Monday, October 30, 2006

The 'Ninja Factor' Has A Sophisticated Champion In The Vampire Film (October 2006 Vampire Blog-A-Thon)

Welcome to the Vampire Blog-A-Thon!

Let me talk to you about an interesting phenomenon that occurs in film, and how it relates to those that are vampiric. First, to explain what this 'Ninja Factor'
is exactly...

Simply put it works like this: Our hero (who is a ninja), whenever facing ninjatic foes is of slightly greater strength than the combined strength of all those he faces in a given scene. This means that whether he faces seven bad dudes, 88 crazy assassins, or just one expert Ninjitsu Master, our heroic ninja takes about the same time to defeat them all. It's pretty simple. Whether it's five or fifty they all eat it in around five minutes. Many of you know this unwritten film rule already.

Now to bring in the 'Vampire Factor', the Ninja Film's close relative.

In vampire films, the first thing that must be explained is 'by which physiological rules do these vampires (un)live?'

1.) How tough are they? Does sunlight kill outright or merely weaken? Does the cross have to be blessed or do you simply need to take your fingers and make a plus out of them? And what about silver, garlic, running water and stakes?

2.) How powerful or old are they? Do we go classic Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) with the full gamete of shadowplay, transformation into bats and mist, animal control and holding psychic sway over humans, or are we confined to the tamer heightened strength and mild telepathy present in The Hunger (1983)?

3.) How evil is the Vampire? Are we talking Anne Rice's touch of evil with a healthy dose of guilt or are we talking Lost Boys (1987) fun-filled malignance, or is it all-out senseless starving monsters out of Carpenter's 1998 Vampires?

Already, rather than simply showing how venerable a given foe is by engaging in battle, we have clues that will let us know how difficult these night-stalking foes are, a more cerebral look at relative strength than simply: "Look there's six of them!"

4.) The final, and most important question in determining 'Vampire Factor' is really the only one that determines relative strength, with the 'Ninja Factor' prevalent at its core. How quickly does this bunch breed? Is there a long and drawn-out romance, a full-out embrace and painful turning? Or is it simply, "Ow, a vampire bit me and I'm infected too!" *Hungry Hungry*, or are we talking classic 'kill the vampire nest's progenitor at the end and everyone's fixed'?

You see, breeding rate of vampires is directly related to their strength, so if they spread their infection like bunnies, turns out they're probably of the soft-chested, quickly-killed variety, as tragically proven in From Dusk Till Dawn (1996).

Alternatively, in Interview With The Vampire (1994), where we only see a small vampiric community, though debatably the relative strength of these immortals is the toughest we've seen yet.

So remember kids, next time you see a movie where hunters are after just one vampire, you just know she'll be a tough mother. Consequently, should people face a countryside filled to the fangs with the undead, they'll be dropping like flies... you watch.

Now for those of you looking for actual reviews of actual films about actual vampires, well here are a few meaty selections of my own:

Anyone worthy of calling themselves a true fang fan will not be complete until they see the first best film on the subject. F.W. Murnau's 1922 classic silent Nosferatu is as much a haunting tale as a visual treat, a must see, not because it's a first, but because it's just that good.

At the exact opposite end of the spectrum, we have Ankle Biters (2002), the second worst movie I've ever seen. This is a film about midgets vampires with a plan to turn regular height people to their fold... you heard me right.

And finally, here's another little low-budge piece of work called Bloodsuckers (2005), or Sci-Fi Vampire Hunters in Space, if you prefer. You know for as bad as this was, watching it with friends made it all worth it.

Thanks for reading, and remember to return for (or even participate in) November 15th's Alfred Hitchcock Blog-A-Thon, hosted by... ME!

For a complete listing of all the ghouls participating in this frenzied film feast, visit our venerable host, Count Nathaniel in his infernal lair The Film Experience Blog!