Thursday, August 16, 2012


On Vampyres and Other Symptoms (2011) (1st viewing) d. Novis, Celia

Is it a documentary? Is it an art house pic? Is it a portrait of an artist in his sunset years? Is it a commission from the Sitges Film Festival on one of their own? Is it a tribute to a relatively obscure horror director (Jose Ramon Larraz) known primarily for making one of the worthier lesbian bloodsucker pictures (Vampyres, 1975)? Does it feature shots of that film’s nubile stars, Anulka Dubinska and Marianne Morris, now 35 years older, inexplicably running down hotel hallways? Does it feature stark black and white comic book panels depicting Larraz meeting famed director Josef von Sternberg in his youth, a chance encounter that led to the former becoming a filmmaker himself? Does it culminate with Larraz receiving a lifetime achievement award at Sitges? The answer to all of these questions is “yes,” and yet, perhaps because of that, the end result seems to obscure as much about its subject as it reveals. While Novis’ unconventional approach deserves merit for its own sake, one cannot help but feel that the full story has been left untold or that, maybe, just maybe, a man with only two significant international credits (1974’s lesser known Symptoms) wasn’t much of a documentary subject.


  1. You didn't understand anything about the film...