vampire

An actor moves into an apartment complex with intentions to commit suicide and as he tries to hang himself he sees visions of hell and glimpses of some of the building’s demonic residents. However before he can die he is saved by the apartment building’s rice chef and semi-retired vampire hunter, and soon he finds out that the building’s residents, both alive and dead, have other uses for him.

If you’re a horror or fantasy devotee of any shade, hopefully you’re a student of master filmmaker Guillermo Del Toro. With the help of Chuck Hogan, he recently expanded his storytelling into the written word, delivering the terrifying Strain trilogy. Now, FX has brought the story to life as del Toro originally intended: a television show. The story vividly captures an apocalyptic nightmare initially disguised as a post-9/11 paranoid disaster.

It should be noted that “Kiss of the Damned”, written and directed by Xan Cassavetes, is her first theatrical release. When I thought about the state of vampire films today, the way they glamorize and glorify the concept, I was expecting this film to follow suit. To my surprise, it took me back to the gothic horror that used to dominate the fictional world of the blood thirsty. What makes this film stand out is the beautifully calculated cinematography that maintains the classic gothic tone in a modern setting.

It’s refreshing to encounter a new voice in horror fiction that comprehends the draw of traditional horror mythologies but who is also perceptive enough to see how these myths can translate in various contemporary contexts. Take for example Tomas Alfredson and Matt Reeves’s adaptations of John Ajvide Lindqvist’s vampire novel “Let the Right One In.” The original novel and its subsequent adaptations discern some rather beautiful and shocking correlations between vampirism, adolescence, childhood, and the Cold War.

Colin Farrell likes his ladies in a box in "Fright Night"

As the camera swoops over suburban Las Vegas, a crescendoing score announces "Fright Night's" opening credits. Harkening to vampire films of old by blending a traditional summer movie sound with a timeless organ riff, the juxtaposition manages to call forth cinematic vampires from Bela Lugosi to Christopher Lee to Gary Oldman while also signaling a more modern setting. It's a deft touch that sets the stage for a vampire film -- indeed a remake -- that feels fresh and vibrant, a tough task in this post-"Twilight", post-Sookie Stackhouse world.

George Romero’s earliest pictures strike that wonderful balance of achieving both crowd-pleasing cult sensations as well as academic and journalistic esteem. While Romero may be inseparable from popular zombie-dom* it is his 1976 “vampire” film “Martin” that represents one of his most surprisingly sincere, character driven films, making use of horror conventions as a frame for a truly unique take on the relationship between the monstrous, horrific, and social world.