Inspired by the cult 1980’s video game, the nostalgic tribute to creature features from the 1950's, IT CAME FROM THE DESERT, will make its Texas premiere on Wednesday, May 23 at Flix Brewhouse. It features rival motocross heroes and heroines, kegger parties in the desert, secret underground military bases, romantic insecurities... and of course giant ants.
As we count down the days until the special screening of IT CAME FROM THE DESERT, some of the Other Worlds staff will present their favorite films based on an original video game. Next up, Other Worlds Founder Bears Fonte fights for the honor of BLOODRAYNE.
There are guilty pleasures and then there are Uwe Boll movies. For some reason, in the aughts Boll became the defacto go-to for video game film adaptations, having done pretty terrible film versions of HOUSE OF THE DEAD and ALONE IN THE DARK. Notwithstanding, I will argue to the end of my days how fricking bat-shit awesome BLOODRAYNE is.
A little admission first. I am not a gamer. I never really have been. I had an Atari 2600 and solved E.T., and I had a Commodore 64 which I used primarily to play Dungeon and Dragons and strip poker… waiting for 320x200 pixel graphics to load line by line. By the time I hit college, I was only playing sports games and, even worse, statistical simulators where the computer would play a season of baseball while I watched.
I walked into BLOODRAYNE not even knowing it was a video game film. I had seen Kristanna Loken on the poster with her twin forearm machete blades, and I had to see that. Loken plays the title character, a dhampir, which is a half-human/half-vampire hybrid who does not thirst for human blood. She joins the Brimstone Society, a secret group dedicated to killing vampires, and seeks to destroy her father, Oscar-winning actor Ben Kingsley. Oh yeah, Ghandi is in this film, as is Michelle Rodriguez and paid-in-whiskey Michael Madsen. And EDDIE-AND-THE-CRUSIERS Michael Pare, Billy Zane, and Udo Kier, and Meatloaf. It even had a script from AMERICAN PSYCHO screenwriter Guinevere Turner.
But Boll is King Midas in reverse and as the Hollies song goes, all he touches turns to shit. The film was nominated for six Golden Raspberry Awards: Worst Picture, Worst Actress (Kristanna Loken), Worst Supporting Actor (Ben Kingsley), Worst Supporting Actress (Michelle Rodriguez), Worst Director, and Worst Screenplay. On Rotten Tomatoes it has a rating of only 4%. Slant magazine summed up the film with, “Less pleasurable than the throbbing bladder pain begat by too much movie theater soda, BLOODRAYNE ably continues Uwe Boll's indisputable reign as the worst filmmaker on the planet.”
Obviously, they are wrong. At least when it comes to Loken. I sat in the packed house (yes! It was actually shown at a prominent local film festival), mesmerized by Loken’s presence. The perfect combination of sexy and bad-ass, slightly above it all and torn by inner demons (or vampires I guess), I would be lying if I didn’t admit I sort of wanted to be her. And honestly, every protagonist I’ve written in my own scripts I trace back directly to Bloodrayne. I mean, maybe not intentionally, but there it is.
I couldn’t understand, after the screening (and in years following), why everyone else had a different viewing experience than I did. I’ll admit the film is a bit hokey at times, and most of the name actors are clearly going through the motions, and the script feels like a 1st draft, and the fight sequences have been cut together to hide the fact that no one had bothered to teach the actors any fight choreography, but Kristanna Loken rises above it all. She kicks ass, does cirque du soleil-type acrobatics and delivers such heartfelt dialogue as ‘I care not for the world’ with as much presence as can be hoped.
I even bought the video game after seeing the movie. I can’t remember playing it too much, and by the time they made the sequel, Kristanna was on to better things (like THE L-WORD – Kristanna is a very public bisexual), so I never saw it. Also, they apparently closed the tax loophole in Germany that allowed Boll to keep making movies that lose money… But I’ll always have BLOODRAYNE.