Bathor, the great vampire conqueror and provider of peace, had established a serene vampire village, driving out disorderly vampires from impeding conventions and rules. After two millennia, civil unrest has stricken the village. A plague has struck the male population, leaving nasty sores that disfigure their faces. With a religious and superstitious, power hungry megalomanic named Grando exploiting the plague and the name of Bathor, an uprising cult of desperate men seek to destroy all Bathor’s female vampires thought to be the cause of the mens’ ill misfortune. Lovers Élisabeth and Fantine survive brutal attack after brutal attack with the aid of banished vampires and the hunted vampires attempt a last chance endeavor to quickly preserve their once lost belief system instilled by the great one, Bathor, and rid the lands of Grando once and for all!
“Blood of the Tribades” is the 2016 homage powered, melodramatic social commentary vampire film from co-directors and co-writers Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein. As much as a micro-budget film as “Blood of the Tribades” is on paper, certain important attributes surface through the money constraints and convey a larger footprint such as elaborately classic locations in Massachusetts, Rhode Island, and New York that bring out the beauty in penny-pinching productions. Another notable quality from “Blood of the Tribades” is the large cast that exemplifies the scale of the story by tenfold and with an abundance of roles, there will follow a plentiful of deaths in a vampire film. Truth be told, Cacciola and Epstein’s film doesn’t have one single human in the bunch. That’s right, “Blood of the Tribades” is 100% vampire casted. Which, come to think of it, do vampires drink their own kind? In this film, the answer is yes and, as well as, staking their own kind.
Associate producer Chloé Cunha stars alongside another associate producer, Mary Widow, as the lesbian vampire couple Élisabeth and Fantine who seek to thwart Grando’s unwitting and cultish coup d’état. The characters represent two different, and well crafted, styles of vampiric women that are the dream-like, wanderer, such examples are pulled from films by Jean Rollin (“Fascination”) or Jesus Franco (“Female Vampire”), as well as the hard-nose, dark seductress from Hammer films that channel some great actresses such as Ingrid Pitt or Barbara Shelley. Cunha and Widow perfectly capture the essence of the distinctive styles more so than I could have ever thought possible. Élisabeth and Fantine are pitted against one of the more over-the-top performances of a villain I’ve seen in a while. Grando’s presence amounts to every inch of the screen from a very talented Seth Chatfield, who not only becomes a clear cut antagonist but does so with infectious enthusiasm. Topping of the main characters comes Bathor, who only receives a handful of screen time minutes. Tymisha Harris meshed well with the outlined characters, being equally extravagant in her own manner, and delivering the power Bathor must bestow upon her children. Kristofer Jenson, Zach Pidgeon, Stabatha La Thrills, Sindy Katrotic, Simone de Boudoir, and Dale Stones, plus many, many more, round out the cast.
Actually, “Blood of the Tribades” is a feminist movie that just happens to have vampires. Male oppression to keep the women from being themselves, from being outspoken, and from being open with their sexuality is clearly combated through the social commentary symbolism. Plus, touches on the suppression of sexuality and the outward projection of a society forbidden love, but however exposed the feminist versus complacency and closeted angst message might be, the script’s dialogue, despite the film’s 78 minute runtime, is extremely long winded with an unapologetic amount of exposition to explain the messages in various scenes where dialogue is not needed; one of the early scenes, with a man peeping outside the window of a very naked woman bathing before shooting an arrow through her bloodsucking heart, had the right message with that actioned a tone conversing the unspoken subplot of men against women. There’s also no telling which time period, or even universe, the story is set with various era styled garments from conservative nightwear, to bright red band-leader tops, to skin-tight, scantily night club outfits. The latter felt really out of place with Sindy Katrotic’s fighting wear.
Production company and distributor, Launch Over, presents “Blood of the Tribades” on high definition Blu-ray and is available for pre-order before the April 30th release date! Image quality of the 1080p picture, despite the number of filters used, still manages to pull off balanced and vivid hues of the forest and castle rooks, skin tones look too good for the plague makeup’s own well being, and thick black tones highlight the right amount of mise-en-scene without much aliasing or compression issues. Bonus features include a theatrical trailer and an in-depth behind-the-scenes with interviews from the directors, cast, and crew. Chock full of nudity and delivering a high body count, “Blood the Tribades” is an adoring, beautiful, and slightly satirical homage to the multifaceted 1970s female vampire by way of dogma masculinity and righteous fanaticism that isn’t far skewed in reality’s present day!
