“That is the Tarantino movie that Tarantino didn’t direct.”
So says Mark Terry of his Grindhouse motion horror film Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter, a function principally shot on gritty Tremendous 16mm and boasting “hardcore stunts, hardcore stunts, distinctive vampire lore, nudity, and unprecedented vampire killings.” Tarantino could disagree (or could also be too busy engaged on what’s regarded as his closing movie), however Terry is assured that if he “had a time machine and will present it to him within the Nineteen Seventies, he would completely find it irresistible.”
Because the title suggests, Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter — promoting on the AFM — entails a samurai-sword-wielding priest (performed by B-movie legend Tim Thomerson) and is ready in a world wherein vampires have, in line with Terry, “form of changed into crack addicts” and mutated attributable to all the assorted kinds of drinks, medication and STD-infected blood they’ve been feeding on through the years. Among the many various assortment of blood-suckers are extra conventional vampires, but additionally those that can fortunately stroll within the solar and police vampires with mouths of their arms. As a result of why not? Within the movie, the gray-haired Samurai Priest is chasing a clique of vampires in search of untainted blood.
Whereas this will likely all sound distinctly new and distinctive to part-time horror followers, aficionados of the style could really feel a quite robust sense of deja vu. They usually’d be onto one thing.
In one thing of an fascinating twist, Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter has prolonged household ties to a different movie, 2009’s Stay Evil, which Terry produced (and owns the copyright to). Though the movie was launched on VOD by Warner Bros, Terry claims that this model was a “tough minimize,” solely in commonplace definition and never the form of completed product he hoped for (“I’m kinda shocked it handed high quality management,” he admits). Hoping to return to the function round 10 years later and with new concepts, he had the whole thing of Stay Evil painstakingly digitally scanned and claims that in doing so he realized that varied scenes — together with a few of the most vital to the story — have been extraordinarily underexposed. A few of stills have been even broken. However this offered him with a chance — one wherein he might develop the story and serve it up in an entire new inventive method.
So he went again and shot one other 20 days’ price of footage, some utilizing the unique actors and a few utilizing doubles, redoing some scenes (together with one with child vampires, this time utilizing six animatronic dolls) and filming a number of new scenes that weren’t within the unique. Maybe the largest change got here with the usage of animation, Terry selecting to border Samurai Priest as if it was all coming from a comic book ebook. Greater than 100 animated comedian ebook panels have been drawn, many used to interchange the unique — maybe faulty — footage, however then interspersed all through the film, cleverly breaking apart the live-action to information the storytelling (and infrequently with the unique remastered dialog excessive).
In all, Terry says that, though it follows a really comparable plot construction, solely “about 9 %” of Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter is equivalent to Stay Evil.
“In the event you have been to observe the unique movie, the idea of the story of the Samurai Priest could be the identical, however then there’s all of the totally different takes and totally different enhancing,” he says, likening it a bit to Sylvester Stallone’s latest re-edit of Rocky IV that didn’t change the story of the movie, simply altered sure sections, with the battle scenes recut and deleted components added again in.
Terry is eager to make it clear that Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter — a labor of affection that he’s spent the final half a decade making — isn’t merely a rebadged model of Stay Evil, an “outdated movie” that he’s “simply slapped a brand new title on,” however a “retelling… it’s just about a brand new movie.” And it was one thing he stated he needed to do “out of necessity,” as a result of — had the footage allowed him to do it — “it could have been a lot simpler for me to redo it.”
With followers of Grindhouse-style frighteners hopefully placated by this clarification and now wanting to see what Terry has accomplished with a 15-year-old movie that, for all its flaws, was truly effectively acquired again in 2009, there may be nonetheless one essential query to reply. In a cinematic world the place filmmakers are perpetually dreaming up extra elaborate and bloody deaths, precisely how “unprecedented” are the vampire killings in Samurai Priest Vampire Hunter?
Says Terry: “Properly, when a child turns right into a child vampire and Tim Thomerson walks up and cuts off the infant vampire head off together with his sword after which takes out his gun and explodes the pinnacle like a water balloon… I might say that’s fairly distinctive.”
Maybe even too distinctive for Tarantino – though let’s see what he does together with his upcoming function a couple of film critic.