Archive for August, 2010

Daddy’s Girl – a movie review

I’m a bit of a movie-fan. That’s not really something i talk about much here, as it’s mostly not relevant irrelevant to vampirism and donoring. In particular i’m into “grotesque” movies, recent examples might include “Taxidermia” or “The Human Centipede“, “Dumplings” would also fall into this category, or “Marquis“. It is really not so much a style or genre but a certain quality which makes people i tell about them say you’re weird and move a little bit away from me on their seats, with a slightly worried look in their eyes.

I also enjoy a wide range of other off-beat movies[1], and it won’t surprise you then that i’m not too fond of large productions aimed at drawing the masses to the cinema. I do enjoy horror, but not because it’s scary; if you (dear reader) are ever in a chat with me while i’m watching a horror movie (a few readers who might experience that) you might hear me exclaiming in glee and describing the most outrageous scenes in sumptuous detail. Yes i’m weird.

Vampire movies are a thing apart. Most of them are just really bad. Many are downright horrible[2]. The genre has been milked so hard that it’s very rare for a vampire movie to actually bring in something new. And then of course as donors or real vampires we get our very own reasons to rant about vampire movies. Yet there’s quite a few i like. “Let The Right One In” is an outstanding movie for any genre, which i recommend wholeheartedly to any movie fan (and i will restrain myself from going on a rant about the fucking idiots[3] who are making an american remake). I am rather fond of “Night Watch” too, both in its written and movie forms. “Vampire Diary” (the british movie, not the american series) is interesting in the way it blurs the lines between lifestyler and real vampire, and between real vampire and “real” vampire[4], and also because it centres on the donor. Romero’s “Martin” leaves the question of whether he is a “real” vampire or a human hungering for blood wide open.

And then a friend on the VCMB pointed me at “Daddy’s Girl” (“Cravings” in the US), and this is something new. This is, for all intents and purposes, a movie about a real vampire.

Lets start by dashing your hopes. The reason you’ve probably never heard about it is that it is not a good movie. The acting is stale and flat, or else ridiculously overdrawn. The shots are crude, again either flat or exaggerated. The plot is cobbled together and doesn’t really know what it wants to be, a psychological drama or a horror or a movie about doctor/patient relationships.

It also does a really bad job at portraying a real vampire. But then, it is a drama, not a documentary[5], and the vampirism is supposed to create an arc of dramatic tension running through the movie. I have not heard a single case of a real vampire unhooking a hospital patient from a blood infusion (no doubt such fantasies are common, but going that extra step and making it real?). Similarly, accounts of non-consensual feeding are extremely rare, though one assumes they would be under-reported. However, cases of nailing victims to the floor, murder, or abduction tend to get into the news, and if there’s a vampirism angle that would certainly get picked up.

So what’s actually in the movie? There’s a psychiatrist, struggling to deal with the suicide of his wife and the death of his mother. There’s the vamp, a teenaged girl, who becomes his patient after an act of self-injury misinterpreted as a suicide attempt. There’s the vampire’s mother, who gets into a relationship with the psychiatrist. Of the side characters i think only the donor-girl deserves mention, who gives us the best scene in the whole movie.

<Warning, there follow spoilers>
So we have a wonderful triangle of a relationship. It starts of when the vampire kills the psychiatrist’s very ill mother when she pulls out the blood infusion she’s receiving. The two develop some kind of freudian psychosexual doctor/patient relationship, which goes haywire when the psychiatrist starts sleeping with the vampire’s mother. Pretty soon the vampire is knocking at the psychiatrists front door, begging for a place to stay the night. She then proceeds to drug him up, and when he’s completely knocked out she feasts on his blood (via venipuncture). In an interlude we see the vampire butchering her pet rat, one assumes in a desire to get at its blood. In what i consider the best scene, certainly the most relevant to real vampirism, the donor girl, who bears the scars of serious self-injury, cuts herself across the arm and then lets the vampire feed from her. She is obviously rather terrified of the vampire and of the experience, leaving in a hurry. This is the only scene of which i can say that it actually mirrors many real vampires’ experience, though it is a feeding which went bad. When the donor bumps into the psychiatrist, she spills the whole story to him. Subsequently he researches Renfield’s syndrome[6] and clinical vampirism, gets into trouble with hospital administration and is suspended (from work, not by hooks or rope). The vampire kills the psychiatrist’s wee little doggy and blends him to a dark red drink (i had to facepalm). Events pick up, the psychiatrist allows himself to get drugged by the vampire again, wakes up nailed by to the floor through his hands with the vamp wanting to pierce his carotid artery with a hairpin. His estate agent turns up, giving him a moment of hope (i think they were going for comedy at this point), only for it to be shattered when the vamps mother sides with the vamp. The estate agent gets hit over the head and fed from. In the final scene the psychiatrist is chained to a bed in a basement somewhere, the mother being kind and caring from him, while the vamp blissfully drinks from a plastic tube connected to his neck somewhere.
<You survived the spoilers!>

If you read through that you’ll understand why i say that it’s a very bad portrayal of sanguinarian vampirism. The only scene which i actually consider accurate is the feeding from the donor, the rest is wild dramatisation and invention. Of course a drama does need a story-arc, suspense, resolution, etc., but Daddy’s Girl handles the whole thing exemplarily badly.