What really makes the hair bristles stand straight up on my arm is a really obscure and overlooked vampire movie. Not because I’m savagely frightened by the content, but because those films that don’t make the theater cut or have a promotional parade across the internet just get the shaft and my heart breaks when the thought occurs to me that I never would have come across such a movie if I wasn’t such a die hard horror enthusiast. My review tonight is about one of those overlooked, passed on the rental shelves, not selected at the Redbox movies called Midnight Son.
A lonely night security guard named Jacob has a rare condition in which his skin literally burns when exposed to sunlight. Jacob also can’t quench his hunger with any food with the exception of fresh human blood. The doctors tell him his condition is Anemia due his malnutrition, but Jacob dreads his ailment to something more dark. When he falls for a pretty vendor girl Mary, his condition kicks into overdrive and drives his cravings to an all new heights causing blackouts, terrible dreams, demonized eyes and a irresistible craving for blood. Before Jacob realizes that what his newfound symptoms are really about, he’s already committed dastardly deeds that will change his once dull and lonely. life.
The subtly of the film helps draw me into Jacob’s loneliness and awkwardness. His role in Midnight Son comes off as a young man’s journey of self discovery and that discovery is his transition into becoming a creature of the night – a vampire. Much of Jacob’s backstory is omitted from us with only a picture of him as a young boy with a cast on his arm is revealed. The cast represents his lifelong ailment of not being able to withstand the UV rays of the sun. Other than that image of Jacob, we know of no father, mother, siblings, or childhood home for that matter of Jacob’s past. His background is as mysterious as his condition, but Tracey Walter, legendary sidekick actor (Batman, Conan The Destroyer), hints at his metamorphosis with the epiphany statement, “like caterpillar turning into a butterfly.” My main question is is Jacob really transitioning or is he just now realizing, after all these years, the vampire qualities? He tries to confirm his suspicions by placing a makeshift cross on his forehead wondering if he’ll scold him – he retrieved the idea from Stephen Geoffry’s Evil Ed character in Fright Night. A good reference to use! However, Jacob is no Evil Ed and not even close. There are no extended canines, his reflection still reflects, and he can’t turn into a fierce winged blood sucking creature. There is no coffin to be had here. Midnight Son resembles similar movies like George Romero’s Martin or Larry Fessenden’s Habit where the idea of the vampire is so instilled in the character’s mind that is hard to believe the character is not a vampire, but Jacob is the real McCoy and that proves itself amongst the other characters we encounter – Mary and Marcus.
Mary becomes Jacob’s love interest. Their meeting happens by chance and no vampire allure was against her free will or that of we know, but Mary has her own vices. She is also a night owl who likes to party in more ways than one – long party entrance lines and long lines of coke. Mary vices are overshadowed by her feelings of endearment toward Jacob; she wants to take of him to perhaps give her purpose in life where she won’t have to vendor lollipops outside the local bar (this is where they met). Jacob realizes how slammin’ Mary’s body is and how much affection she displays him. Director Scott Lebercht could have explored this more and given more of a reason why Mary falls for an awkward, nocturnal security guard who thwarts not one, not two, but three of her advances to rock his nosferatu world. Perhaps Lebercht wanted to show that no matter the misshaped character, there will always be someone out there in the world looking for a hardship case to take care of.
Now even though Mary has a fantastic body and a cute overbite (don’t ask), Marcus is quite the interesting character. This thug sells drugs and blood out back besides the biohazard dumpsters of the hospital where he works – “everybody has their thing,” he says and it’s true that everybody has their thing, their vice, their habit, their overall weird hobby. Marcus exploits other people’s addictions and makes a criminal living doing it as a side job, but when Marcus can’t shake Jacob’s relentless need for blood, Marcus’s thuggish bite pushes and shoves an object that will literally bite him back. Jacob’s antagonist is Marcus because after their confrontation, they become one and the same.
