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June 13, 2005

Vampires: Eurotrash Pussyboys [Ace]

You can either portray vampires as monstrous predators on humanity, and make the humans the interesting characters, in which case you've got a good film on your hands, like Fright Night or any of the Blade movies. (Yeah, I know, "the Daywalker" is a half-vampire or somethin'.)

Or you can make the vampires the angst-ridden anti-hero brooding romantics, in which case you're making a basically shitty movie that appeals to no one but Goth geeks.

Lilkes sucks the life out of the latter sort of vampires:

I hate vampires. They’re just mosquitoes with backstories. Oh, but they’re so romantic, being damned and all! Feh. Women like the Eastern European accents and brooding looks; if most vampires were pale gangly nerds who spoke in falsettos, “Interview With a Vampire” would be one page long, and consist of two questions: have you ever operated a deep fryer before, and can you start Monday? I can’t stand their annoying superiority – oh, you mere mortal, behold me, who is stronger and will live forever, barring any accidents involving photons or stakes. Superior? Well, if it’s a one-on-one match, I suppose, but have you guys ever accomplished anything besides striking poses in red velvet smoking jackets? You’re the worst sort of European: our most compelling advantage appears to be our ready access to antique furniture, over which we may artlessly sprawl in dank mansions. Hey, Fangboy: Ever invented anything? Tell you what: fifty of us against fifty of you. We’ll bring stuff humans have invented. You bring your teeth.

He trashes Underworld in the course of trashing Goth-y anti-hero vampire movies, which is too bad, because while Underworld definitely did play into that whole goofy template, it was still an okay movie.

He mentions a cliche in movies that always annoys me:

You will have some opponent who is physically threatening. And yet humans can go toe-to-toe with them (at the climactic fight), because the humans bother to do things like pick up automatic weapons and grenades, while the monsters continue relying on claws and teeth.

Makes sense for Aliens (they're just large insects with limited intelligence), but not vampires. One thing I like about the Blade series is that apparently Blade's vampiric-opponents have grokked to the whole "ranged weapon" thingee.

The same thing sort of happens in Matrix, with those stupid squid-ships. They're powerhouse war-machines, and they look cool grappling with you and using short-range lasers to carve through your hull, but apparently the super-genius computer running the Machine City never thought to add a couple of Vulcan cannons on to a tentacle or two, or maybe a Hellfire missile launcher.

Star Wars 3 annoyed me similarly with those dumb little robots that would cling to your ship and... explode? No. They would just carve up your wing with very low-powered laser-torches. Kinda dumb to build a weapon that takes six hours to disable even a tiny fighter.

Any monster needs a reason why it doesn't use advanced weaponry. Predator uses some advanced weaponry, and we know why he doesn't use other sorts (he has a code; he is, after all, a sportsman, and like sportsmen, you don't blow up your pray with grenade launchers). Or you're just an animal, like the Aliens. Or you're just stupid, like zombies.

But damnit, if a monster has brains, access to weaponry, and no code restricting it from using same, that monster/robot/squid-ship had better sport some ranged weaponry and stop with this "let me just see if I can get past the machinegun cannons and then hopefully get into hand to hand combat with my otherwise-outmatched opponents" nonsense.

Thanks to LauraW for the tip.

But the Vampire in Fright Night Didn't Use Weapons, Either: Well, sometimes "overconfidence" and "insufferable arrogance" is a (barely) good enough excuse. And let's face it, Chris Sarandon was up against the kid from Herman's Head and f'n' Roddy McDowell -- not the most imposing male figures one can imagine -- so one can understand he didn't really see the need to break out the Glocks to take care of them.

Still... one would think he'd have blocked out sunlight from the windows of his basement lair with something more substantial than black paint. Oh, well. Still a great climax, which works wonderfully the first time you see it. And I guess that's the test.


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posted by Ace at 03:25 PM

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