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Case Number 20291: Small Claims Court

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Bloodsuckers (12 Movie Collection)

Immortal
1995 // 100 Minutes // Rated
Hollywood Vampyr
2002 // 82 Minutes // Rated
Shower Of Blood
2003 // 80 Minutes // Rated
Strange Things Happen At Sundown
2003 // 138 Minutes // Rated
This Darkness
2003 // 107 Minutes // Rated
Vampire Hunter
2004 // 71 Minutes // Rated
A Vampire's Tale
2004 // 84 Minutes // Rated
Lifeblood
2005 // 84 Minutes // Rated
Mrs. Amworth
2005 // 90 Minutes // Rated
Night
2005 // 80 Minutes // Rated
Blood Bound
2006 // 86 Minutes // Rated
Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank
2007 // 89 Minutes // Rated
Released by Mill Creek Entertainment
Reviewed by Judge Maurice Cobbs (Retired) // December 10th, 2010

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All Rise...

Judge Maurice Cobbs says, "Fangs for the memories, but this compilation sucks."

Editor's Note

Our review of Blood Bound, published January 12th, 2007, is also available.

The Charge

They'll win your heart then devour your soul!

The Case

You know, I consider myself to be a reasonable guy, and I actually take this reviewing thing seriously.

That is, I try to give these movies a fair shot and consider them on their own merits. Because, you see, I figure that even bad amateur filmmakers deserve a little respect for creating a project and following through on it, and the least I can do as a reviewer is take their film seriously instead of using it as a platform to take cheap shots and snarkily ridicule something that probably represents a lot of blood, sweat and tears for somebody, or a bunch of somebodies. Being a film snob just ain't cool.

So I hope you'll understand that I'm not being flippant or cavalier when I say that this collection of z-grade mish-mash is pretty much the most unwatchable compilation of commercially-available vampire films currently on the market—something like 18 hours worth of cinematic crap crammed onto three flipper discs—they look so innocent just siting there in their little DVD sleeves! I say 'pretty much' because luckily there are a couple of offerings that stand above the rest of the dreck that comprises this collection. But please remember that 'luck' is relative, it can be the difference between being punched in the jaw as opposed to being kicked in the balls.

Films like Vampire Hunter and Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank fall in the 'rabbit-punch to the danglies' category. In the former film, the local high school drama club seems to have teamed up with the local strip-mall dojo to produce an inept story about an aged vampire named Bane who, bored with immortality and managing his art gallery, has taken to taunting humans into trying to kill him by stealing away their lady-folk. He meets his match in ex-military martial artist/painter of fine side-of-your-van pin-up art John O'Ryan, whose wife, Heather, the vampire covets. In between showing off his martial arts training (over and over and over again) and creating Olivia De Berardinis-style masterpieces, John must fight off Bane's gang of vampire henchmen and save his wife. Well, 'fight' is such a strong word—let's say instead that Bane's henchmen just sort of stand there looking stupid until John breathes on them and they fall over. The stalwart hero eventually faces off with Bane, and with a little Obi-Wan Kenobi style help, he triumphs. Shuriken are involved. Honestly, the poorly written film just doesn't make any sense, but on the other hand, it does have badly choreographed action scenes, laughable special effects, and abysmal acting.

The same can be said for Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank, but where Vampire Hunter establishes itself as merely an inept and amateurish action/horror movie, this film commits the added sin of attempting to be funny. The plot, such as it is, involves archeology students wandering in the woods on an expedition for something or other. If I'm perfectly honest with you, my mind sort of went into shock after the first 15 minutes of watching this and shut down to avoid permanent damage. Anyway, they manage to dig up a relic called 'Angela's Jewel Box'. Our hero, Gary (Danny Kitz) does what any of us would do if we had a a mystical artifact that turns women into cannibalistic vampires—he trades it for sex. I realize that not every filmmaker can achieve the sort of technical expertise and artistic flair on display in your typical Albert Pyun film, but dang it, we've got to set the standard somewhere. Not that it would help these turkeys—no matter where you place the bar, these films are going to always be far, far, below it. Heck, A Vampire's Tale doesn't even dare show it's face on the IMDb—and honestly, this turkey about an unwilling vampire (Jennifer Corby) who is manipulated into hunting down the vamp that turned her is better off staying buried where it can't do any more damage.

And let me make this clear: I love vampire movies. Even bad vampire movies. Heck, especially bad vampire movies. My favorites are the ones that have hoverbats. You know hoverbats, right? You always see them in old vampire movies. They're the little bats on a string that are bouncing up and down in the background—they don't actually fly, because this is before the era of computer-generated effects (a.k.a. 'cheating'), but you've gotta have bats in a vampire movie, and I'm reasonably certain that it's not possible to actually train a bat. So what they did was, they had these little rubber bats and when the vampire wanted to turn into a bat they had a puff of smoke and the actor would disappear and be replaced by a bat that wasn't flying, just sort of bouncing up and down and hovering in place (which, even though I'm no chiropterologist, I'm pretty sure is something that bats can't actually do). And they usually make a squeaking noise too—kind of like, 'squee, squee!' Hoverbats. They're awesome.

