Judge Daryl Loomis is all about the blood, so long as it's shoved into a casing and served with some mustard.
So you really like young blood?
Once upon a time, I would have had the patience to comfortably sit through something as shamelessly artsy as Sanguivorous and not only love it, but to spread it around to every person I knew, whether they would have wanted to see it or not. But that time was my late teens and early twenties, when experimental film was new and exciting to me and watching nothing happening on screen was still somehow an acceptable use of my time. While I am much more easily bored today, if a nearly silent, completely abstract, almost totally storyless Japanese experimental vampire movie sounds like a well-spent hour, I have just the thing.
A young woman, all of a sudden, starts coughing up blood. Her boyfriend, instead of, say, taking her to the hospital, he jokes with her about a Romanian vampire who moved to Japan to start a bloodline, which would one day awaken and start eating people. She's not amused, but she has a bigger problem to worry about: her growing thirst for her boyfriend's blood and a crazy old man in a speedo who keeps popping up.
Sanguivorous barely qualifies as a horror movie, but it uses the vampire term and there's a bit of blood, so I guess it counts. Really, it's a college-style art film, at about the same level of competence and accessibility. It isn't concerned with coherence, just imagery and, in that sense, it's just fine. Personally, I find that stuff especially boring these days and this doesn't really add anything new to the table, in horror or otherwise, but those into ridiculous abstractions should find something to hold onto.
The best part of it is its brevity, though it still feels much longer than its hour running time would suggest. In that hour, we get random jump cuts, flashbacks, a girl writhing around against a wall like she's in a Whitesnake video, and an old vampire (Ko Murobushi) resembling Nosferatu who performs in creepy Butoh dance. Those are the best parts by far, just out of its sheer strangeness, but the rest of it simply goes on too long with too little going on for me to care very much.
It's tough to evaluate a disc like this, but if you like the movie, you'll have no problem with MVD's release. The 1.78:1 image doesn't look great, with oversaturated reds and blues and black somewhat murky black levels, but that could just as easily be a directorial choice than any real issue with the transfer. The sound is nearly non-existent, but what's there is fine. The few lines of dialog sound average and the weird noises, while kind of irritating, sound perfectly fine. For extras, we get a short film that is similar in style to the feature and a ten minute making-of featurette.
Even though experiments like this are best left in the classroom, Sanguivorous will appeal only to the most adventurous of movie-goers, and that's okay. It doesn't need mass appeal to exist, or any appeal at all for that matter, but I don't have time for this kind of thing anymore. That's more my fault than the movies, but that doesn't mean I have to like it.
It is what it is which, at the very least, is not guilty.
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Scales of Justice
Studio: MVD Visual
• Short Film
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