Nonetheless it is a movie about an actual real sanguinarian vampire, which doesn’t invoke any kind of supernatural or sci-fi explanation, and who is devoid of any superpowers of metaphysical gifts. To my knowledge it is the only movie around which does that, if you know of another then please let me know in the comments. By including a donor the movie also managed to do something which most documentaries fail at.

It’s just a shame that it’s such a bad movie.

[1] i’m going to refrain from making a long list, sorry.
[2] check out Jonathon8’s handy guide to vampire movies by a “real” vampire.
[3] i am very selective about my swearing, most swearwords function by othering, and if you’ve read my blog any length of time you’ll know that is something i try to be aware of. But when i call somebody stupid or an idiot, that implies uttermost scorn on my part. “Fuck” just emphasises whatever i’m saying, positively or negatively.
[4] “real” as in fictional, not actually real.
[5] and considering the quality of most documentaries out there, “Daddy’s Girl” is hardly doing a worse job.
[6] Renfield’s is not recognised as a psychiatric diagnosis. It’s symptoms, progression, and characterisation have little to none correspondence to the experience of actual sanguinarian vampires. Any time anybody invokes Renfield’s syndrome as an explanation of vampirism they are doing the whole VC a disservice. Renfield’s is garbage, and belongs on the same heap of trash as explanations of vampirism invoking Erszebet Bathory, Vlad Dracul, Kain or Lilith. Furthermore, don’t those idiots who invoke Kain (and most who invoke Lilith) realise that by doing so they are embracing a worldview which holds that the world was created out of nothing some 6000 years ago? Stupid nincompoops! *Cough* sorry, don’t know what came over me there.

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donor appreciation day

If you frequent the various sites and fora of the vampire community (and you’re reading this, so i reckon you do) you’ve certainly come across Drake Mefestta’s declaration of October 1st as Donor Appreciation Day. In case you’ve somehow missed it, the full text is at the end of this post.

This has stirred up quite a flurry of activity: of the top of my head there’s discussions about it on the AVA forums, two on the VCMB, in the Black Swan Haven, on the german CT, the VVC has put a poll about it online (i’ve not linked those instances requiring registration), and i reckon there are probably discussions ongoing more or less everywhere in the VC. Some of the reactions have been quite negative, and there’s been some drama, but that’s more or less to be expected in a community like the VC.

I am inclined to support the proposal. Not that i’ve ever felt unappreciated or used by any of the vampires i’ve donated to, and though i love a little pampering that is hardly reason to create an international holiday.

But what i’ve seen is this: a donor coming into the community, telling more or less horrific stories about things their vampire has done to them. Often the vampire would have denied doubts the donor had brought up, saying to trust them, and that they knew what they were doing. Often the vampire would have actively discouraged the donor from seeking advice with the VC, or even denied them the right to do so.

I’ve not seen it often, but often enough. And it seems to me that a large majority of donors have very little – if any – contact to the VC, and are entirely dependent on their vampires for information. Most of us certainly can’t seek information or support outside of the VC (Drake definitely got that right: if a member of the general public just about understands that somebody might want to drink blood, they look at donors with blank incomprehension). Though i trust that most vampires are entirely well-intentioned towards their donors, a few aren’t, and for those the isolation of donors is ideal. And even if the vampire is well-intentioned the relationship with an uninformed and isolated donor is more likely to deteriorate than when the donor is knowledgable or has reliable people to talk with.

In that sense i support the creation of a donor appreciation day. Not as a day for vampires to pamper us donors, but as a day for the VC as a whole to reach out to donors. As a day for the VC to encourage vampires to introduce their donors to the community. As a day for vampires to connect donors to other donors. As a day for integrating donors into the community. If you then want to go ahead and pamper your donors a little, then i’m sure none of us will complain. But let the first goal of this holiday be a reminder that donors need the community just as much as vampires do.

http://www.facebook.com/drakemefestta

To the members, supporters, and observers of the Vampire Community

July 31, 2010

Throughout the decades the vampire community has been comprised of members from all paths, faiths, and walks of life. As a community and as individuals we have all felt, at one time or another, the burden of our own personal tribulations, being what we are and existing within a social structure that is growing but still infantile in its understandings has made for a difficult way of life for many within our society. I feel that there is a part within our community that still can be considered far more unacknowledged in their way of life and whom I feel deserves necessary validation and recognition for what they do in support for our community, our donors.

Within the general society donors are often looked at as simply food, portrayed often as something to be fed upon and nothing more, given an almost consistent stigma of helpless prey to the mighty hunter and to this I raise my objection. I believe most would agree that though we the vampires may be negatively perceived by many, there are still others who would equally find positive traits, things to admire and find fantasia or mystique in therefore the icon of the vampire still has a formidable substantiation to it . The donor’s life however I consider the perception to not only be misconstrued in society but also not as empathized within the community due to the fact that almost all that would feed from a donor had never been in the donors place and truly experience what they sacrifice for our preservation and all so willingly as well.

By this I would wish to declare that on October the 1st, I will be holding personally as a secular holiday, as a day of thanks to the donors that have given so much for our preservation. I feel that they are just as much of a part of our community as any other and hold an irreplaceable role as the ones who make it possible for us to exist and maintain our sense well being and that is something to give deepest honor to. I hope you will all join me by giving thanks to your donors however you see fit and celebrating their sacrifices to us. This secular holiday I offer for our community I hope will fortify the bond further of our society and whatever role we all have within it.

I welcome your thoughts and insights to this desire of mine and anticipate you will support me in this endeavor.

Regards,-Drake Mefestta