BLOOD BITES THE BIG ONE, UH, EIGHT
Normally, when what you’re eating tastes terrible, one bite is enough. But somehow the plucky fans of the Blood Bite franchise are now sinking their teeth into the eighth of these morsels, with #9 on deck. The miniscule box office and critical thrashing of the films would scream “money laundering” were it not that a) I can’t prove it and b) libel is illegal — although a holding cell sounds peaceful and comfy compared to a seat in the theater for Blood Bite VIII.
May as well get this out of the way: Like Abbott and Costello Go to Mars, in which no one goes to Mars, there’s not all that much blood in this movie. Nobody’s down a pint or anything like that, so the stakes (as it were) remain soporifically low. In a better film, this would mean that suspense, revulsion, and terror are generated by non-gory production values, such as light and shadow, creepy sounds, or skillful editing. In BB8, however, suspense, revulsion, and terror come from the audience’s own suppression of laughter, unflagging hatred of each and every character, and awareness of how much of the running time remains.
Speaking of lighting and sound, the first 40 minutes of the film is apparently illuminated by puck lights and dental work, except when a scene takes place outdoors, when it’s lit with a tarp tied over the lens. We do get a better look at the cast and locations later on, and it turns out lighting instruments were a waste of budget. The soundtrack features several scenes in which off-camera characters deliver unusually informative lines. Cheesy as this dubbing technique is, it would improve countless other movies as well.
In 20 years, people may conclude that the Blood Bites are “so bad they’re good,” or “so bad they’re funny.” I don’t see it happening, but neither do I know what sort of blasted hellscape we’ll be living in then or how that will affect our taste in movies. But a genre film that will become a cult favorite is ultimately a dated, mediocre flick with a couple of over-the-top factors that nail you to your seat. Something like a mad scientist who wears a full-length evening gown under her lab coat, day and night, or giant lemmings played by puppy dogs with little costumes on, or dialogue that’s wildly unlike human speech.
Alas, nothing here is over the top. In fact, this movie is scarcely over the bottom. Durable (like a coffeemaker) star Tim Finster, as hero Diego Darkcanyon, is male, movable, reflects sufficient light to be perceived visually, and produces word-like sounds. When Diego becomes angry, he turns into a werewolf. Literally turns. He turns his back to the camera, and presently when he turns back around, he’s hairy, toothy, and snarly. It’s less subtle than Dr. McCoy recovering from Kim Darby Disease in Star Trek.
I could go on, but I want to make sure you have time to cancel your plans to see Blood Bite VIII with someone who, so far, likes you. It’s too late for me.
Julie Peterson, Rock Falls Viking