Friday, October 11, 2013

A Pair of Mini Reviews: Thirst (1979) and In the Flesh (2013)

THIRST (1979) 
 IN THE FLESH (2013)

I'm running a little short on time today, so instead of writing a full-length review, I'll be running two short reviews instead.  One for the 1979 Australian vampire film Thirst, and one for the In the Flesh, a three part British zombie TV series.  They both have something in common, as they tend to take a more scientific take on their monsters, as opposed to a supernatural one.  Another thing they had in common: I didn't really enjoy either one that much, which is why I didn't want to write a full length review.

Thirst (1979)
In Thirst,  a woman who is a descendant of Elizabeth Bathory is kidnapped by a large and well-organized cult that believe they are vampires.  The cultists then hold her captive and attempt to brainwash her in to believing that she is a vampire as well.

This film plays around with the notion that they might not really be vampires, but just a bunch of crazies that believe they are vampires, like the much superior George A. Romero film Martin.  The "vampires" can walk in sunlight, don't have fangs, don't turn into bats or have any other super powers.  They're basically just a bunch of weirdos who like drinking other peoples blood.  They even have a whole scientific facility set up where they drain people's blood and bottle it, like they were milking a cow in a modern dairy farm.

Blood Donor
It's an interesting idea for a movie, but I didn't think they went far enough in exploring those ideas to make it all that interesting to watch.  They also made the mistake of making the vampires eyes glow red at several key points during the movie, which seems to suggest they really are supernatural creatures, and totally undermines the idea that they are just brainwashed cultists.  The glowing eye shots are also odd in that they usually happen during a freeze-frame, making for an extra cheap looking effect.  I suspect that they probably weren't part of the original cut of the film, and were spliced in by some clueless producers after the fact, to give the film more of a "horror" feel.

Blood Shower
The film did have some interesting ideas, and the whole blood-milking factory was pretty neat, but overall I was just bored watching this film, and I wouldn't recommend it.

In the Flesh (2013)
In the Flesh takes place a few years after a zombie outbreak in England.  The government has found a medical treatment for zombieism, or Partial Death Syndrome, as they call it.  As long as the zombies recieve an injection of their medication every day, they can go back to a somewhat normal life.  The show follows a teenage zombie named Kieren as he returns home to an awkward reunion with his family, and to a town that is afraid of and hostile to him and others of his kind.

I Was a Teenage Zombie
The problem with this show is that the zombie aspect is almost superfluous.  It's basically just a show about small town prejudice and dysfunctional families.  In fact, one of the final scenes of the series involved the family being forced to express their feelings, and then they hug each other.  I don't know about you, but that's really not what I'm looking for when I'm watching a show about zombies.  The zombie aspect could be removed with some really minor rewrites, and it would still be pretty much the same show.

The show introduced some elements that sounded exciting, like the possibility that a PDS sufferer could not get their injection and revert back to a rabid zombie, or a zombie revolution sparked by this weird zombie preacher guy on the internet, but then they never went anywhere with them. Overall, the show was a decent family drama, I guess, but it pretty much failed as a zombie or horror series.  The show is supposed to be back in 2014 with an extended run of episodes,  and I hope they really ramp up the horror aspects when it returns.  If they do, it could develop into something I would want to watch.  As it stands right now, though, I'd give it a pass.

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