Friday, November 24, 2017

Bullets, Fangs & Dinner at 8 – review

Director: Matthew Rocca

First released: 2015

Contains spoilers

Bullets, Fangs & Dinner at 8 is an ultra-low budget film that is listed as a comedy (actually, one performance has a comedic edge to it but generally I found this took itself way too seriously to be taken as a comedy) and pits Christians against vampires.

That said the majority of our vampires are not vampires at all but wannabe vampires who have gone that step too far and joined a vampire cult, whose leader just so happens to be a real vampire but the story itself starts in a church.

Joe D'Amato as Father Otto
Father Otto (Joe D'Amato) hands the pulpit (as it were) over to Assistant Pastor Steven Cooper (Matthew Rocca). He is making announcements when someone at the back of church, Johnny (Brian Patrick Butler), starts guffawing. Otto realises who it is and Johnny makes a speech about being cast out (we later discover that he is gay) and finding a new family. He produces a gun and starts shooting, aiming to create a massacre (with unconvincing cgi blood). A couple of Christian gunmen enter to try and save the situation. They get Otto out but it turns out that Steven is in cahoots and has fangs… yes, he is the bad vampire boss.

Garrett Schweighauser as Michael
Eleven months later and Michael (Garrett Schweighauser) leads an assault on an S&M club that is a vampire hang-out. We get a vague background of the police not taking the vampire threat seriously, kidnapped Christians and vigilante gunmen doing the “Lord’s work”. Michael knows who the boss is, and wants to expose him. Steven knows that Michael is a vigilante vampire killer and wishes to kill him. It all heads to a showdown (an hour before a dinner party that Steven throws). Innocent bystander Vivian (Eva Rocca) gets drawn into the fray.

fangs on show
It is all a little too over the top, to a degree, as one feels that the body count would have attracted a high level of police involvement (Michael slaughters a club full of people, for instance, and Christians are going missing all over the show). As a comedy this probably is less problematic but, as I say, the film seemed to take itself too seriously to be classed as a comedy. The exception was the character of Steven (who is unravelling and may be suffering from a vampiric form of dementia) where Rocca instilled the performance with some genuine comedic chops.

cgi blood
There is a correlation of vampires and rabies as Steven infects some with rabies to use as monstrous enforcers. This was probably played as a comedic aspect but failed to be funny. Generally there was very little in the way of lore in the film, though we know Steven uses an umbrella as a sun shade when out during the day. The thing I did like, however, was the fact that there was little in the way of good guys with the Christian warrior happy to lie and murder as he went on his crusade. The cinematography is amateurish (one shot places the primary actors in front of the sun to nicely obscure them in shot, for instance), the use of cgi blood done, I suspect, for expediency and to protect the cleanliness of the borrowed sets but failing next to the practical effect blood used on occasion.

I struggled with this one, to be honest. 2.5 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.

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