Vampires vs. Blade

In the shadow of its big brother Blade, I’m fairly convinced that Vampires looked better on paper.

Somewhere, Anne Rice is cringing, I’m just certain of it. Much too her probable dismay, the next generation of vamps has hit the rave clubs and donned big guns — not to mention gone commercial. We’ve come a long way since the Louisiana tapestry of vampire lore and mystic legend, where effeminate Tom Cruise and Brad Pitt romp around in long stringy wigs and crisp blue eye contacts (I’m alluding to Interview with the Vampire). Now, the new scene that’s all the rage is the dance floor atop skyscrapers or wide open desert ranges, as we’ll see in this summer’s Blade or in the recent (John Carpenter’s) Vampires.

Summary

Blade (August 21, 1998)

Release Date: August 21, 1998
Starring: Wesley Snipes, Stephen Dorff, Kris Kristofferson, N'Bushe Wright
Genres: Horror, Action
Runtime: 120 min
Original Title: Blade
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Marvel Enterprises, New Line Cinema, Amen Ra Films, Imaginary Forces
When Blade's mother was bitten by a vampire during pregnancy, she did not know that she gave her son a special gift while dying—all the good vampire attributes in combination with the best human skills. Blade and his mentor battle an evil vampire rebel who plans to take over the outdated vampire council, capture Blade and resurrect a voracious blood god.

Cast Blade

  • Wesley Snipes
  • Role: Blade
  • Stephen Dorff
  • Role: Deacon Frost
  • Kris Kristofferson
  • Role: Whistler
  • N'Bushe Wright
  • Role: Karen
  • Donal Logue
  • Role: Quinn
  • Udo Kier
  • Role: Dragonetti
  • Arly Jover
  • Role: Mercury
  • Traci Lords
  • Role: Racquel
  • Kevin Patrick Walls
  • Role: Krieger
  • Tim Guinee
  • Role: Curtis Webb
  • Sanaa Lathan
  • Role: Vanessa
  • Eric Edwards
  • Role: Pearl
  • Donna Wong
  • Role: Nurse
  • Carmen Thomas
  • Role: Senior Resident
  • Shannon Lee
  • Role: Resident
  • Kenny Johnson
  • Role: Heatseeking Dennis
  • Clint Curtis
  • Role: Creepy Morgue Guy
  • Judson Scott
  • Role: Pallantine
  • Sidney S. Liufau
  • Role: Japanese Doorman
  • Keith Leon Williams
  • Role: Kam
  • Andray Johnson
  • Role: Paramedic
  • Stephen R. Peluso
  • Role: Paramedic
  • Marcus Aurelius
  • Role: Pragmatic Policeman
  • John Enos III
  • Role: Blood Club Bouncer
  • Eboni 'Chrystal' Adams
  • Role: Martial Arts Kid
  • Lyle Conway
  • Role: Lyle Conway
  • Freeman White
  • Role: Menacing Stud
  • D.V. DeVincentis
  • Role: Vampire Underling
  • Marcus Salgado
  • Role: Frost's Goon
  • Esau McKnight Jr.
  • Role: Frost's Goon
  • Erl Van Douglas
  • Role: Von Esper
  • Matt Schulze
  • Role: Crease
  • Lennox Brown
  • Role: Pleading Goon
  • Yvette Ocampo
  • Role: Party Girl
  • Irena Stepic
  • Role: Slavic Vampire Lord
  • Jenya Lano
  • Role: Russian Woman
  • Levan Uchaneishvili
  • Role: Russian Vampire
  • Richard 'Dr.' Baily
  • Role: Cardboard cut-out in Subway (uncredited)
  • Nikki DiSanto
  • Role: Vampire Victim (uncredited)
  • Ryan Glorioso
  • Role: Blood Bath Vampire (uncredited)
  • Jeff Imada
  • Role: Henchman (uncredited)
  • Elliott James
  • Role: Blood Club (uncredited)
  • Stephen Norrington
  • Role: Vampire (uncredited)
  • Gerald Okamura
  • Role: Vampire (uncredited)
  • Frankie Ray
  • Role: Vampire Lord (uncredited)
  • Carrie Seeley
  • Role: Woman in Elevator (uncredited)
  • Beth Theriac
  • Role: Woman in Elevator (uncredited)
  • Ted King
  • Role: Vampire at rave (uncredited)

Trailer Blade

First, we examine Blade. Stephen Norrington, who came out of nowhere to direct, has made a pretty hip vampire flick. The only other significant thing this guy’s done is the creature effects in Alien 3. I suppose the overall mood, lighting, and film technique wore off on him because we see it again in Blade. That’s a good thing.

