Vampire Movies Are More Fun When They Follow The Rules – Day 9 FFF 2011

vampire sketch

The First Midnight Son Fan Art?

Number One Son here. The Florida Film Festival is well-over but we still have a few more reviews to post!

NOT Cilian Murphy

Midnight Son is about a young man who looks kind-of like Cilian Murphy who has a skin disorder. He gets badly burned if sunlight touches him. So he sleeps during the day, and works as a security guard at night, and, as a result, he’s lonely and alienated. Anyway turns out he’s a vampire. I don’t have a lot to say about this one, which is why I’ve been doodling instead of writing. (See sketch above.)

The movie isn’t a masterpiece or anything, it’s no Vampire’s Kiss (trigger warning: non-graphic rape scene.) But it is moody and fun and I enjoyed it. The twist with this one is the main character has been slowly turning into a vampire his whole life. Sunlight became deadly for him around puberty. Now, all of a sudden, there is only one type of food that satisfies him: A certain red liquid which, I’m sorry to say, is not V8. So he goes to the butcher’s and gets some blood, and starts drinking it out of a coffee cup. But animal blood doesn’t quite hit the spot. So he finds someone who will sell him blood bags with human blood. But then it turns out the dealer gets some of the blood using questionable means. Also, our protagonist loses control and kills somebody, but he didn’t really mean to…

You know that feeling you have that you were innocent when you were younger and now you’re corrupted and make all sorts of moral compromises? Also, remember that one time when you did something really, really terrible and you wished you could undo it and you were like, Oh God, What now? I think this movie speaks to these feelings. (“Actually,” you reply, “I’ve never had feelings like that.” Really? Never? It’s just me? Huh. Guess I’m evil.)

(There is this nagging voice in my head that is saying ,“Sorry but that last paragraph is the WORST. You were like Ha ha! Look at how brilliant I am! I have uncovered the deep hidden meanings of this film. Truly I am the world’s greatest movie reviewer. Meanwhile the reader was just rolling his eyes.” Aww man don’t roll your eyes! I want you to love me!)

(“What!” you say. “I didn’t roll my eyes at all! Actually I think you’re super-smart!” Well thanks!)

Midnight Son Filmmakers During Q&A

During the Q & A the director said that this movie was inspired by Romero’s Martin, which I haven’t seen. To me it felt like a less-comedic An American Werewolf in London. (The director of this movie said he thought vampire movies are all about guilt, and that they became more popular after 9/11 because we are feeling guilty about our response.)

I’ve been trying to figure out why the movie doesn’t quite work and I think the answer is: The characters will sometimes act the way the plot requires them to act, rather than act the way they actually would. For example, at one point the blood-dealer is all, Sorry, I’m out of blood, how about I drug somebody and steal blood from them? Right now! Here I go! And Jacob, our protagonist, is all, No, stop! And then the dealer’s partner pulls a gun on Jacob. Now I don’t know much about the black market and I don’t know much about business, but this, to me, kind of seems like a bad business move. There’s a rule in How To Win Friends and Influence People that people sometimes overlook. It’s right after Rule 3: “Remember that a person’s name is to that person the sweetest and most important sound in any language.” Rule 4: “People don’t really like it when you pull a gun on them.” Actually I think anytime you find yourself pulling a gun on one of your customers, you’ve got to ask yourself: “Is leveraging guns on the customer base really consistent with my company’s core guiding principles? Maybe we should have a team meeting and open a dialogue about shifting our paradigms in vampire contexts so we can better meet long-term mission critical objectives and really take things to the next level.”

I also think vampire movies (and King Arthur movies, and Robin Hood movies, and Spiderman movies) are more fun when they follow as many of The Rules as possible. When Jacob put a cross to his forehead and it didn’t do anything, I was thinking aww boo!

A vampire movie where the vampire isn’t afraid of crosses? Blasphemy! That really crosses the line.

(I’m very sorry.)

Of course there are lots and lots of vampire rules,* I guess you can’t follow every single little one. But if you are trying to decide whether your vampire should have a reflection, and part of you is like umm, no reflections? That is much too silly, and part of you is like, yes! No reflections! That is awesome! then you should listen to the second part of you. Try and bend your movie to the rules instead of vice-versa. Don’t worry! You can approach vampire movies from a brand new angle and still follow all the big rules. You can make your move gritty and serious and follow the rules. You can make it over-the-top and goofy and follow the rules. You can even be a die-hard atheist and follow all of the rules (Joss Whedon: atheist, creator of Buffy the Vampire Slayer.)

And instead of throwing out a rule you can always put an interesting spin on it. I haven’t seen Polanski’s The Fearless Vampire Killers, but apparently someone holds a cross up to a vampire, and the vampire replies: “Oy vey, have you got the wrong vampire.” That is awesome.

Actually, come to think of it, Jacob was turning into a vampire in stages, so maybe he becomes allergic to crosses and garlic later.

(I didn’t have any problem with Jacob being a born-vampire, incidentally! Other vampires are born in the normal way so it’s fine.)

Anyway, solid movie. The last shot is fantastic.

*The best part of that Wikipedia article is the  section on Count Chocula.

One Response to “Vampire Movies Are More Fun When They Follow The Rules – Day 9 FFF 2011”

  1. Maureen Carruthers Says:

    Don’t tell your dad, but your reviews are my favorite. I hope you’ll continue to share your rapier wit and refreshingly honest (and hysterically funny) perspectives with blog readers even after FFF is a thing of the past.

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