Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Krystal Main as ‘Chickula’, Bite Marks (2011)

Your Daily Dracula – Krystal Main as ‘Chickula’, Bite Marks (2011)

Your basic low-budget, fannish vampire/road movie and mildly unusual for its gay content.  Some participants have worked in the adult film industry, but it doesn’t go the Anne Rice homoerotic vampire route.  In fact, it comes up with a few different takes on vampirism, spoiled only slightly by a tendency to brag about it (after a vampire has been batterered with boxing gloves made from Bible pages, a character boasts ‘I bet you’ve never seen this in a horror movie’).  Its cheapness is evident by the lack of high-speed chase action – or even much driving, in a film about a truck driver – and the various vampire face-off/gore scenes are staged indifferently.  But the character patter is fine, and some of the jokes land – an early argument about the lameness of the end of The Scars of Dracula (the one where Christopher Lee is struck by lightning) sets up a funny bit where an incidental vampire is lightning-struck and the Hammer fan gets to crow about it.

Bible-thumping trucker Walsh (Stephen Geoffreys) is killed by something unseen in his rig before (nicely) animated opening credits which showcase Rossano Galante’s homage to the Gremlins score.  Then, we get a reel of soap/porn setup: Walsh’s brother Brewster (Benjamin Lutz) is unenthusiastically banging his sister-in-law (Miranda Downey) when he gets a call to replace the missing man on a gig driving a shipment of coffins to a funeral home in Topeka.  Brewster has lost his license for reasons that become clear later, and picks up squabbling gay backpackers Cary (Windham Beacham) and Vogel (David Alanson) to have someone to talk to so he doesn’t fall asleep at the wheel.  Vogel instantly spots that Brewster is closeted, setting up a triangle (or maybe a threesome) later.  When Brewster reaches his pre-programmed destination, it’s a junkyard not a funeral home – and an axle mysteriously breaks.

There’s confusion about whether the truck is carrying one or five coffins, and five shirtless male vampires who look like strippers lurk, loom, pose and attack.  However, when looked at in the mirror, the Drac pack are just one lone fang-girl, nicknamed Chickula (Krystal Main).  This undercharacterised queen bee has the ability to mess with minds – so the five guys are fantasy projections – but otherwise isn’t that formidable – cue a twist on that Dance of the Vampires Jewish vampire joke as she exposes her body to the two gay guys to lure them in Ingrid Pitt style and is told she’s picked the wrong men for that to work.

Mostly, the film features skirmishes between the leads and a clutch of other male victims-turned-vampires … with Geoffreys, who famously went from co-starring in Fright Night to gay porno stardom, recreating his Evil Ed look, snarl and catch-phrase.  It’s an attempt to do a gay gloss on ‘80s horror comedies like Fright Night and Vamp – though, frankly, it’s hard to be more gay than films which featured Chris Sarandon hypnotising Roddy McDowall or Grace Jones as an Ancient Egyptian burlesque diva.  It tries for something a little different from David DeCoteau’s shirtless male model monster movies but it’s as enterprisingly off-mainstream as the West Hollywood slasher movie Hellbent.  There’s a very ‘2011’ running joke about Vogel making videoclips for Youtube – appropriate since that’s where the film has ended up.  Written and directed by Mark Bessenger.


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