Midnight Son

Second flick screened at Dark Bridges 2012 is a vampire movie by the name of Midnight Son (title's even a pun, so clever).  The lead actor Zak Kilberg (apparently also of Zombie Strippers fame) was even in attendance for a Q&A after the movie so that was cool.  You could say this movie is the indie answer to the Twilight series, and that could be partially correct.  It’s got vampires, and it’s got romance.  However, what this movie primarily reminded me of was the classic George A. Romero flick Martin

Like Martin you have a character who does not know what he is, but he knows he needs to drink blood. In the case of this movie he accidentally discovers it in a rather unique way: coke nosebleed; you’ll just have to see it for yourself. The vampirism is played down and treated more realistically (no fangs, no people turning into bats, etc), and it’s more of a character driven drama than a horror movie.  Basically they treat vampirism in this movie more like it’s a disease or a drug addiction, and this vampire isn’t  a super human, isn’t really a monster per say, and definitely is not someone dressed in rented formal wear sporting a cheap euro-trash accent (to borrow a phrase from good ol’ John Carpenter’s Vampires where they were decidedly more monstrous).  They even drive it home like a stake to the heart (or bludgeon to the head if you like) by having him waiting in a hospital alley way for an orderly to sell him blood from the hazardous waste bin next to a junkie waiting for his drug dealer.

So the movie wasn’t totally original or anything, this is definitely not a new concept (The Hunger is another similar film that comes to mind), but it’s also not shit either.  Everything from the performances, the writing, and the fairly surprisingly ample amount of gore is handled quite well.  There’s thankfully no cheap ass CG garbage in here, and the characters are all pretty likeable.  I can’t fully judge how the film looks as the version I saw was projected digitally from a blu-ray source and the projector was not calibrated correctly, but I thought the film looked good, some of the shots were actually very memorable. There is a scene with two vampiric lovers sitting up in bed side by side with their faces smeared with gore dripping down on their necks on to the fronts of their shirts was definitely up my alley. Even though it’s likely that there was some guerilla style filming going on here (the movie only had a $30,000 budget which was pretty surprising for what they made with it) I think it added to the gritty and small scope of the story.

Gore wise, this has some pretty sick shit too. You've got some pretty sickening blood chugging (see that coffee cup in the poster up there, yeah that's in it) and since the vampire's don't have fangs, things get pretty messy when they have to drain people.

One thing that the movie did well was to do exactly the opposite of what the Twilight movies have done.  This movie does not romanticize vampirism.  The lead, Jacob, is basically a lonely outcast weirdo, who because of his rare skin condition (vampirism was not the clinical diagnosis during his childhood) can never go out in the sun, works a boring night job as a security guard, and lives in a basement with all of the windows blocked painting pictures of the sun he can’t ever look at or feel again.  The only reason why he ends up connecting with the female lead, Mary (played by Maya Parish) is because she herself is kind of pathetic and has problems of her own.  But this is definitely not some gushy 12 year old girl kind of romance.

Zak was really cool after the movie and gave some extra insight into the making of the movie and whatnot.  Apparently at one point, the writer/director Scott Leberecht had planned on doing much more elaborate “monstery” vampire stuff (turning into a giant bat monster and leaping off of a cliff sort of shit) but Zak had to bring him back down to earth and consider just how far $30,000 can go.  It sounds like they worked together writing the movie, so it was cool to see that the lead and the writer/director would work together closely to mold their visions into a single film. I like that.

The other question he answered, which I was going to ask myself before someone beat me to the punch, was just what did all the fake blood he chugged back in the movie taste like. In short, he said it was terrible, although corn syrup and pomegrante didn't sound that bad to me. Although I also put fake blood in my mouth for a vampire costume that said on the packaging both that it was both safe to put in your mouth and not to put it in your mouth, I guess as some sort of test? I live dangerously like that, and it tasted about as good as white glue probably tastes; I'll have to ask a glue eater some time (could never get past the smell personally).  Also, when asked what his favorite scene was his immediate answer was “the sex scene” (jokingly, but not really), which isn’t too surprising. Just because it's art doesn't mean you can't have fun getting to hump good looking naked chicks right?

Check it out if you’re looking for a good vampire movie that isn’t a blasphemy against the vampire legend, horror films and/or people with intelligence.  Recommended!