Well, there's nary a hoverbat to be found in any of the 12 movies that comprise Mill Creek's Bloodsuckers collection, and it's a pity. Hoverbats could only have helped these movies. It's over eighteen hours of inept direction of cliche-ridden plots driven by bad community theatre acting, supported by rudimentary special effects and (God help me) the occasional shots of full-frontal nudity. And not good old-fashioned soft, curvy nudity, oh no…It's the modern type of hard-plastic semi-fake nudity that repulses more than it stimulates—these naked bodies will get your blood flowing, though, especially after you've clawed your eyes out. The enduring mercy of Rao has seen to it that sex scenes are at a (bare) minimum (the plodding, poorly acted revenge story A Vampire's Tale has several), and there's a lot of showers. Whenever one of these movies needs to bring out a pair of boobs, into the shower they go. Actually, I don't mind that so much. At least it makes a stab at making the nudity plausible. There's a Jim Haggerty movie called Witchmaster General, for instance, where practically every woman in the movie has a nude scene. Mostly for no good reason. Some of them take off their clothes while in casual conversation with other characters. I can appreciate the female form as much as the next guy, but people randomly getting naked for no reason is creepy. On the other hand, Witchmaster General is supposed to be a horror film. But I digress.

I guess it's probably appropriate that the movie with the most gratuitous showering should be called Shower of Blood. Lisa (Lia Montelongo) and four of her friends travel out to the boondocks to spend a relaxing weekend at Uncle Marty's tacky McMansion in the woods. After an evening of gratuitous showering (only a little of it in blood), Uncle Marty shows up, interrupting coitus left and right, turning people into vampires, and generally making a nuisance of himself. It's typical of the fare included in the collection—badly written, badly acted, badly filmed—and eventually they start to kind of blend together. Did I just watch Blood Bound or Lifeblood? Which made less sense, Hollywood Vampyr orThis Darkness? Can I even bear to trudge through more than an hour of Immortal? Should I even try to watch Night? Does it even matter? Ultimately, these movies are all the same. Bad sound and murky video. Another seductress vampiress, another unwilling creature of the night, another absurd love story. Ultimately, most of these films don't do anything for the audience, and really only exist to give second-year film students and hipsters an valid excuse to make out with marginally attractive geek and gothic chicks while filming it (and you know, on balance I really have no problem with that).

Storytelling comes in at a far distant second to Gothy trendroid posing, especially in offerings such as Immortal and Hollywood Vampyr, which go to great lengths to show that vampires are trendy and hip and hang out in dark nightclubs with people who wear too much mascara and dress like they're attending a never-ending funeral where good taste is being laid to rest. As if it weren't bad enough that some of these people have deluded themselves into thinking that they're actors or filmmakers, some of them take a stab at music, too. In point of fact, they inflict multiple stab wounds before slitting music's throat and dumping the still-bleeding corpse in the East River. Thankfully, most of these filmmakers concentrate on butchering cinema, and leave the wholesale slaughter of music to the likes of Weezer and Týr.

Take This Darkness: The Vampire Virus, for instance (out to the dumpster, if you please), a murkily-filmed mess that has too many elements being coordinated by a director who would obviously struggle with just one. Dylan O'Leary goes Ed Wood one better on this one, writing and producing and directing and starring to boot, as Van Helsing VII (please stop snickering), a scientist who's looking for a way to medically induce immortality—like that's gonna turn out well, right?—when Tarquin the Vampire (David Everritt) shows up demanding a mate or something. It's impossible to say, really; the 'plot' staggers around aimlessly like an Alzheimer's patient on a nature hike. There's some kind of martial art or other involved—by the way, what's with the kung-fu all the time in the vampire flicks nowadays? Buffy has much to answer for. Anyway, somehow there's a revenge-seeking Vietnam vet showing off with a butterfly knife, an F.B.I. agent, boobs, and a fifth-rate rock band swirling around in the background of the film, while Everritt shovels as much corn into the delivery of his dialouge as possible without actually tearing a chunk out of the scenery with his fake plastic fangs. And yet, for all that it still manages to be better than Night, a tedious cop-turned-vampire story, starring John Hardy, that I'm sure they use as an implement of torture at Bagram Airbase in Afghanistan. Blood Bound, on the other hand, isn't quite on par with a weekend of being waterboarding, but it also concerns a cop-turned-vampire (John Hermann), this one returning with his vampire lover Xan (Toni Martin) to seek revenge on his former partner (Alex Szele), who has a score or two of his own to settle.

