True Blood

It's complicated to kill a vampire. They don't die easy. The film genre is even tougher. It didn't die when Katherine Bigelow released Near Dark (screening Aug. 26) — this was before Point Break, before Blue Steel, before the Academy galas and The Hurt Locker. Near Dark actually helped the genre, if not at the box office (it bombed) but at the video market (it went cult). It's about vampires who kill people. Nor did the genre flinch when Cirio H. Santiago released Vampire Hookers in '78 (screening tonight), and for good reason: It's called Vampire Hookers, John Carradine plays a vampire pimp, it's completely crazy, and it has a 10-minute orgy scene. It's also about vampires who kill people. The series Dark in August: Rare Vampire Films closes with screenings of a classic (Aug. 28 and 29) that could be responsible for the genre's resilience, at least until everyone associated with the film died. At the premiere of Carl Theodore Dreyer's Vampyr (vampires who kill people), the audience booed, because it was 1932. The critical reception went down from there. But Vampyr rose — Vampyr is undead — and it's now held up, like a flagon of delicious blood, as one of the greatest vampire films ever made.
Aug. 26-29, 2010

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