The best scene in the entire movie is the last. The scene brings the movie’s rating “contains strong gory images” to light however still tame I think the scene might be, but at least we get some sort of blood satisfaction and I love how the characters embrace and bask in their enlightened stages which begs to question – is this the beginning to the end of humanity once a reluctant embraces their true self? I’d like to see a follow up to Lebercht film and, as a side note, on my edition of Midnight Son – provided by Eureka Entertainment Monster Pictures division (thank you!) – states this film is from the director of The Blair Witch Project, but I don’t see Lebercht’s name connected to The Blair Witch Project. Am I missing some key information here? If you want the Monster Picture’s edition – being released February 11th – instead of the Image Entertainment’s edition, you’ll need a region free player as Monster PIctures is based in the UK. However, I wouldn’t like something little like crossing the Atlantic stop you from seeing Midnight Son!
Monster Pictures was gracious enough to send me a copy of their latest release Midnight Son! This is a UK release and, luckily, I have a cheap region free player. Directed by Scot Lebercht (The Blair Witch Project), I’m interested to see how this film plays out as a “lonely young security guard Jacob (Zak Kilberg) has a terrible secret. He can’t stand the sun, he rarely goes outside, and lately his unquenchable hunger can only be tamed by one thing: fresh blood. When he hits it off with pretty young Mary (Maya Parish) who has some issues of her own, his craving kicks into overdrive as his monstrous inner demon beings to come out… and nothing will ever be the same again.”
Sounds like it could be a winner and so far, it has Tracey Walter in it! Good enough start. Review will come shortly after.
Don’t quite count out the vampire genre just yet. Like the blood thirsty undead, the vampire genre just keeps resurrecting. Vampire films might be critically castrated for the majority of the time, but there are times when a vampire film just had a lot of heart, especially in a no to low-budget project like the film I’m reviewing in this article – The Caretaker. Directory Tom Conyers has no feature film directing experience. Actor Mark White has no feature film acting experience. Must can be said about the rest of the cast while a couple of them also worked in shorts and television series, but The Caretaker is a real test for the cast on such a venturous storyline.
Mosquito bites cause what many believe to be an epidemic of the flu in the area of Melbourne, Australia. What the residents of Melbourne believed were wrong…dead wrong. The bites cause the victims to turn into vampires that reaches out beyond the lines of Melbourne and spread across the world. A small, on-edge group of four humans hold up on a small vineyard plantation where a vampire has claimed his nest. In exchange for their protection during the day, the vampire offers his protection against his own kind at night. The tension is thick not only between human and vampire, but also between human and human.
Now not to rain down on The Caretaker’s parade even though I do like the movie, but I feel there is always too much melodrama. Melodrama seems to be a plague for many low-budget horror films just because the crew can’t add in top dollar special effects to entertain leaving a “talking head” movie syndrome inevitable. But I can divulge that the fact that in spite there being melodrama spewing from every orifice, this doesn’t make The Caretaker a bad movie. The characters are complex enough to welcome some of the “talking head” script. There are internal conflicts in the characters themselves and they are also projected upon the other survivors causing turmoil in the house or “nest.”
When I said that many low-budget horror films just don’t have the dough to afford high-tech special effects, I didn’t intend on that to mean that The Caretaker’s effects were awful. I rather enjoyed the effects as they were minimal and believable. Some effects make a movie campy, but The Caretaker was all serious business and took the vampire story on a different level with an earnest commitment. Mark White’s as the protective vampire Dr. Ford Grainger who never reveals a good side or an evil side. We just know he is a bad ass vampire vampire slayer. The human characters give off the same complexities with only Colin McPherson’s character Lester portraying anything that resembles a villain as the 50-year-old creepy vineyard owner who loves to chase after young women and that young woman happens to be the manic depressed Annie played by Anna Burgess. Guy and Ron round out the last of the characters played by Clint Dowdell and Lee Mason and these two are buddy buddy at first until Annie’s secret comes to the forefront and then it is game on between the four humans and the lone vampire.
The Caretaker won’t knock your socks off, but comes off as a decent vampire genre flick. Don’t expect flying body parts or gruesome scenes of vampire attacks with blood squirting in every direction. Take it in like a worth seeing television soap drama and try to see the heart in the center like I did. Then, after it is all over and you still didn’t care for The Caretaker, you can rip out that heart and eat with a side of lima beans and wash it down with a nice cold beer, but hey, at least you gave it a try, right?