Ah, here we are, at the end of Catching Up week, right where we started… SOV. Sure, the plot of Kingdom couldn’t be farther apart from Terror On Tape, but, what the hell, SOV is the great common ground that unites vampire grannies and decrepit video store owners.
Lets jump right into this, shall we?
The film opens with Jeff closing up the liquor store he works at and heading home. When he gets home, he walks into the kitchen to find a bloody mess caused by his old hag of a mother. She acts like a complete bitch and tells him to clean it up, while she sits there eating cookies. It is now that we find that both Jeff and his mother are vampires, and apparently the last of their kind. At least in their area.
As he is cleaning up the mess (A small boy), we learn that, while he is trying, he cannot control his vampiristic habits, as he sucks blood from the deceased child’s wrist. Later that night we see him in his room, where the walls are laced with horror posters and promos. His mom comes in to make us hate her character even more, as she starts yelling at the poor kid for drinking some blood, like she doesn’t want him to be a vampire or something. Like I said… bitch. It is in this scene where my favorite plot point is brought up, that of the “Kingdom Of The Vampire”. Supposedly, many years ago the earth was ruled by vampires, and now they are in much fewer numbers and are on the verge of extinction. Jeff yells at his mother, claiming “There is no kingdom of the vampire!”, like a little girl auguring that Santa is in fact real. Damn, how is your stay-at-home mother more tough than you? that takes some skill. More bodies start to pile up, and when Jeff meets a girl he grows quite fond of, he starts to doubt cleaning up after his mom is the smartest thing he could do in life, being the spry, young vamp that he is.
I think the SOV sub-genera really needed a standout vampire flick, and while it did have the very hard to find (For me at least) City Of The Vampires, which came after Kingdom and was actually inspired by it’s name, Kingdom is a standout. It is shot well, the effects, acting, lighting and music are all perfect for the type of movie it is, and best of all it has an original take on the vampire tale. I consider this movie a tale of the low-rent vampires, the ones who have fallen on hard times and who have lost both their faith and desire to be vampires. Mom sits in her chair all day and is to lazy to clean up, and son provides for the family and starts to doubt that vampires actually had a significant place in history at all. Jeff wanting to love a living woman shows he wants nothing to do with his vampire past, and his mother won’t stand for it, if the bloodline dies, the kingdom is lost to the ages. Maybe I am reading to deep into it, but underlying story or not, the movie still kicks ass.
While this is no big scale vampire epic by far, I think the video look really helps this film in a way. It fits very well, the 30’s and 40’s vampire films all had grand sets and luscious black and white cinematography, the 60’s and 70’s had the happenin’ hair and soundtracks, and now, the 90’s have the low budget look, real stores used as sets, fuzzy picture and hazy colors. This movie is really a product of it’s time, and while not all vampire die-hards will like it, and many might even say it is a dark spot on bloodsucking history, I say it is a landmark, just an obscure one.
The film was re-made surprisingly, in 2007 by filmmaker Brett Kelly, and while I have heard good things, I have not seen it yet and doubt it still holds the undertones of the original, not because of poor direction or writing, but simply because it was not made in that time, and has a much different look to it.
While the tape (Of the original) is not expensive, it can be hard to find, because usually only one copy is listed on Amazon at a time. If you do come across one for sale, it should only cost you around five to seven bucks. The cover on the tape is, well, horrible, and is drawn very poorly. I am sad about the fact that the lady on the cover of the box somehow looks worse than the mother in the movie, because the art miss sells the movie entirely, and gives it a real cheese fest look. The film is anything but cheesy, and has a very dark feel to it, and is highly recommended.
-Johnny .D 6/2/12