Welcome to another Tuesday review. Although it’s slightly belated, given now that it is in fact Wednesday, it happens to time perfectly for a chance for me to say “Happy Birthday” to our wonderful Founder.
And so we begin this review, and of both celebrations and commiserations. The Light and the Dark of MNFC.
In addition to Our Founder’s birthday, we also have the celebration of our first trip up to Leyton and the home of Comrade Matt, who hosted a brilliant night, complete with Moroccan Lamb Stew and the best couscous North London has to offer! It was a welcome return for Matt in the position of dictator; known for his excellent film choices and certainly tonight didn’t disappoint.
Which brings us to the Dark Side. With full bellies and the warm summer evening, things turned to the occult in an unexpected foray outside of the MNFC Demonocracy, and the brilliant What We Do in the Shadows. However, the night had already been full of dark omens prior to this. As the sun set, conversation had already turned to our new UK government, and the predicted apocalypse that would befall health, education, social care, equalities… It was fitting indeed that the day had also seen the unexpected return of Nigel Farage following his resignation; prompting the film clubbers in a coincidental comparison to Dracula, always coming back for one last bite just when you think he was all dust and ashes.
What We Do in the Shadows is a great addition to the long tradition of vampiric representations in film, and reminded me of a cross between Being Human and This is Spinal Tap; the result of which was brilliantly dark hilarity, but also with genuine frights along the way. Staring Jermaine Clement from Flight of the Conchords, it is a fly-on-the-wall mockumentary about four vampires living in modern day New Zealand and starred a brilliant ensemble cast which also included an appearance by Rhys Darby as Werewolf (not “swearwolf”) Anton.
(As promised to the film clubbers – here’s the link to the last outing of Flight of the Conchords for the New Zealand Red Nose Day Special)
Our chin stroking afterwards had me thinking about how Vampires and other occult beings continue to permeate cinema with a grand legacy going back to very early film history. There were numerous references to this in What We Do in the Shadows: from Nosferatu, Dracula and other Gothic masterpieces, to more modern takes such as Let the Right One In and Only Lovers Left Alive, and even the mainstream popcorn movies such as Blade and Twilight.
As a big fan of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and other occult TV series going back to Eerie, Indiana, True Blood, and now on to The Walking Dead; What We Do in the Shadows was right up my street. But clearly, the popularity of vampire, zombie and other monsters in mainstream culture shows that I am not alone in this, and I wonder what it is about these dark legends that provoke our collective imaginations and encourage re-tellings of the genre again and again for different times throughout the last few centuries. I suppose it appeals to our collective innate fears of the dark and the unknown. But it is also a genre that easily lends itself to different forms, whether that be for children (e.g. the Count from Sesame Street), the teenage swoons over Edward Cullen, to genuine horrors such as 30 Days of Night, or the blockbuster of I Am Legend.
If all this stirs up the night time passions of our humble reader, then perhaps we should arrange an MNFC special at Whitby’s next Goth Weekender…
And if it strikes fear to your very soul, then time to hang up the garlic, and dust off your crucifixes.
I’ll leave the final question as posed by Comrade Sam last night… would you rather be a werewolf or a vampire? Now, that is the sort of thing worth debating. Which makes me think, bringing us back to the start of this Tuesday Review, have you ever noticed that there aren’t any mirrors in the House of Commons?…
Mwah ha ha ha ha hah!
THIS IS NOT A PROPORTIONALLY REPRESENTED DEMOCRACY