starring; Val Kilmer, Bruce Dern
genre: Film Noir, Thriller,
plot: While doing autograph signings in a small town, author Hall Baltimore finds himself suddenly wrapped up in the sheriff's latest unsolved murder. The sheriff has the idea that it's a serial killer/vampire hunter who's doing it, and convinces Hall to co-author a detective novel with him. After agreeing, Hall finds himself with writer's block, and starts to dream about the main plot of the novel. His personal spirit guide being Edgar Allan Poe.
Okay, first off, this is a Francis Ford Coppola movie, but this is a far cry from Bram Stoker's Dracula. Half the movie is done in black and white, to represent the dream sequences, while the "real life" is done in colour. Not that you can really tell them apart given the story just seems to be one continuous roll.
You have to give him credit for trying to reinvent the vampire film. With such a nod to gothic literature, the surrealism works for some scenes, but not for others. It at times, edges on the ridiculous. But with that said, this plays beautifully. It's almost like all the major classic vampire stories are here, from Carmilla, to Polidori's The Vamypre, to the movie version of Nosferatu. It takes heavily the ideas of outsiders being able to corrupt and steal innocence and plays on the fears of sexuality. (Much in the same way Dracula does.)
The story does get a bit confusing given Poe is telling his version of the story to Hall, claiming he knew the girl in question in the 1800's, the girl's death is suppose to have happened in 1955, and Hall is experiencing this in 2011. The fact that time seems to run amuck and none of the clocks in the town are ever right, just adds to the disjointedness of the story. Which is a great tool for expressing vampirism in itself. Time is a vampire- A vampire is timeless.
There is just so many layers to this particular movie, that at first glance it seems like cotton-fluff, sticky sweet like it would have been better suited for a three minute rock video (think Marylin Manson here) but as the movie progresses, you start to see the elements that it really pulls from.
What I liked is that it is different, but with such familiar moments to it that clearly identifies it as a vampire story. You're left wondering if everything about the vampires were real or imagined, left wondering how much of the characters' personal guilt is driving them, left wondering what it was that really drove the first round of killings to happen?