Cup of My Blood

CUP OF MY BLOOD. 2005

Director: Lance Catania

Reviewed by Paghat the Ratgirl



From the title I'd expected a vampire film, but Cup of My Blood is a horror story about the Holy Grail.

There have been a long succession of grail protectors, we're informed, & those of the past appear at points in the film as eerie phantoms, frightful but helpful since they are guardians of the present generation's grail-protector. There is a war being waged all around us between Heaven & Hell, unbeknownst to us all, with the Dark Side wanting to get possession of the grail so that demonic blood might be sipped from it, negating its power from having once held the blood of Christ.

This broad outline is an excuse for gore FX & murders, rather than a mystical fantasy. There is never any clear delineation between good & evil, everyone is out to kill everyone else to either possess or protect the Grail. Like any war, the real victims are the bystanders, & no power of good is ever expressed at any point in the film, though it is assumed that things would be even worse if the demons won the Grail. Exactly which characters are the demons & which are the agents of good is rarely clarified, since both sides of this universal battle have very little concern for individual human lives.

Though the plot makes no particular sense on a rational level, it works damned well on a symbolist level. The most mystic thing about the film is how good it comes off without trying very hard to be logical. The actors all seem to believe in what they're acting out, & there's real chemistry between them. Even those actors who deliver their lines in something of a monotone seem to lend to the style of the thing.

In between gore events, characters merely walk around their homes or apartments acting paranoid & looking out their doors or windows in a worried manner, with lots of "quiet space" with neither dialogue nor action happening. Surprisingly these silences provide some of the best moments in the film because it is just so interesting to watch these performers' faces, & the suspense of it all works best before the often silly "meaning of it all" is revealed & spoils the promising mood.

It would be easy to pick on the film both for its lapses of logic & for its pretentions. For instance, when the film gets to the point of showing us prophetic religious artwork, it's supposed to convey some degree of medieval sacred-art blended with erotica, but the artwork is so second-rate & cheesy that these props utterly destroy the mood. Fortunately these cruddy county-fair relics are not trucked out a second time.

While there's no suggestion here that Cup of My Blood raises itself very far above the level of B horror, it nevertheless succeeds at everything it attempts to do & is excellent-of-kind. It's rarely laughable, it's often suspenseful & creepy, the city of Chicago adds to the general ambience of place, the film's colorist or art designer gave it a wonderful "look" mostly in greens & reds & greys, & the imaginative sound design approaches being cool-jazz. It is in the final analysis a meritorious example of why B horror is a genre deserving its popularity.

copyright by Paghat the Ratgirl



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