Meet Erik Sparrow. He has a cool girlfriend, but he’s not interested in marriage. He has a good job, but he’s only interested in masturbation. Erik is one lucky son of a bitch… who is about to get a whole lot luckier. Wise to his tricks, his beau hits the bricks, but two fangs in the neck later and he’s a hit in the dating pool. Meet Erik Sparrow, horror’s most likeable unlikeable vampire.
Monster Pictures, with their slime green company logo, it’s fair to say their Down-Under operation is pretty much a mixed bag when it comes to film distribution. It’s had its flairs of brilliance with Richard Bates Jr.’s Excision (2012) and the horror anthology that is The ABCs of Death (2012). And it’s had its duds, such as the odious Human Centipede II: Full Sequence (2011) and Apocalyptic (2014). The latter being a shameless copycat to far superior movie The Sacrament (2013) by Ti West. So with most recent disappointment, the utterly naff Bigfoot farce Throwback (2013) still fresh in our minds, Monster needed a win. And they found it in Onur Tukel’s Summer of Blood (2014) as it takes a bite out of the blood-soaked crown to become our pick of the week.
As much as I thoroughly loved and laughed at this movie, in horror comedy it always helps to at least try and find a healthy balance between the two genres. One good recent example of this is Kevin Smith’s Tusk (2014). Much like our hilariously indifferent protagonist, played by Blood’s own writer/director, Onur Tukel, it almost feels like they didn’t even lift a finger – or at least not the finger I’m referring to…
The first half-hour of the film is like listening to a stand-up comedian as Erik trots out his truly excellent running commentary to his bewildered audience of one, sometimes two, eventually three. And in the second half-hour as the physicality of the role increases, the movie morphs partially into an oddball sketch show format that said comedian has put together for late night TV.
That said, Tukel’s dialogue is pure apathetic gold. And his steadfastly unsympathetic character is next to impossible not to love as he offends and disgusts just about everyone and anyone unlucky enough to find themselves in his company. Again, there isn’t much here in the way of horror, despite the fangs, the spooky white eyes and torrents of blood, but what is there more than makes up for that absence.
TV shows and blockbuster franchises such as True Blood, Vampire Diaries and the Twilight Saga have beaten the whole vampire shtick to death and back so many times that it’s long past sickening. But every once in a while a movie will come along to remind us that there’s still some originality left in this classic undead creature of the night. So far this year that movie is Summer of Blood. This week’s worthy winner.
Summer of Blood is available via Monster Pictures/Fusion now.