Ratings Key

= Excellent. The best the genre has to offer.
1/2 = Very Good. Perhaps not "perfect," but undoubtedly a must-see.
★★★ = Good. Accomplishes what it sets out to do and does it well.
★★1/2 = Fair. Clearly flawed and nothing spectacular, but competently made. OK entertainment.
★★ = Mediocre. Either highly uneven or by-the-numbers and uninspired.
1/2 = Bad. Very little to recommend.
= Very Bad. An absolute chore to sit through.
NO STARS! = Abysmal. Unwatchable dreck that isn't even bad-movie amusing.
SBIG = So Bad It's Good. Technically awful movies with massive entertainment value.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Pale Blood (1990)

Directed by:
V.V. Dachin Hsu

A pretty good direct-to-video vampire tale that has an intriguing premise but doesn't completely live up to its potential. L.A. is the backdrop for a series of brutal murders, where female victims have every drop of blood drained from their bodies. Director Hsu (who was born in Hong Kong, moved to the U.S. and graduated from UCLA's film program; she also co-scripted) flips the roles seen in your standard vampire film by making a mere mortal (Wings Hauser) responsible for the murders and our hero (George Chakiris) a sullen and understated vampire who flies in from London to team up with a female private investigator (Pamela Ludwig) to try to catch the killer. Hauser's character is a deranged would-be "video artist" who kidnaps women, punctures their necks with vampire bat teeth and then drains them of their blood, hoping his actions will attract a real vampire that he can then photograph. There's quite a bit of talk in this one, but there's also a good sense of humor and Hauser contributes a memorably (and appropriately) overwrought performance. The other two leads were good also.
Also in the cast are French actress Diana Frank (who'd later appear in the vampire films DEAD OF NIGHT/DARK HUNGER and CLUB VAMPIRE) and Darcy DeMoss (who was dating Hauser at the time) as vamp victims (both also provide the nude scenes), Frazer Smith and an uncredited walk-on by Sybil Danning. The band Agent Orange performs during a club scene.


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