Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Tony Todd as Julien, The Thirst: Blood War (BloodWars) (2008)

Your Daily Dracula – Tony Todd as Julien, The Thirst: Blood War (BloodWars) (2008)

This feels more like Live-Action Roleplay than a story.  Ancient vampire factions skirmish on a college campus, and an against-his-will-vampire hero tries to resist the blandishments of either side.  There’s a lot going on here, but it still feels cramped and cheap – with a hell of a lot of standing around in warehouses or corridors.  Will (A.J. Draven), a peace-loving self-confessed ‘hippie’ (with no actual hippie gear or habits), starts seeing nice girl Jayne (Allison Lange) when Darren (Cameron Zeidler), a fratboy asshole with minor psychic powers starts bullying him and gets close to raping Jayne.

At first, the mellow hero uses non-violence or tai chi against the arrogant thug, but when Darren comes at him wielding super-powers Will manages to stab him.  It turns out that Darren is the black sheep offspring of a line of ‘sentries’ – monk-type vampireslayers led by Darren’s monk-robed father, Reeve (Mark Ryan).  By killing Darren, Will steps into a slot in a prophecy about who will be the next king of the vampires that the ambitious Claudius (Jason Connery) has been hoping for through the last couple of centuries.  Amelia (America Olivo), a witch vampire and loyal subject of reigning vampire king Julien (Tony Todd), bites Will and he goes through the suddenly-buff, taping-over-the-blinds, sharpened-teeth, increased-aggression bit.  Jayne’s goth best friend Ashley (Rini Bell) wants to be a vampire – when Will turns her down, she seeks out Julien’s coven.  Jason (Nick Holmes), campus politician turned vampire, starts throwing his weight about, and beats up Will’s black best friend Rico (Owiso Odera) – prompting the expected martial arts, slo-mo bout as Will puts the bloody brat down, overcoming his pacifism to shove a branch through his opponent.

There’s at least an idea in the fact that the hero is supposedly predestined to be evil whereas the worst dick in the plot was supposed to be heir to the slaying tradition – but it’s obvious from the start that the two are related, and that Will (‘you’re beyond morality and I’m not beyond redemption’) will learn to use his vampire powers for good (or at least kick supernatural ass).  In a duel of snarling and flip-flops, Will defeats Claudius; Julien is about to force Will to drink blood when the sentries burst in like a Pythonesque Spanish Inquisition; Reeve skewers Julien; and it turns out that vampires who don’t drink blood and face the sunrise are eligible to join up the crusade.  It seems to promise a sequel in which Will goes after Amelia, the scheming survivor of the three-way feud – but it didn’t come to that.  Connery and Todd, the nearest thing to star names, get reams of flowery dialogue which they hiss,  Todd has to wear a flouncy shirt and an old-fashioned vampire cloak in a performance remarkably similar to the Dracula-type alpha vamp he played in Vampire in Vegas that same year.

C. Thomas Howell and Mark Holton take cameos as local idiots – I assume as a favour, since even their careers were in better shape in 2008 than this. Scripted by Ramesh Thadani; directed by Tom Shell. It tends to get lost in internet searches because there are other similar vampire films (including a Lost Boys sequel) called Thirst or The Thirst and even the subtitle/alternate title was copped for an Underworld sequel, a survival game and a heavy metal band.


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