Bloodlust (1992)

This semi-amateur gore / vampire / action movie from Australia seems to be an unauthorised version of Marc Behm's excellent novel The Ice Maiden. Three vampires - Lear (Jane Stuart Wallace), Frank (Kelly Chapman) and Tad (Robert James O'Neill) - prey on the clubbers of an unidentified seafront city (Melbourne, though the accents are a mixture of broad Strine and horrible mock American), and are themselves pursued by a band of stake-wielding vigilante zealots led by the manic Reverend Bem (Phil Motherwell). Before moving on, the trio resolve to rob a casino, which gets them into battles with local mobsters, as well as a pair of casually corrupt beat cops (James Young, Max Crawdaddy).

Among the drawbacks imposed by the low budget is an almost complete lack of night shooting, which means these bloodsuckers do most of their killing and fighting by day. The leads are all characterless sadists, which makes it hard to sympathise with them even though they are opposed by various Troma-style pantomime corrupt authority figures. The casino robbery is reduced to a shoot-out in a small room, and the exploitative elements extend to a lengthy, irrelevant scene in which the cops detail Frank in a rubber basque for a whipping, the by-now-traditional vampire fellatio / dick-chopping gag and some indiscriminate drug use. Any flickers of entertainment provided by the appalling acting are cancelled out by the dreary script, incoherent storyline and frankly ugly visuals. The credits include an 'armourer' (John Fox) and a dedication to the Australian villain actor Frank Thring (of The Vikings), who was too ailing to play the mafia don. Directed, written and produced by Richard Wolstencroft and Jon Hewitt.

Incidentally, the packaging makes great play of this being the first Australian film to be banned in the UK; evidently, one videocassette was once seized by customs and not returned - according to the BBFC's website, it has never been submitted to them for certification and so it can hardly be counted as 'banned'. The fairly similar Reign in Darkness came out in the UK with no hassle.
KIM NEWMAN

First published in this form here.


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