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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