What redeems the reputation of Blade‘s production staff is most definitely its writer, David S. Goyer, who wrote the very similar Dark City. The latter was a superb alternative sci-fi with haunting visuals and futurist imagination, akin to the legendary Blade Runner. Both Dark City and Blade have similar motifs: very dark cities. The characters are all dark too, reveling in there hyper-gothic comic book world. Both of Goyer’s stories were surrealist escapades, but the latter was primarily a testosterone pleaser. So is Vampires.

These two night-stalker films intersect only by means of their subject matter.

Remote Similarities

  • guns
  • fangs
  • gore
  • a plot to render vampires omnipotent

Bluntly, Blade is a pretty good excuse for lots of pagan hypnotic dance scenes, super high-tech weaponry and gadgets, and vampire incinerations. And yet there’s something alluring about this mythical land. I suppose that’s because I’m a guy. So sue me.

Based on the comic book of the same name, Blade is the name of the lead character, played by Wesley Snipes, one bad night stalker. One hitch however: apparently, it takes one to stalk one. Snipes is half-vampire and takes morbid pleasure in igniting his own kind. Pretty cool. All these make up the basic elements for a cool guy flick though. It’s like a grown-up cops-‘n-robbers without taking itself seriously. That’s where Vampires differs.

Revealing Dissimilarities

  • Blade: comic violence detached from reality
  • Vampires: indulgent tasteless carnage
  • Blade‘s head bad guy vamp: 4’9″ Steven Dorff
  • Vampire‘s head bad guy vamp: 6’9″ Thomas Ian Griffith

Summary

Vampires (October 30, 1998)

Release Date: October 30, 1998
Starring: James Woods, Daniel Baldwin, Sheryl Lee, Thomas Ian Griffith
Genres: Action, Drama, Fantasy, Horror, Thriller, Western
Runtime: 108 min
Original Title: Vampires
Original Film Language: English
Production Companies: Columbia Pictures, Largo Entertainment, JVC Entertainment Networks, Film Office, Spooky Tooth Productions, Storm King Productions
The church enlists a team of vampire-hunters to hunt down and destroy a group of vampires searching for an ancient relic that will allow them to exist in sunlight.

Cast Vampires

  • James Woods
  • Role: Jack Crow
  • Daniel Baldwin
  • Role: Montoya
  • Sheryl Lee
  • Role: Katrina
  • Thomas Ian Griffith
  • Role: Jan Valek
  • Maximilian Schell
  • Role: Kardinal Alba
  • Tim Guinee
  • Role: Father Adam Guiteau
  • Mark Boone Junior
  • Role: Catlin
  • Gregory Sierra
  • Role: Father Giovanni
  • Cary-Hiroyuki Tagawa
  • Role: David Deyo
  • Thomas Rosales, Jr.
  • Role: Ortega
  • Clarke Coleman
  • Role: Davis
  • Mark Sivertsen
  • Role: Highway Patrolman
  • Henry Kingi
  • Role: Anthony
  • David Rowden
  • Role: Bambi
  • John Furlong
  • Role: Father Joseph Molina
  • Dennis E. Garber
  • Role: Limousine Driver
  • Troy Robinson
  • Role: Male Master #1
  • Anita Hart
  • Role: Female Master #2

Trailer Vampires

It’s a novel idea really. The Vatican is in desperate need of help with their war against the vampires’ nests. What’s that you say? “They beseech God for divine intervention?” Well, no, the second best thing I suppose: they hire crossbow-toting mercenaries. And then the fun begins. It’s like the Aliens approach to vampire slaying: go in with heavily armed guys and torch ’em all.

Vampires was based on a novel by John Steakley entitled “Vampire$” (sic) and perhaps that title explains a lot. It’s over the top in just about every way. Where Blade was clearly a new generation of vampire, Vampires is a rabid departure from traditional vampirism (Bram Stoker, Dracula, Anne Rice, and the likes). Says Woods’ character the hero slayer, “Forget about these faggy Euro-trash vampires. That’s just Hollywood.”

On top of all this mess is a very thick film of cheese. Our villain is this huge Marilyn Manson look-a-like who’s cool at first, but then some of his attacks on the good guys turn into a life-sized scene straight from MTV’s Celebrity Death Match. Eechhht. And then there’s the Jerry Bruckheimerish Con Air carbon copies — not just once, but twice! — of the bad-dudes-makin-a-prison-break scene (you know, where they’re all walking along the horizon toward the camera?). Then I couldn’t decide which of Mr. Woods’ sidekicks bugged me the most: Daniel Baldwin (Alec sound-alike) or the newby priest who trades his collar for a shotgun.

I’m fairly convinced that Vampires looked much better on paper. Blade won this battle, hands down.

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