On October 26 Bloodsucking Cinema premieres on Starz at 8pm et/pt. This special examines the vampire film and the effect that it has had on both the cinematic landscape and the American landscape as a whole.
Throughout Bloodsucking Cinema we hear from people such as John Landis (Innocent Blood), Joel Schumacher (The Lost Boys), Cheech Marin (From Dusk Till Dawn), Len Wiseman (Underworld) and others as they talk about what it is in this genre that evokes such a powerful following among its many legions of fans. We are also given a history of the vampire and Dracula characters beginning with Nosferatu, moving through characters like Bela Lugosi, and going all the way up to the vampire films of the 21st Century.
Overall Bloodsucking Cinema is a fairly enjoyable escapade into the world of vampires. While I don't think that this is going to tell anybody who knows anything about these creatures something new, at the very least the information that is presented here is nothing short of enlightening. To find out how the vampire myth came into being, where it originated from and how it changed over the years all plays very nicely into the story being told. Also, having people like Leonard Malton, Stan Winston and other veterans of film also ends up giving this movie a pretty legitimate appeal. This film also moves around in such a way that there really isn't order to it except in regards to the subject matter. For example we see how the character of the vampire was opened up on screen, then we find out how beautiful women were utilized to bring these bloodsuckers to new levels. They then also examine movies like The Lost Boys which show an even different evolution of that of the teenage vampire.
At the same time, Bloodsucking Cinema suffers because of how whimsically it is cut together. Since it doesn't really move in any particular direction in a historical sense (that would have allowed it to chart the evolution that is being looked at), things tend to feel a bit unfocused. It seems that this special might have benefitted by having more of a throughline as opposed to moving in a bunch of directions. Also, and many might call this personal opinion, but I really that they should have given more time to the movies from the 1980s and before, as opposed to stacking the deck so heavily for more recent fare. Granted, I love looking at Kristanna Loken (BloodRayne) it seems that she received entirely too much screen time here. Also, I think that this special would have benefited by going a little bit more in-depth with The Lost Boys. This is such an important movie not only from the 1980s but about the evolution of vampires, it seems that more would have been done to underscore its importance.
All in all, despite what gripes I might have about Bloodsucking Cinema, I really do think that this special is a worthy viewing experience. It seems that Starz is really trying to court horror fans (heck, they did buy Anchor Bay, right?) and because of this I feel it only makes sense to support their efforts. The horror genre as a whole seems to be experiencing a highpoint right now. Granted a lot of the movies being made leave something to be desired, there are enough good ones that that should show people the genre still has a lot of life in it. Sure Bloodsucking Cinema might only play in an informational way for people just getting into the vampire genre, but this special's openended quality makes it so that if people are interested they can certainly look deeper.