I've been meaning for some time to post a second volume of Sci Fi Channel Movie Reviews (a page that many a random reader has come to via errant Googling). But frankly, I've been uninspired. Certainly, in the past few months there have been some golden crappy Sci Fi movies. Android Apocalypse, starring an all-growed-up Joseph Lawrence, was stupid and wonderful. The similarly alliteratively named A.I. Assault was less good but got the job done. I also finally saw Mansquito, which can only be described as a positive experience.
But the Sci Fi Channel has been phoning it in for quite some time. My main complaint is that the weekend movies aren't science fiction movies anymore. Increasingly, they're just straight-up horror movies, relying exclusively on dismemberings for their shlock value and giving no love to my inner geek. We watched The Beast of Bray Road, a movie about a werewolf. Frankenfish was about giant killer fish with a penchant for decapitation. Rest Stop (also starring Joseph Lawrence) was about a woman, who may or may not actually be in hell, being terrorized by a deranged trucker. Haunted Prison... you get the idea. These are monster/killer/ghost stories. There's no science to them at all. And this makes me sad.
Fortunately, over the weekend we watched a movie that single-handedly restored the Sci Fi Channel to its rightful place of supreme awesomeness in the department of awful science fiction movies. The movie was Bloodsuckers, and the rest of this post is teeming with spoilers.
Bloodsuckers takes place in a distant future where humans have left Earth and traversed the universe strip-mining every planet they can find. Unfortunately they've also discovered that all intelligent life elsewhere in the universe consists exclusively of various races of vampires. In order to protect mankind's interplanetary mining industry, paramilitary organizations travel from place to place hunting down and killing alien vampires. Sound awesome? It should, because it is.
The action centers around a particular crew of vampire hunters consisting of: (1) the experienced old captain who doesn't cotton much to protocol, (2) the fresh-faced first mate, fresh out of training, a stickler for the rules after being discharged from the real military under mysterious circumstances, (3) a dopey cowboy hat-wearing sonuvabich who likes shootin', (4) a butch asian woman who takes a primal joy in killing vampires, and (5) Quintana.
I mention Quintana by name because she is the lynchpin of the story. And for that, I will describe her separately.
Quintana is herself a vampire, but she hates vampires, you see, because the reason she's a vampire is that both of her
parents were attacked by vampires and turned into vampires before they conceived her. She was apparently the first being
born in such a way, and as such growing up was more of a science experiment than a childhood. Needless to say, she's got
some attitude on her. Her vampire powers include:
-Being able to sense the presence of other vampires.
-Being able to talk to any vampire in any vampire language.
-Wearing revealing vinyl outfits regardless of the occasion.
-Making people have sex in their own minds with whomever they want.
-Being extraordinarily attractive.
I identify Quintana as the lynchpin of the film not because the plot revolves around her, but because without this crucial ancillary element the film would not be worth watching.
Here are the basic plot points, which should reveal the awesomeness of the movie:
At the site of the distress signal, strewn with human corpses in various stages of eaten-ness, Quintana uses her vampire powers to discern that they're dealing with "Leatherfaces," which are vampires that are less intelligent, also extremely violent, can be killed by long-range bullets, and travel in very large groups. The crew saves a lone hot blonde survivor and Cap'n is engulfed by Leatherfaces (vampires wearing masks made of stitched-together skin) Dawn of the Dead-style. Freshface insists that they leave Cap'n behind because there's no way to save him, and the survivors escape over the strenuous objections of Butch and Cowboyhat. At this point, Dr. M says, "The captain is going to become the leader of the Leatherfaces."
Back on the ship, Butch and Cowboyhat are furious at Freshface, who under the rules of the organization is now Cap'n pro tem. They stop at some sort of Mos Eisleyish spaceport for drinks and Butch and Cowboyhat announce that they're quitting. Only Cap'n prevents them from going anywhere somehow and tells them that he'll let them quit if they stick around long enough to fill out the rest of the movie (basically). He also tells them that every mean thing they say to Quintana (they hate her because she's a vampire, or "Bloodsucker") will extend their impressment by an extra day. The same goes for Quintana.
