Monday, May 2, 2011


Our mutual friend (and sometimes correspondent to this blog) Crhymethinc recommended this little item to us -- but actually his recommendation came in the form of a dare. He'd tried to watch it on Netflix a month or so ago but couldn't make it past the 15-minute mark or thereabouts. Could we last longer? After making it through the microbudgeted, micro-witted Vampire Hunter, Wendigo was game.

The full title of the thing is Gothic Vampires from Hell: Battle of the Bands. It took three people to direct the thing; I won't trouble you with their names. Suffice it to say that they tell a story about a struggling young goth band called Gothic Vampires from Hell who hope to win a Battle of the Bands at Crawley's nightclub and earn a contract with Gotham (get it?) Records.

Luckily for them, the fix is in. For starters, the only other band in the battle, from what we could see, is slaughtered by vampires. For extra measure, the vampires run Gotham Records. Led by Anastasia (Gina DeVettori), they're less interested in Gothic Vampires from Hell as a band than in their lead singer, Draven (Michael Anthony Panella). The vampires of Gotham Records are all female, you see, and despite their apparent business acumen the poor dears just can't get along without a master. They see something "dominant" in Draven, who they hope will lead them, once vampirized, in conquest of the human race.

The bloodsucking ladies of Gotham Records need a man and master in their lives. Does "dominant" Draven (below) fit the bill?

After slaughtering all the guests at the band's signing party (forget what we said about business acumen), Anastasia sets about seducing Draven to the dark side (and how hard can that be? He's a goth!) while her assistant vampires set about turning his twin-sister bandmates. That leaves his girlfriend and guitarist Morgana (Jessica Remmers) as an offering to initiate a stubborn Draven into the pleasures of blood drinking. But once he gives in to temptation, the Gothamites might consider being more careful about what they wish for....

After the fact, Wendigo felt a little of the satisfaction of a job well done in meeting Crhymethinc's challenge. It wasn't that difficult, he says -- but neither is eating a slice of dry white bread, and Gothic Vampires From Hell is just as empty as that hunk of dough. The most he can give it credit for is a number of attractive women as the vampires and victims and a better level of acting, in general, than Vampire Hunter had. Little more than 24 hours after watching it, Wendigo feels more challenged trying to remember what happened in it than he was trying to sit through it. He does remember a lot of padding in the form of music videos and endlessly recycled stock footage of a real club interior. The bands are supposed to be performing or just hanging out at the same club, but the minimal sets the film uses are total mismatches in decor, lighting, sound quality, etc. for the club footage. He also remembers a lot of gore.

The film's effects are memorable because they're laughably bad. You can see the hoses from which the blood pumps with all the thickness of Kool-Aid through victims' shirts in terrible examples of vampire wastefulness. The fangs and trick contacts are of Rite-Aid quality. Veins are painted on a vampire's face. An evil vampire is destroyed with perhaps the worst CGI burning effect ever shown on film. Vampire Hunter had better effects, and it cost only $5,000 to make. It was also worth some laughs, while Gothic Vampires From Hell inspires little more than groans.

Above: Is it abstract art of a disemboweled vampire?
Below: The healing power of the Golden Fleece restores our heroine, that can't be right.

Wendigo doesn't even consider himself a goth, yet he found this film a disservice to goth culture. It takes too little advantage of opportunities to exploit the eminently exploitable aspects of gothism. A film like this should be full of deviance, but most of that seems to be relegated to the stock footage of a husky butch flogging bar patrons, while none of the film's more attractive actors get naked. That the film actually ends with one more shot of this hag at her work is perhaps the ultimate insult. Wendigo can only imagine himself recommending the movie to fans of goth music, but even then they might be better off listening to records. In the end, his triumph over Crhymethinc's challenge is a hollow one. Gothic Vampires From Hell isn't really so bad a film that you have to quit, but Crhymethinc probably had the right idea, anyway.

1 comment:

Fred Taulbee said...

Ha. This is Fred L. Taulbee Jr. I directed most of this. I could go on and try to justify why I directed it, but why when it's so bad. I mean, I could say someone put a gun to my head, but it'd still be a bad movie. But thanks for putting it up. I just wish you had mentioned the directors in the intro. I hope that one day this is my skeleton in the closet. I'm going to try and check out the rest of your blog when I get a chance.