Blood Ties

Director: Jim McBride

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl

Blood Ties Vampire hunters break into a house & stake through the heart a rather wholesome seeming mom & dad in their sleep. The hunters let the teenage son escape because, "He might fly back to the nest" leading them to the others.

Blood Ties (1991) is very low budget with, at best, mediocre acting, editing, & cinematography. It's nevertheless a grabber from the start, as it seems at once to have something a little different to say about vampires as family oriented, & vampire slayers as psycho killers, although the initial question has to be whether or not the victims of the slayings were vampires to begin with.

Harry Martin (Harley Venton), a newspaper reporter, is an honest member of a corrupt family. Eli Chelarin (Patrick Bauchau) is a super-rich corruptor & developer who railraods the poor. Harry doesn't report on the malicious doings of Eli & the rest of the family, only because they're "family."

Coming in from the cold, the teen survivor Cody (Jason London) arrives in Longbeach, having long before been instructed to seek Eli should anything happen to his parents. A naif, a good kid, Cody's about the discover the depths of corruption among his Carpathian-American relatives, a mafia-like clan, & indeed, vampires.

Blood TiesThe family realizes hunters have arisen & a new pogram is on its way. They will have to fight. And the young man who led the hunters to the "nest" has never even been informed of his heritage.

Cousin Harry befirends the lad, at the family's request, & will eventually tell him about his lineage when the time is either right, or inescapable.

The Carpathian clans are descended not from Adam & Eve, but Lilith & Asmodeus. A romance develops between Harry the well-meaning vampire & a mortal descendend of Eve named Amy (Kim Johnston-Ulrich).

Harry's interest in bland Amy, however, doesn't keep him from incestuous relations with Celia (Michelle Johnson), anotehr cousin, who is also doing her half-brother, the clan patriarch Eli.

The film, until the climax, relies more on character & its mythic ideas of the origins of vampire, not on gore, having originated as a Fox telefilm so a bit toned down. It puts off its most extreme scenes for a long while, during which time, Cody must learn his heritage; Harry has to pursue his cross-species romantic options; & the Carpathian biker gang & the older "old country" Carpathians have to unveil their needs & natures.

It's too bad the actors aren't better, but with some forgivenesses here & there, the story is decent & the long wait for the action is worthwhile, even if the whole idea of a vampire biker gang is a little too grindhouse for the context provided.

So after trying to achieve something of character & story, the pay-off is grindhouse sleeze. The clash of the Carpathians versus the vampire hunters include war-motorcycles & extreme violence.

The hunters are definitely psychopaths led by a religious freak (Bo Hopkins) with Mennonite beard, an enormous wooden spike, silver-tipped darts for crossbow, & witchburning zeal.

The conclusion is essentially a rumble & the big flaw is the fact that the vampire side of the fight never really seem stronger than the hunters, despite what's been shown & alleged about vampires up to this point.

The final revelation of animalistic capacity is not much of a climax; the encompassing "traditions" lend greater interest to the st ory. The choices made by Cody & Harry are effective, the emotional content underlying the violence making it more compelling than would otherwise have been likely.

Continue to:
Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974)

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl

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