Monday, June 14, 2010

The Fearless Vampire Killers

A title so good I didn't want to think of a different one to headline my review. So let's sink our teeth into Roman Polanksi's The Fearless Vampire Killers. (Yeah, I went there.)

This was an odd movie. They don't make movies like this anymore. It's an absurdist comedy. Part camp, part live action cartoon, part satire. It tells the story of an old professor, called crazy for his belief and study of vampires, and his sole assistant/disciple (played by Polanksi). They have been called to a small village somewhere in Eastern Europe to investigate rumors of vampires, which turn out to be very very true.

As I noted before, this film doesn't really look like any other Polanksi film I've seen. It really is cartoonish, exaggerated makeup, costumes, colors, camera angles. Perhaps the most interesting thing is the use of a fast-forward special effect that gives the illusion of the characters moving at incredible speeds. This is used when people run, ride sleds, and other very physical actions. This is an effect used in many old silent vampire or horror movies, and old silent comedies. So it gives a nod to both these genres in an intriguing way. It is pretty funny, and the way everything is so over-the-top makes it borderline brilliant. It cleverly mocks religion and humans' futile attempts to understand or control the supernatural. I especially loved the scene involving Polanski's character's encounter with a male vampire who is blatantly trying to seduce him.

This is the movie that introduced Polanski to his late wife Sharon Tate. They actually didn't get along at first because he's a perfectionist and she was a new-comer to films so she required many takes to get the scenes right. But, they ended up falling for each other anyway. She's very funny in this movie, reminded me so much of Ilsa in Young Frankenstein- which was so clearly inspired by The Fearless Vampire Killers. She has a charming girl-next-door vibe in spite of her incredible beauty. She clearly would have gone on to great things had she not been brutally murdered.

Be sure to see the restored version. The original theatrical release was butchered by the studio and the editors to the point where Polanski was furious. The restored version has better pacing and lets the comedic performances shine through.

If you're sick of the neo-vampire date rape fetish genre of Twilight, True Blood, The Vampire Diaries, etc. Then this movie is the perfect roasted clove of garlic for you.

-- Noel
Sent from my T-Mobile Sidekick®


You can now see an alphabetical index of the movies I've reviewed here by clicking on the link above "Index of Movies I've Reviewed". Nifty, eh?


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