Queen of Blood
Although best known as Fangoria’s Editor-in-Chief, Chris Alexander has now turned out a pair of quietly unnerving and thoughtful horror films of his own over the past couple of years. Queen of Blood – a follow-up to Alexander’s previous film Blood for Irina – is a minimalist, slow burning, ultra-low-budget vampire yarn that owes more to Michael Snow, Andy Warhol, and Ingmar Bergman than the Cravens and Carpenters of the horror world. Most importantly aside from being artful, Alexander’s work overcomes a cheap aesthetic to actually feel like something potentially dangerous instead of a tossed off backyard production.
Reborn emerging from the river in a rural community, vampire Irina (Shauna Henry) begins laying waste to those around her in an attempt to claim an unborn child as her own. Hot on her trail is an unethical vampire slayer (played by Skinny Puppy’s Nivek Ogre).
It’s simple, methodical, and driven almost entirely through movement and music. Outside of a few screams and muttered grunts, there’s no dialogue at all. And while Alexander might be spending a bit too much time taking in the scenery around him instead of getting on with the story (and occasionally abusing slow motion), he’s firmly in control of his material. The audience never knows where the film will head, but there’s always a firm sense that the film and actors know precisely where they need to go with the story. There’s an industrial quality to the film’s composition, pacing, and cinematography that serves the material well.
It certainly won’t be to everyone’s tastes, and the conclusion is kind of a let down, but those who can place themselves on Alexander’s wavelength should be pleasantly surprised. (Andrew Parker)
Saturday, November 29th, 4:00pm, Carlton Cinema