werewolves vs. vampires

All posts tagged werewolves vs. vampires

Everyday Vampires

Published March 22, 2015 by vfdpixie

 

WWDITS

What We Do in the Shadows (2014, 1 hr, 26 mins)

 

What We Do in the Shadows.  Sounds really ominous, mysterious and a little intimidating, but it’s the title of a vampire “mockumentary” that was a favourite at film festivals last year, and probably one of the funniest horror-comedies I’ve seen in a long time.

A documentary crew follows the everyday lives of four vampires in Wellington, New Zealand.  The unofficial den vampire, “dandy” Viago (Taika Waititi), moderates, mediates and civilizes the others, perhaps to bring an understanding of their kind.  Deacon (Jonathan Brugh) and Vladislav (Jermaine Clement) are rougher than Viago; with Deacon who is all about rebellion, knitting and being sexy, and Vladislav, described as a “pervert”, who is in love with torture.  There is also the loner Petyr (Ben Fransham), who is probably better known as Nosferatu, lurking in the basement and barely controllable, but a flatmate all the same.  We are introduced to the challenges of vampires living in the modern age, with disgruntled familiars, clubbing, chores, wardrobe, victims and the perils of blood-stained furniture.  When fledgling vampire Nick (Cori Gonzalez-Macuer) ignores the age-old vampire code, things get messy and dangerous for the undead roomies.  Add a pack of rival werewolves, an ancient grudge, and an unholy masquerade, and you have the recipe for bloody and hilarious mayhem.

I’ve said before that I dislike horror comedies because they usually end up being stupid instead of silly, but the folks from Down Under have nailed it again.  I don’t know if it’s because of their geographical positioning that gives them such a hilarious view of the world, but whatever it is, it works.  Jermaine Clement is a multi-talented performer born and bred in New Zealand that is fast becoming a familiar name in North America.  Most would know him from his show Flight of the Concords, a great comedy series about a musical duo from New Zealand trying to make it in America.  He was also in Men in Black 3 as Boris the Animal and, in my opinion, stole the show.  His fellow Kiwi Taika Waititi has a number of director credits under his belt such as The Inbetweeners and Boy, as well as being a seasoned actor.  Here, the two friends since college have written and directed a gem of an indie film, brought over to North America with funds raised from a Kickstarter campaign.

The cast’s comedic timing, honed by years of improv, smoothed over a couple of drawn out scenes, such as Deacon consoling Nick after a loss, that could have stilted the pacing.  The fact that they were also friends outside the set conveyed an ease with the characters that made the flatmates’ relationships believable.  For a low-budget film, the makeup was also well done.  Petyr clearly wore the most special effects makeup, and there was a good balance of tongue-in-cheek and terror with his character, and the practical effects were extremely practical but they worked.  Old-school rotating room techniques and wire work gave us plenty of vampire fights and tom foolery to laugh at.

It’s nice to have an iconic horror villain like the vampire come from left field once in a while, and What We Do in the Shadows goes above and beyond to tickle even the sourest funny bone.  If and when it comes out on DVD, I will definitely be adding this to my collection!

*If you live in the Toronto area, it is still playing at the following theatres:

http://www.cinemaclock.ca/showtimes/ont/Toronto/49958/What_We_Do_in_the_Shadows.html

 

Face Off Season 6 Episode 14: Werewolves Vs. Vamps!

Published April 17, 2014 by vfdpixie

As we continued on with the cliff hanger from last week, the guys were whisked off to another location.  They were still reeling at the fact that no one was eliminated!  A first time for Face Off!

They arrived at the Court of Miracles, on the back lot of Universal Studios.  This historical set was featured in films like The House of Dracula, The Mummy and The Wolf Man.  Once again, they were met by McKenzie and yummy production designer and director Patrick Tatopoulos for the second part of their challenge:  to create the vampire’s sworn enemy-the werewolf!  This nemesis had to come from the same world as their vampires in the previous challenge, and have a newly evolved feature that would take their vampire counterpart down.  Patrick’s advice was to create uncommon designs and to remember most of all, that the werewolves and vamps had to come from the same world.  At Elimination Day, the judges would consider BOTH creations to decide on the final 3 artists for the finale.  And as an added treat, Patrick was a guest judge.

