Saturday, 12 March 2011

Live Evil Review

Live Evil Review

Director:  Jay Woelfel
Writer:  Jay Woelfel
Starring:  Tim Thomerson, Mark Hengst, Asa Wallander, Lee Perkins, Ken Foree, Tiffany Shepis

The Catholic Church would be one hell of a lot cooler if more of its clergy were like Tim Thomerson's Priest character in Jay Woelfel's decidely kooky low-budget vampire flick, Live Evil. Sporting a black cowboy hat. driving like an extra from Mad Max and wielding a samurai-sword, the Priest is on a mission of revenge, tracking down a group of vampires he seems to have a personal grudge with. Now that's surely worth a visit to Sunday Mass.

Playing the role with obvious relish Thomerson simply owns the character, lending the Priest's dialogue and mannerisms just the right balance between bad-ass attitude and knowing camp.
The Priest, cool though his character certainly is, is by no means the only character of interest in Live Evil. The vamps themselves, led by Benedict (Mark Hengst) are much more than your standard Blade-style evil villain and are portrayed pretty sympathetically. This is not however at the expense of their evil nature, make no mistake these are bad to the bone predators with zero compassion or respect for human life wether it be man, woman or child.

In fact, they are much more keen to chow down on children than blood-suckers we have seen in other films. This is due to the fact that a major theme in Live Evil is the idea that in this decadent modern age we are all polluting ourselves through various means - drugs, food, disease. This makes our blood undrinkable to the vampires in this film. They need the pure stuff to survive and that is in short supply. This neat twist drives the narrative and even allows us to feel some sympathy with these outsiders who are doing their best to simply survive. It's just a shame they have to eat babies in order to do that.

This is no Anne Rice style treatise on the existential woe of the modern vampire however, there is plenty of sword swinging, car-wrecking blood spurting action and for the most part it is handled very well. The car stunts are particularly impressive for what is clearly a lower budget film and the gore effects don't disappoint either.
The film is full of familiar faces including Thomerson of course but also genre favourites Lee Perkins (Slime City Massacre, Katiebird: Certifiable Crazy Person), Tiffany Shepis (Night of the Demons, It Waits) and the great Ken Foree (Dawn of the Dead). This lends the film a sort of oddball seal of approval and it is clear that all involved are doing it for the love of the material.

This sort of material however is very much a genre-fan's domain and Live Evil is unlikely to receive real mainstream appreciation. Many will see this as being to the films credit however as its unique blend of references, innnovations and offbeat sense of humour will charm the pants off of the true horror fans out there.


1 comment:

  1. I thought you'd started reviewing LP's and came here thinking I'd be reading about Iommi and the gang.
    However, I now have a new film to watch.