Jazz, film, and improvised culture.
Nocturna: Vampires in NOLA
makes sense vampires are drawn to New Orleans. The city is unusually
preoccupied with its cemeteries and mausoleums. Still, you would think that
whole below-sea-level thing would complicate their undead rest, but the two
antagonistic vampire clans have found safe lairs. However, two rogue cops
intend to root out the sadistic Molderos, as long as they enjoy the protection
of their rivals by night. Of course, it gets messy when humans and vampires mingle
in screenwriter-director Buz Alexander’s Nocturna
which releases today on DVD, BluRay, and VOD from Alchemy.
Ganet is a bitter, grizzled NOPD veteran, who is less than thrilled to be
baby-sitting his new partner, the mayor’s gung ho nephew Roy Cody. There is
just no talking to the green detective when they find a so-called “Parish Kid,”
one of the waifs branded with a vampire clan’s insignia. The term comes from
the mysterious empty parish where they live, waiting to be sucked dry of blood
or turned into vampires themselves. Cody figures he march right over and give
the girl’s captors and stern talking to, but it does not work out so well for
upshot is the Molderos are out to get Ganet and Cody, so the slightly less
sinister Brisbane offers them a deal. They can crash at his crib during nights,
if they sleuth out the Moldero resting places while the sun is up. Despite his
surly attitude, Ganet seems more inclined to accept their hospitality than Cody.
Perhaps it has something to do with Lydia Sonata, who also holds a grudge
against the Molderos. She was once one of their branded possessions, but
Brisbane rescued and turned her.
Nocturna is more than a little rough
around the edges, but it combines elements of the Anne Rice and Underworld mythoi in interesting ways.
Yet, Alexander does not share their erotic or action-oriented approaches,
focusing instead on the grudges and betrayals of the respective clans and the
human interlopers. Frankly, the pseudo-triangle of Sonata, Ganet, and Brisbane
is more intriguing than you would expect, because of the supernatural implications
of the relationships in question.
Doyle and Mariana Paola Vicente actually display strong screen presences and
develop interesting chemistry together as Ganet and Sonata. Danny Agha’s
impossibly naïve Cody gets a little tiresome, but after the first act set-up,
he disappears for long stretches at a time. As the respective clan leaders,
Johnathon Schaech and Billy Blair are the sort of gothy strutting vampires we
have seen innumerable times before, but the nearly unrecognizable Estella
Warren plays the Moldero queen with a Mommie Dearest edge that is certainly
Frankly, Alexander could have used some help
coordinating his fight scenes, as well as some more convincing stunt personnel.
Nevertheless, he maintains a reasonably creepy vibe and soaks up plenty of
atmosphere from Baton Rouge and the Parishes outside New Orleans, where Nocturne was shot (we’d ordinarily
complain about the lack of jazz and zydeco on the soundtrack, but these
vampires just do not seem like the hip jazz sort of undead). It is just sort of
okay, but there have certainly been less auspicious debuts. For those who
support NOLA/Louisiana film production, Nocturna
releases today (10/6) on various home viewing formats.
Labels: DVD, Vampire films