Throughout the month of October the premium movie channel Starz has been airing their "Fear Fest." As one can guess from its name, it mainly consists of horror movies. As one must remember, Halloween is at the end of the month.
One of the other things that Fear Fest incorporates, though, is a brand new documentary entitled Bloodsucking Cinema that focuses on vampires throughout the course of cinematic history. The documentary airs as a part of Starz's Starz Inside series and is hosted by Richard Roeper.
Complete with talking heads speaking from critical, industry, and fan boy perspectives, the documentary, after a brief introduction, quickly heads back to F.W. Murnau's Nosferatu and the origins of the vampire movie. Rather than simply going through the evolution of the vampire movie from that time to this however, it jumps back and forth from modern era vampire films to the past and back again.
While this is an interesting way to tackle the topic — most documentaries would simply trace the evolution on a simple timeline rather than jumping back and forth — it becomes clear soon enough why Bloodsucking Cinema is structured in this fashion. The method of organization is necessary because the film's talking heads from the industry make up the vast majority of interviewees and they are all there, it seems, to plug their work. To put all these industry people at the back half of the documentary would make the last 30 or 40 minutes of the hour documentary one long commercial. Thus, they, and their films, must be interspersed throughout.
Even so, interesting relations are drawn from modern movies to ones from the past, such as From Dusk Till Dawn coming out of Mexican vampire movies. This sub-genre in turn came from the Spanish-language Dracula that filmed on the same set as Bela Lugosi's classic version when the Lugosi crew was at home for the night. It is in an interesting way to trace the lineage, and certainly seems valid, but it seems odd to have Cheech Marin do the heavy lifting. Cheech, while he has starred in a vampire flick, and is always great fun to watch, is not whom one thinks of when they contemplate vampire film experts.