Saturday, May 16, 2015
SUMMER OF BLOOD (2014)
Edited, Written & Directed By: Onur Tukel
Cinematography By: Jason Banker
Cast: Onur Tukel, Alex Karpovsky, Max Heller, Dakota Goldhor, Anna Margaret Hollyman, Vanna Pilgrim, Juliette Fairley, Jonathan Caouette, Keith Poulson, Melodie Sisk, Jason Selvig
Lousy lover and egocentric Eric Sparrow is dumped by his girlfriend after rejecting her marital proposal. After a few failed dates his luck turns when a chance encounter with a vampire turns him into a sex god.
What is interesting but not uncommon for this film is having the director also be the writer and star. Now of course we class this with Woody Allen as he often does the same and usually a lot of indie directors who do this cite him as an influence, but they also don't take into account that he was already an accomplished writer and stand-up comedian as well as a comic personality, before he even attempted to do all three constantly in films. Now sometimes it works or is decent, though I am sure there are more tales of it not.
It's almost the same when noted actors try to do the same. They are commonly judged a little more harshly not because we know you are talented in one art form. So the audience is paying more attention in a way to probably see you fall on your face and know you are human by knowing your faults. But also because of your pedigree you are watched by a bigger since and more closely. Sort of like when someone gets a position and most feel it is out of nepotism. If you are doing it out of passion to tell a story that is all that matters, but commonly it is also a way for an actor who more is stuck in one type of role or mostly supporting. To show their range and talents and since no one is offering it naturally they are making their own offers and opportunities. Though some might see it as more ego driven. It also shows that they are capable of more than they have given a chance to do. In a way making their own opportunities. In some cases it helps in others it shoots itself in the foot.
In this film director Omur Tukel is playing such a unsympathetic character who is narcissistic and clueless that is part of his charm and your enjoyment of the film is what I would like to call capacity film-making. Basically it all depends on how much you can stand this character. He is very unlikeable, but he also provides most of the laughs as what is mostly funny is his awkward and maladjusted way of behaving in certain situations and his reactions to the world around him. The film might feel like a satire at times taking a more comedic styled mumble-core scenario or dark romantic comedy scenario and add in vampires and not so much suspense horror but a minor fantasy element. That helps push the story forward more. It also helps the film stand out more from the pack.
Even his questioning a victim while slowly draining him is inventive and unorthodox. This is the second best vampire comedy I have seen this year though the other one what we do Is Shadows is more lighthearted and innocent. This one is more dirty, cynical, mean and tawdry.
The film doesn't waste time with him learning about his powers or dealing with the situation. It more or less injects him into the situation and seemingly knows exactly what to do. Though while he needs victims to drain and convert. He seems more interested in the fact that his new form of vampirism has given him sexual powers stamina to be more exact.
While I can admit to not liking the main character I still found the film entertaining and fascinating though I am not sure if it is for all people. It's Not as good but reminds me of films like BUFFALO '66 which is a beautiful offbeat film, but some can't enjoy the film as they can't get past, director, star, writer Vincent Gallo's abysmal treatment of Christina Ricci's character throughout and can't believe she would love and stay with him.
SPOILER: . though at least she is rewarded by the end and makes the ending seem more romantic when he realizes he loves her and seems to treat her better. We see at least how love has changed him for the better. Though I am all for the ending being he loves her treats her a bit better but still remains kind of an asshole. SPOILER END
Deep In the films heart it isn't a horror film at all. It’s more a messed up Romantic comedy, Where you don't necessarily want the guy to win the girl back. As it would be the worst thing for her. Though she might be the only thing he loves more than himself. Though then again it might be because he can't have her anymore or he can't stand losing.
Though the Director tries to give the female characters more depth and dimensions it still like unfortunately a great deal of vampire films misogynistic. Especially as he frolics sexually with a few ladies continuously. Though here it works here as the character is that type and generally unlikeable. And at least even the characters acknowledge it, He seems to try to a degree to have positive female characters by having at least two decent ones. Both eventually become victims of a certain amount, but they both seem to realize how sad and pathetic the lead is but find an interest in him. Which is how i felt in the audience for this film
Except that it is fun to watch him work his way through the situations and his reactions to his experiences. Usually despite better judgement he talks non-stop no matter what the situation. As he is the prototypical model of an aging hipster, The ways in which they are different is here he uses his power for all the wrong reasons and stays selfish but does realize his feelings and care for another person along the way, yet still manages to stay the same person at his core. Depending how you look at it. That is either good or bad.
As the main character tries to resist the lifestyle, yet forced into it due to the pain of not feeding. It also doesn't paint it as a great fantasy, While having some powers. it still is the same existence.
Though few characters come off better by the end of the film. Though at least they acknowledge the films and the characters flaws. Which is Meta and at least refreshing
It can even go back to the film AFTERSHOCK which I can admit is disturbing and disgusting and hard to watch, but I have no problem with it’s existence and creation where as my colleague Eric Cohen of the Cinefiles hates the film and questions the reason for it's existence. He's not trying to censor it, but wonders what is the reason it was made. As it might not even have any artistic merit. It is that unsettling.
Now when it comes to this film. It has a douche charm. I believe it is fun a bit artistic, though not at all deep and kind of shoes what a person gifted with this curse to a degree would do with it not becoming a hero or villain or just existing but more using it to his selfish needs. Not really caring about the victims of his acts who he sees as lucky to be given a gift. Though it is more a gift out of his own lust and revenge it seems more than anything.
Even by the end it seems like it has settled into say something and then it ends with a crass joke.
Recognizable locations throughout the film keep your eyes glued to the screen especially if you are a native New Yorker and know your way around. Though it mainly stays in one territory. Though also half the fun is in the more deranged moments watching as pedestrians obviously non-actors react to the leads appearance.
While I can see this film as having a hard time finding it's audience and being polarizing to certain audiences. I still think the film is worth a look as in a way