is the blood. He takes the dead sis and Spencer back to the vamp hangout, and the ritual can begin. Demetrius takes Spencer off to torture and kill him, and Wraithwood gets all the blood and ashes in order and starts the countdown to the Countess. When she shows up things don't go as planned and she starts zapping vamps left and right out of existence; while upstairs Spencer gets free to tussle with Demetrius until the vamp falls though the floor and onto a convenient spike in the floor. The Countess zaps everyone except Clara who she now puts in charge of the vampires. Which probably would have been great for her if the Countess hadn't already zapped them out of existence. Clara takes it on herself to off Wraithwood and Spencer an her have a final moment of resolution as the credits roll.


This flick has an average plot, script, and acting (although I have to say no one was bad, and all the actors were giving it their all.) The effects when the vamps got staked and went up in flames were alright, but there were a couple of things that really bothered me. For a movie with the word blood in the title and full of blood drinkers, there was precious little of it. When people got stabbed by the vampires (which will always bother me, just bite them suckers, you suckers), there was so little blood it was like they were afraid to get any on the costuming. The other thing that bothered me was not a real criticism of the movie. The nonspeaking vampire extras just looked like they were hanging out ready to get their live action role play on or would rather be at home writing in their black journal with Bauhaus cranked up to 10. I suppose that neither here nor there, but they were not a lively bunch. Then again I suppose vampires are not. Overall I could only recommend this movie to vampire completest or any Goth-Americans out there with 90 minutes to kill.


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