Bloodsucking Cinema

Bloodsucking Cinema (2008)
Anchor Bay Entertainment
Cast: John Carpenter, Joel Schumacher, Len Wiseman, Greg Nicotero, Stan Winston

I have always had a fascination for vampires and vampire movies and I think they are probably one of the most iconic monster images in the entire horror genre. I will not go into detail, exactly why I – like millions of others along with me – am fascinated with vampires, because a bunch of people are doing that in Anchor Bay's latest release "Bloodsucking Cinema."

This Starz documentary sets out to explore the phenomenon of vampires in the movies, how it all started, how they evolved and how modern filmmakers keep pushing the envelope to create vampires that are still refreshing to watch and terrifying after all these years.

While this is not a bad documentary there are a few things I have had issues with. How much they bother you may up to you. To me, any excursion into the realm of movie vampires worth its salt needs to consult some kind of expert, which this documentary does not do. How can any serious elaboration on the subject not include the likes of David Skal, THE authority on movie vampires and author of the tome "Hollywood Gothic" which examines movie vampires in incredible detail. Or how can someone like Paul Jensen be left out, a historian who specialized on Hammer films and most notably, director Terence Fisher who was responsible to create the most iconic of all vampire movies.

Instead we get fanboy gibberish from the likes of Harry Knowles who has absolutely no credentials or clue, and Richard Roeper as the host/voice of the documentary, a man whose taste and understanding of films as art is dubious at best, also. It is hardly surprising then, that as the biggest flaw, the documentary turns out to be rather shallow and doesn't go a whole lot deeper than an EPK.

Nonetheless, "Bloodsucking Cinema" does have its benefits. Featuring interviews with directors who have been pushing the genre in the past decade or so, there is still plenty of information and entertainment value to be found. John Carpenter, Joel Schumacher and Len Wiseman are for example discussing their approach to the vampire in their films, while special effects gurus like Greg Nicotero and the late Stan Winston talk about how they always tried to create new and intriguing ways to portray vampires in the films they worked on. Some recent vampire actors and writers also have their say about the genre, adding their thoughts to the mix.

Spiced up with footage from vampire movies through the ages it is fun to sit through the documentary, if only to reminisce about the genre and be reminded of some of the great movies it produced. The image quality of the release is solid without any defects or blemishes, making for a balanced and enjoyable presentation.

No extras are included on the release.

"Bloodsucking Cinema" is not exactly what I had hoped for and extremely shallow in nature. It does not dig deep into the genre but rather settles for the promotion of a few select films and their filmmakers. The lack of real authorities on the subject is definitely taking its toll on the overall product as is the short running length. It is simply not possible to take any documentary seriously that features Harry Knowles as a supposed expert. Overall, this is simply a piece of mainstream TV filler material that now comes to DVD. However, it is fun to watch nonetheless, if only for the montage of clips from genre films throughout the documentary.