Monday, August 23, 2010

Strange Tales: DVD Double Feature -Redemption of the Lost and Damned

Man, talk about a strange double feature! I watched two RedBox movies yesterday: Daybreakers and Wild at Heart. Well, maybe that wasn’t as strange as they might first appear since both are movies of men being trapped in darkness and unquenchable thirst and, with the help of others, get out into the light.

It’s just that in the supernatural effects-laden Daybreakers, the battle is more obvious, more visual, as in all fantasy tales. It has lots of gore but a positive message in the end.

Back in the day of Strange Tales, Weird Tales, House of Horror and other such comics, many a cautionary tale was told in dark supernatural tones – with the unrepentant and gloating getting a HORRIFIC come-uppance in the end. Well, in Daybreakers, I can only say that the filmmakers stayed true to formula.

Also of note, these guys - the Brothers Spierig - are from Australia and only did one Indy low-budget film before this. But they were SO thorough, SO willing to write and re-write their script, and able to roll with several punches – shooting in a ridiculous 40 days instead of 60 – AND were such masters of digital video effects that they PERSONALLY did 300 effects shots, that you are amazed at the quality of the film for the budget given. It was very impressive to see. It was completed on-time, under-budget and made a respectable showing at the box office. I thought they had a $80-100 million dollar budget.

Nope. They had $20 million. The Punisher had more than that!

Hats off to these two!

It has Ethan Hawke who is ALWAYS retro-cool, Sam Neil, always a thoughtful man – especially even scarier when evil - and Willem DaFoe, who plays the unforgettable auto mechanic cured of vampirism nicknamed ‘Elvis’ – yeah, I loved that, as Memphis boy.

He gets some of the best lines too: Vampire: “Who are you?” Elvis/DaFoe: “We’re the folks with the crossbows!”

But even better, near the climax, when a cure for vampirism is discovered – and a strange side-effect is ALSO discovered, DaFoe’s character says something profound. It goes something like this:

“Vamps think they own this world. They think humans have to hide from them… But that’s not true. Vampires can never survive. That’s the truth. Every day the sun comes up. “Elvis Presley once said, truth is like the sun. You can shut it out for a time, but it ain't goin’ away.”

Just try to keep that in mind folks: the truth always comes out. We tend to think otherwise, but light always conquers darkness.

It’s the cockroaches that run from the light, it’s the criminals who have to hide from the police and it’s the demons who flee from Jesus. Meek, mild and sweet Jesus terrifies the snot out of them, see Mark 5.

And if you need to know the relationship between the wicked and the righteous, just read Proverbs 28.

Be the light, not the darkness.


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