Sunday, May 14, 2017

Bloodsucker’s Handbook – revisited

Back in 2013 I featured the film Enchiridion and my review described the film in the following terms: “if Canadian auteur Guy Maddin and Salvador Dali conspired to create a lovechild and name it Kerouac, then perhaps we would have a general frame of reference”. The review gave a good strong 7.5 out of 10 but the viewer had to be warned that it was a psychedelic, beat-fuelled experience replete with stop-motion.

Director Mark Beal kindly contacted me to say the film had received an international distribution but the distributor had made some changes. Not least the name had changed to Bloodsucker’s Handbook. This is not so big a change as Enchiridion is a Latin word that means handbook and, from a sales point of view, the English rather than Latin title would seem to be more sales friendly.

The colour complimented the Beats
The other major change was the fact that the film was no longer going to be in Black and White but in colour. Now, as this is the biggie, I’ll address the change straight off and say it works… kind of. The black and white offered a noir feel and the scenes with Valentine – the talking PI dog voiced by William Myrick – certainly deserved such a feel. However the film also owed much to the Beats (and, when watched, certainly brought Ginsberg to mind). The colour palate used is muted in a way that draws the 50s and early 60s to mind and fits into the Beat aspect. To be honest – a Blu-Ray set with both versions would be marvellous!

Jeremy Herrera as Doctor Condu
The film itself really did hold up to further scrutiny. Following the trials and tribulations of campus padre Father Noah Gregory (Cory W. Ahre) as the feds bring him into contact with alleged (and actual) vampire Doctor Condu (Jeremy Herrera), I was, again, most struck by their interactions. The film is certainly a psychodrama, perhaps a trip, maybe the evil dreams of the vampire it is one of those that someone looking for an easy-watch will regret stumbling across but those looking for a challenge and an arthouse feel will love. (At this point one wonders whether the title change will sell the film to the correct audience?)

If you want a little more in-depth exploration of the themes and the story then please see the original review. The score itself doesn’t change. The imdb page is here.

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