Friday, December 12, 2008

Plasma Screenings

I dig supernatural cinema, from NIALL MACGINNIS' sinister turn in Curse Of The Demon and DEBORAH KERR in The Innocents, to POLANSKI's Ninth Gate and The Covenant's boy-candy band. Vampire films make up a good chunk of this genre, and there've been teeth-sinkers...alongside real stinkers.

I know it's sacrilege, but campy LEE and LUGOSI scrape the bottom of my talent list, with their corny capes and unprotected crypts. Dracula's been around for hundreds of years...wise up! Blend in! Hide your coffins in 100 different places, you un-deadheads! Even Blacula leaves these two in the mummy dust.

Which is why I favor post-60s bloodsucking flicks. 1979's Dracula, with KATE NELLIGAN as Lucy and SIR LAWRENCE OLIVIER as the convincingly-accented Van Helsing, is a stellar incarnation of Stoker's classic, eerily scored by JOHN WILLIAMS. FRANK LANGELLA deftly interprets the king of the nosferatu, flawlessly elevating his mannered stage performance to the screen. Those lips, those eyes, and a voice that betrays its origin in deepest brimstone. Could have done without the bat-on-strings.

Fast-forward eight years: night-stalking meets West Hollywood. SCHUMACHER's Lost Boys put a stake in the period pieces of yore, giving a KIEFER SUTHERLAND-led pack of teen plasma pirates an 80s makeover: rock-star biker gear, product-propelled hair and a hip storyline carried by romantic leads Square Peg JAMIE GERTZ and pre-Speed 2 JASON PATRICK. I was one of the first 100 in line opening night at Orange, Connecticut's Showcase Cinemas, so I nabbed a free poster. Which I promptly framed; hangs in my hallway to this day..."Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire."

OLDMAN's 1992 Dracula sucked...WINONA, please shoplift some acting lessons. TARANTINO's 1996 From Dusk Til Dawn was enjoyable, if a little heavy on the Romero make-up. And SARAH MICHELLE GELLAR's Buffy TV series admirably carried the baton through 2003.

I'd much rather talk about this year's "Lost Boys 2: The Tribe" (trailer above). Surprisingly entertaining, the reality-show double COREYS (HAIM and FELDMAN) return for the sequel to hysterical effect. Honors the original while standing on its own merits quite nicely. The music's bleeding edge, the Ring-inspired CGI palatable, and Kiefer's half-brother, ANGUS, steps into his sibling's leather as leader-of-the-Drac-pack Shane Powers. Thirteen times better than recently-released and inexplicably-ballyhooed "Twilight," which I've already eviscerated. Can't wait for LB3.
Netflix, Inc.

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