Bloodsucking Cinema



8-9 p.m., Friday, Oct. 26

All the usual suspects emerge from the night and from our deepest imagination to help curdle your brain in Starz's wonderfully entertaining "Bloodsucking Cinema," a documentary about horror films through the 20th century.

There's nothing really new under the moon when it comes to talking about Dracula, or vampires in general, but "Bloodsucking" is still buckets of fun. It even gets serious when it has to, just to make sure we all understand the roots of the horror genre. Not bad at all.

Lots of folks involved with making and starring in vampire moves over the past few decades are on hand to tell a tale or two: Interviewees include helmers John Landis ("Innocent Blood"), John Carpenter ("Prince of Darkness," "Vampires"), Len Wiseman ("Underworld," "Underworld: Evolution") and Joel Schumacher ("The Lost Boys"). Each has a take on theories of vampires that takes a shot at trying to understand why vampires still hold such a tight grip on our collective imagination -- one that goes way beyond the movies and that comes right out of myth and literature.

Some of the greats are discussed, too, like Christopher Lee, who was one of the brightest lights in horror films made at Hammer Studios during the 1950s and '60s. The docu also harks back to the beginnings of celluloid vampires. There is much mention of the one and only Bela Legosi, and there is a much deserved homage to F.W. Murnau's original vamp movie, "Nosferatu," probably still one of the scariest vampire movies ever made and the prototype for anything in the genre to follow.

"Bloodsucking" seems to have done its homework, digging down deep to try to explain why vamps and other creatures of the night have always fascinated us (in the movies and otherwise). Vampires, it seems, are plain sexy. They scare us, get our blood running, and in general scare us silly. As the docu says, what could be sexier?

The footage here is plentiful, the text is intelligent and, of course, the movies on display are still exciting to see. This look at a genre we all love is endlessly fascinating. As would suit a vampire, the fun never dies.

An Insight Film Studios production for Starz
Writer-director: Barry Gray
Executive producers: Christopher Black, Michael Ruggiero, Kirk Shaw, Brad McAfee
Director of photography: Todd Craddock
Editor: Andrew Notman
Music: Don MacDonald