Back on the ship, they receive another distress signal that's identical to the one they responded to previously, this time coming from Mos Eisley. They return to the port and Quintana can't figure out what kind of vampires they're dealing with. They find a vampire and kill it, and then several giant fangy larvae-things start spewing from his chest (did I mention how wonderfully derivative this movie is?). Quintana explains that the vampire is parasitic (the dude they killed was the host, not the vampire), which is why she was having trouble identifying it. They kill the larvae by electrocuting them with stun guns (if you're ever in a bad science fiction movie, remember: electricity kills everything). Quintana insists that they leave one alive so she can talk to it. She grabs the last vamparisite and converses with it in a made-up vampire language. The vamparasite is basically Triumph the Insult Comic Dog as a slimy alien. At this point Cowboyhat has a flashback and we learn that (surprise) he witnessed his parents get killed by vampires as a child while his dad was wearing the cowboy hat. In a fit of rage he kills Triumph, and Cowboyhat and Quintana get into a fight.
Over the next few scenes we learn that a group of humans who oppose Earth's campaign of rape-mining other planets (led by the hot blonde that the crew rescued and left at Mos Eisley) have teamed up with a group of Vorhees led by the brother of the guy that Cap'n killed to lure the crew into some kind of trap whereby the Vorhees leader can avenge his brother's death and the rogue humans can advance their agenda somehow. They orchestrated the previous two massacres and distress signals, which is why they were identical. This is reminiscent of Starship Troopers, where the story introduces the idea that humans may be partially to blame for the soulless aliens wanting to kill them, but doesn't allow this fact to meaningfully decrease the extent to which the humans are entitled to kill the aliens.
Anyway, the crew pieces this together and decides to go off in search of the rogue humans and vampires. On their way to the planet where the big climactic battle will take place, Quintana offers to bang Freshface. Freshface refuses because apparently female vampires "go all black widow" when they have sex. Quintana explains that she wants to have vampire sex with him, which basically consists of Quintana sitting across the room from Freshface and causing him to have an extremely realistic fantasy about having sex with his wife, who is dead in real life. Butch overhears Freshface's moans of pleasure in a very "Three's Company" way and becomes upset (later, Freshface explains to Butch that he wasn't having actual sex with Quintana, and suggests that Butch ask Quintana to mind-bang her).
Once they get to the planet, they become surrounded by vampires and Freshface surrenders to the vampires and humans while the others stay behind. He meets Brother, who introduces him to... Vampire Cap'n! Apparently Cap'n's run-in with the Leatherfaces resulted in him becoming a Vorhees, an inconsistency which the movie makes no attempt to explain. Vampire Cap'n and Brother explain that what Brother wants to do is learn human ingenuity from humans before wiping them out forever, and Vampire Cap'n explains that if Freshface helps them they'll turn him into a vampire, which he assures him will be totally awesome. Freshface, not surprisingly, refuses, and Brother orders Vampire Cap'n to fight Freshface to the death. The hot blonde objects and Brother kills her, prompting the other rogue humans to surreptitiously escape by slowly walking en masse through a throng of vampires who all have their eyes wide open. Way to go, guys.
As Vampire Cap'n kicks Freshface's ass, the rogue humans retrieve the rest of the crew, who show up and kill all the vampires. The well-choreographed fight distracts Vampire Cap'n long enough for Freshface to shove a shard of broken glass into his heart. Just before Vampire Cap'n dies, the two characters have a brief conversations that any observant viewer could have written themselves, word for word, ten minutes into the movie. Someone in the crew also kills Brother, and that takes care of that.
Back on the ship, Butch and Cowboyhat are totally into Freshface and they agree to stay on the crew forever. Everyone but Butch and Quintana leave. Butch asks Quintana if the mind-bang has to involve a real person or could it be something made up. Quintana asks what Butch has in mind and we cut to an exterior shot of the ship just as the two of them start making out. The last line of the movie is Butch saying: "Ooh, Quintana. You are good... For a bloodsucker!"
Really, what more could you ask for in a Sci Fi original movie?
Bonus casting fun facts: Bloodsuckers has two cast members (Cap'n and the Blonde) who used to be on the TV show
"Higher Ground," which is where Hayden Christensen got his start. Bloodsuckers also has two DeLuise brothers
in its cast.