Mrs. Amworth is a cut above the rest, though it suffers from a lot of the same technical and actor performance problems. It, and the other standout film in the collection, Strange Things Happen At Sundown, have a couple of things going for them that the others don't—like strong stories. Mrs. Amworth is an adaptation of a great E.F. Benson story about an enchanting widow who wreaks havoc when she moves to a small town. In the film, it's up to the local newspaper editor and a dedicated doctor to investigate the mysterious happenings since Mrs. Amworth (Magenta Brooks) came to town. It's not a fantastic film, but it's a damn sight better than most of the stuff in this collection, and I have to admit that the striking star, Magenta Brooks, has…what the French call a certain I-don't-know-what.

Strange Things Happen At Sundown is the cleverest of the bunch (meaning it's the only one I wouldn't send to school on the short bus). It's a Tarantino-style weaving together of several stories, all violent tales of crosses and double-crosses, and if there's one thing I know, it's that you never cross a vampire. After a particularly violent (and funny!) intro, we meet Marcel (J. Scott Green) and Amy (Jocasta Bryan), two vampire grifters who've ripped off a hundred large in mob money and have gone on the run. Along the way, the two pick up a hostage, Annabelle (Shannon Moore), after murdering her husband. But things don't exactly go as planned—at least not for the vicious Marcel. Next, we drop in on Jimmy Fangs (Joseph Devito) and his crew of 'made' men—made into vampires, that is. Jimmy has a plan to create an army of zombie slaves by lacing drugs with vampire blood. Unfortunately, the plan hit a snag when a couple of grifters swiped $100,000 from the gang. Jimmy hires a vampire hitman called The Reaper (Steve Gonzalez)—the most feared vamp in vampiredom—to track down the two thieves, but there is one vamp that even the dreaded Reaper fears: his obsessively tidy wife, June (Livia Llewellyn). Finally, we are introduced to the nameless Narrator (Masha Sapron), a young but deadly vampire on a mission. She's not happy to be a vampire, and she's looking for the mysterious Someone that turned her, while leaving a trail of slain vamps in her wake. All three stories hilariously converge in a bloody showdown between the principle players, and there's even a darkly comic follow-up to a particular plot element. Easily the best of the bunch, Strange Things doesn't quite justify the purchase of this set, but it is something you might want to seek out unencumbered by dreck.

As dire as most of these movies are, it's hard to be outraged that they exist. The people who made them didn't set out to make something horrible. They wanted to create something cool in a genre that they loved. What's so horrible about that? Even if I can't celebrate the films themselves, I can at least appreciate the hard work that went into them. Seeing a film through from conception to the finished product can be torture.

But that doesn't mean you need to torture yourself by watching them.

The Verdict

If my hands weren't tied by the unalterable fetters of the law, then I would invoke the tradition of our illustrious forebears, reach back to a purer, sterner justice, and have this DVD collection burned at the stake!

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Genres

• Action
• Comedy
• Horror

Scales of Justice, Immortal

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, Immortal

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 100 Minutes
Release Year: 1995
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Immortal

• None

Scales of Justice, Hollywood Vampyr

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, Hollywood Vampyr

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 82 Minutes
Release Year: 2002
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Hollywood Vampyr

• None

Scales of Justice, Shower Of Blood

Judgment: 55

Perp Profile, Shower Of Blood

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Shower Of Blood

• None

Scales of Justice, Strange Things Happen At Sundown

Judgment: 70

Perp Profile, Strange Things Happen At Sundown

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 138 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Strange Things Happen At Sundown

• None

Scales of Justice, This Darkness

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, This Darkness

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 107 Minutes
Release Year: 2003
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, This Darkness

• None

Scales of Justice, Vampire Hunter

Judgment: 35

Perp Profile, Vampire Hunter

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 71 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Vampire Hunter

• None

Scales of Justice, A Vampire's Tale

Judgment: 40

Perp Profile, A Vampire's Tale

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2004
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, A Vampire's Tale

• None

Scales of Justice, Lifeblood

Judgment: 35

Perp Profile, Lifeblood

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 84 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Lifeblood

• None

Scales of Justice, Mrs. Amworth

Judgment: 60

Perp Profile, Mrs. Amworth

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 90 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Mrs. Amworth

• None

Scales of Justice, Night

Judgment: 30

Perp Profile, Night

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 80 Minutes
Release Year: 2005
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Night

• None

Scales of Justice, Blood Bound

Judgment: 45

Perp Profile, Blood Bound

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• Full Frame
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 86 Minutes
Release Year: 2006
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Blood Bound

• None

Scales of Justice, Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank

Judgment: 30

Perp Profile, Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank

Studio: Mill Creek Entertainment
Video Formats:
• 1.78:1 Anamorphic
Audio Formats:
• Dolby Digital 2.0 Stereo (English)
Subtitles:
• None
Running Time: 89 Minutes
Release Year: 2007
MPAA Rating: Rated

Distinguishing Marks, Blood Sucking Babes From Burbank

• None








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