George created a vampire that mutated into a werewolf.  He got to work and was advised by Mr. Westmore to make the face look more canine.  The massive head and neck mold took its toll on him physically again, as he had some bad wrist pain.  He had a last-minute issue when he found out his model was switched, so he had to rework the mouth to fit the new model’s face.  That modification ate up his time, so he scrambled in last looks to get all the details right.  The end result was a werewolf that was definitely from the same world as his vampire.  Even though Ve pointed out the paint job was rough up close, it looked great from afar.  they liked the creature’s profile, and the elegant shape which Neville thought looked bat-like.  He liked that the skin looked unique like shark skin.  Patrick really liked the ripped flesh effect and they thought both monsters looked similar and loved the back story.

Niko’s werewolf was a warrior that used spikes from its body to slay vampires.  Mr. Westmore told him to make the mouth bigger, and Niko took his advice.  He was scared because the judges didn’t like his vampire.  The ears on his werewolf had to be patched up and that took time on the last day, but he managed to create something original.  I thought the face was weird, but the judges appreciated his concept and originality.  Although they thought the ears were too flat, they liked the profile and thought the character was captivating.  It just scraped by looking like a werewolf, and the colour scheme was too limited, but they liked how the corners of the mouth were crafted.  Ve was impressed.

Tyler was happy he had a second chance.  His werewolf was a hunter that used an extension of bones in his arms to slay vamps.  He wanted to create a werewolf in mid-transformation but Mr. Westmore warned him to make sure the features were more dog-like, and to really bring his A game or else the werewolf would look too much like a vampire.  This threw Tyler for a loop.  He had to move away from the group to focus, and Mr. Westmore and McKenzie came back to assure him he was talented and to go for it.  This gave him the confidence to carry on and with a breakthrough, he created a new face even though his was short on time.  He was certain he made the right decision.  The finished makeup was an improvement from last week.  The judges thought it was more of a traditional werewolf, and the design of the skull transitioning to a human shape was beautiful for Glenn.  Ve thought he looked like he could kick ass, and they also liked the “superb” hair work and proportion.

Rashaad had a unique werewolf concept.  he created an Asian inspired werewolf with dragon qualities because his was bitten on a fire moon.  Mr. Westmore’s only comment was to make sure it wasn’t too dark so he wouldn’t lose detail.  Rashaad wanted to have finger extensions, and used his own hands to cast a mold.  Things were going well until he tried to open the molds and the broke.  This total disaster lead him to get crafty and use latex, hot glue and paper towel to make these fingertips…sounds like my last date…I kid, people, I kid…I actually don’t know what a date is these days, but I digress…he airbrushed hair onto his werewolf to create a beautiful makeup.  The judges thought it moved well on the model’s face, and liked the lower lip, but felt the chest could have used more treatment like paint or carrying the sculptural detail from the face down.  Glenn thought it was unorthodox in a good way and original but didn’t look like it could fight its vampire counterpart.  Neville thought it was a beautiful palette and liked how the ears were positioned to imply aggression.

The guys really went for it.  During their last days creating their werewolves, they reflected on their hard work and what it took to get to this moment.  George felt they were all doing this for their families, and Rashaad pointed out how they had become a little family of their own.  I really liked how they all became friends even though it was a competition.  Talk about decent guys with mature attitudes.  Take heed future contestants!  This final group is a lesson on how to go through stressful situations with confidence minus the ego, talent and courtesy.  Just goes to show you that one doesn’t have to be a jerk to succeed!

The judges had it tough but decided on George as the winner.  He was the first pick for the finale because of his terrific concept and both makeups looked like they came from the same world.  Tyler was next up because of his rebound from last week.  They loved his beautiful sculpt, paint job and hair work.  Last but not least was Rashaad.  They thought his werewolf was interesting but it was his vampire that put him over the top.  Unfortunately, Niko didn’t make the cut.  The judges appreciated his daring ideas but it was rough around the edges.  They thought he was a great concept artist and would do well.  He left the show with more confidence, creativity and hope for his career and future.  I loved Niko, not only for his talent but because he was so freakin’ adorable, but I think the right people in are in the finale.  I keep saying this but I mean it:  I can’t wait for next week!!!

 

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