Saturday, February 21, 2009

Dark Town

Seven years of watching Buffy the Vampire Slayer convinced me that celebrating a birthday is always a bad idea – something horrible goes wrong. In Dark Town, the Anderson family throws a party to celebrate the birthday of their patriarch. The Andersons are a typical family – dad’s a slumlord, oldest daughter is a lesbian to the disapproval of her family, and younger daughter is a moll for one of the local black gangs, holding their drug money. This Leave It to Beaver nuclear family hits the skids when just before the big party; dad gets attacked by a vampire squatter in one of his buildings and turned.

He goes to the party with the idea of spreading the wealth, in a manner of speaking. He carries a thermos full of infected blood (presumably – this is never actually explained), and gets several members of the family to take a swig, showing that his family is much more trusting than mine. The urban gang breaks into the home to recover their money, but have bitten off more than they can chew, due to the increasing percentage of vampires in residence. Madcap mayhem ensues.

I think part of the mood the makers of Dark Town was going for was sort of a The Thing type of vibe, with the humans steadily losing ground to their fangy adversaries, while being claustrophobically trapped with them. This doesn’t really work, since anyone can escape by running out the back door, but I suppose it’s what they want. It also continues the inexplicable association in the movies of vampires and lesbians.

Despite the many, many problems with this turkey, my wife and I had a good time with the movie, in a sort of MST3K fashion. We cracked up at one of the hapless gangbangers (we knew him only as Green Shirt) who got hurt in nearly every scene. He was shot, stabbed, crucified, and finally eaten. I guess you had to be there. There was also a fairly stomach-turning scene where dad performs a messy late-term vampiric abortion on his daughter -in-law. Worth renting if you’re in one of those moods.

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