DVD Review: “Bloodsucking Cinema”


Released By: Anchor Bay
Release Date: September 23, 2008
Number of Discs: 1
Approximate Running Time: 57 Minutes
Special Features: None
Suggested Price: $19.97

The Source:
Originally produced for the Starz cable network, this documentary attempts to explain the public’s long standing fascination with the vampire mythos in the cinema. Directors, actors, and special effects creators such as John Carpenter, Stan Winston, Joel Schumacher, John Landis, and even Cheech Marin lend their opinions on why Dracula and his children of the night are such popular characters in mainstream entertainment.

The Fanboy Factor:
According to the DVD case, Bloodsucking Cinema considers itself to be a documentary on “the origin and evolution of the vampire movie”. Unfortunately I would have to disagree unless they want to insert the word “modern” in the description. The genesis of vampire films from the early days of silent pictures to the Universal classics defining the genre to Hammer Studios filling the screen with bloody color are all summed up in about five minutes of the brief running time. Most of the early productions are represented by public domain clips, mainly from the 1922 version of Nosferatu. Unless I blinked and missed it, the Hammer film series that pumped new blood into the genre for almost two decades isn’t mentioned at all. Instead, the documentary focuses on modern films and franchises like Lost Boys, Underworld, From Dusk Till Dawn, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Van Helsing and Blade. The directors, actors, and various personnel who made these films memorable share anecdotes about their movies and theories on the popularity of vampires in general. The material presented is interesting but the overall documentary feels precursory and unfocused.

The Product:
The audio and video transfer on this DVD is the high quality expected from a modern product like this. The video segments and clips from current films look great but the source material for the older footage was obviously not in the greatest condition. There are no DVD extras like extended or deleted interviews, just the same documentary as presented on Starz.

The Bottom Line:
Bloodsucking Cinema will appeal to fans of modern vampire films and provides a brief but entertaining overview on the current state of the genre. Fans of the older films are advised to look elsewhere since there is nothing new or substantial presented here.