Pale Blood - Pale Blood( Blu Ray & DVD) [Vinegar Syndrome - 2020]
Pale Blood is a neon edged, early 1990’s Vampire picture that slips between moodiness & camp silliness. It features lingering shots of LA night time, broodingly stilted-to-over the top acting, dripping & pouring bloody flash backs, and a soundtrack that moves between Goth punk, gloomy post-punk, and darkly simmer-if-tacky synth-to-hovering gothic choir scoring. Here from Vinegar Syndrome is a duel Blu Ray/ DVD release of this little seen film- taking in the companies normally classy new scan, and a couple of interviews with the cast/ crew.
Pale Blood was an Italian production filmed in LA, and while it was released in the year 1990 it feels very 80’s, with it’s blend of big or mullet haircuts, lots of neon licked city scape shots, and moody pouting-to-hammy heroes & villains. The film was the first feature length film from female writer/ director V.V. Dachin Hsu who was born & raised in Hong Kong, before moving to the states to study at UCLA Film School. Her only other director/ credit was 1999 family drama/ comedy Journey from the Heart- which found a Chinese granny touring around the states with her Americanized family.
Pale Blood is well enough shot- with a blend of moody & busy shots of LA, neon lit & sparse yuppie interiors, with a liberally use of trippy-to-silly slow-mo footage. The black suited, cowboy booted & mulleted Michael is not your typical Vamp- as he doesn’t kill his victims, instead just drinks what he needs. He hires bubble-yet-geeky investigator Lori to help find the killer, and along the way he takes nice-but-dim model Jenny as his thrall- and gets tangled up with sleazy ‘n’ twitchy video artists Van Vandameer- played in a wonderfully overtop manner by Wings Hauser.
Pale Blood switches between moody & stiltedness, campy and neo licked semi erotic horror, and later on more bloody, slightly deranged flash-backs/ set pieces. At points some of the more dialogue heavy scenes do drag a little, but these are often peppered unintentionally amusing acting or silly slow-mo effects, so thankful they never become too dire. On the whole the film takes an original enough twist of the whole vampire thing, and it has a great wacky what-the-hell ending.
Moving onto this duel Blu Ray & DVD release- and to start with, and as we’ve come to expect from VS, we get a nicely clear & defined scan of the film, with great vibrate colours for the neon & well balanced shadow tones. On the extras front we get two interviews- first is with the director V.V. Dachin Hsu, who has changed her name to Jenny Funk- a something, she a decidedly quirky character, and has great found-ness for the film, and she discusses each of the actors & shooting of the film. Next there’s an seven minute interview with Darcy DeMoss who played Cherry, the more street smart model friend of Jenny.
Pale Blood sits well as a more campy & neon edged counterbalance to VS other more gloomy & grim 1990’s vampire picture Night Owl- so it will certainly work as a good come down after that film. Really you know now if this is for you or not, but I found it another worthy addition to VS library of slightly skewed 1990's genre pics.Roger Batty