Vampire Stories That Are More Romantic Than Twilight

Vampires are one of the most iconic figures in the horror realm and whether they’re showing off their bloodsucking prowess on film, on TV or in literature they’ve always been the popular subject matter for many writers and filmmakers who are keen to show audiences their softer sides.

There has always been a certain alluring amorousness surrounding these vampiric figures and when fiction author Stephanie Meyer unleashed her ‘Twilight’ franchise onto the world we were introduced to a whole new level of undead loving.

But whilst fans of the series still mourn the absence of Edward and Bella in their lives you may be surprised to discover that there are still plenty of other romance-filled vampire experiences out there to have.

THE VAMPIRE DIARIES

This popular TV series has been the perfect alternative for lovelorn teenagers ever since the demise of the ‘Twilight’ saga.

The show is now in the middle of its 8th season and still going strong. There’s plenty of action and twists and turns throughout the series which has helped keep its characters interesting and flip-flopping each and every season. At the heart of the series is a trio of characters all mixed up in an enviable love triangle which includes two brothers who just happen to be vampires. The show itself is based on the popular series of books of the same name penned by L.J. Smith.

LET THE RIGHT ONE IN

This unique entry deals with love in a very different way and is an expertly crafted horror film where the characters and interactions are the key to the whole experience more so than the premise.

This beautiful and memorable romantic horror movie exported from Sweden has already had the US remake treatment however it’s the original that managed to expertly provide a special story of childhood romance blossoming between a young boy named Oskar and his strange nocturnal neighbour who turns out to be a bloodsucker.

THIRST

This South Korean offering revolves around a Catholic priest who ends up turning into a vampire following a failed medical experiment when a potential procedure to help eradicate a known virus results in the priest receiving a transfusion of vampire blood.

There’s plenty of passion and lust on show here and it’s cleverly weaved in around the themes of vampirism. It features a love triangle between the main characters and sticks with you long after the credits roll.

BUFFY THE VAMPIRE SLAYER

Whilst fictional vampires were the perfect fodder years back in order to scare audiences they have very much become a once classic Hollywood type monster that has gone through a number of significant changes over the years.

Now even games such as Immortal Romance are being influenced by these monsters newly found romantic side. But even back in 1997 there were even complicated romantic entanglements occurring around vampires on the small screen.

In Joss Whedon’s highly influential supernatural drama series ‘Buffy the Vampire Slayer’ there was plenty of loving, especially with so much teenage angst and hormones thrown into the mix.

So when a vampire slayer falls in love with a vampire there’s bound to be plenty of moral issues raised. With such a mixed relationship things obviously don’t run as smoothly as they would hope but we won’t spoil it for you. Buffy however is a great choice for those looking to tackle a weekend of box sets.

 

Blu-ray Review “The Twilight Samurai (2002)”

Starring: Rye Miyazawa, Ren Ohsugi, Mitsuru Fukikoshi, Hirouki Sanada, Nenji Kobayashi
Directed By: Yoji Yamada
Distributed by: Twilight Time
Run Time: 129 minutes
MPAA Rating: Not Rated
Release Date: November 11, 2014

Film: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Blu-ray: 4 out of 5 stars
Extras: 1.5 out of 5 stars

“The Twilight Samurai” was nominated for the Academy Award, Best Foreign Language Film back in 2002. It didn’t win but it did end up winning 12 Japanese Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay. It deserves the praise cause it is a fantastic samurai period film. Star Hirouki Sanada has since gone on to big things in the U.S. as well including “The Wolverine” and “47 Ronin”. This Blu-ray release is an Screen Archives Entertainment Exclusive and is a Limited Edition release with only 3000 copies produced. So if you are a fan, get it quick before they sell out.

Official Premise: The Twilight Samurai (2002) is a contemplative character study of Seibei (Hiroyuki Sanada), a traditional samurai reduced—in a rapidly modernizing Japan—to working as an accountant. A widower, Seibei has to care for his senile mother and his two young daughters; his financial problems are so severe that he finally, humiliatingly, must pawn his sword. And then, his clan comes to him with one last job. Directed by veteran Yoji Yamada, best known for helming Japan’s beloved “Tora-san” films.

Twilight Time is releasing this film on a region free Blu-ray disc. The 1080p transfer is solid and really looks solid. There is only a Japanese audio DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 track included. The special features include an Isolated Score Track in DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 by Isao Tomita (“Zatoichi”). Lastly there are the film’s Original Theatrical Trailers. Also like with all of Twilight Time’s releases be sure to enjoy the extensive Julie Kirgo liner notes included to enjoy. I just wish there was a little more here in the extras department.

DVD Review “The Twilight Zone: The Essential Episodes”

Starring: Rod Serling, William Shatner, Burgess Meridith, Bill Mumy
Directed by: Ida Lupino, James Daly, Douglas Heyes
Not Rated
Studio: Image Entertainment
Release date: July 4, 2014
Running time: 425 mins

Episodes: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

In what is being touted as a 55th Anniversary Edition (the show began in 1959), Image Entertainment has released a collection of seventeen of the best and most memorable episodes of the ground breaking television series “The Twilight Zone.”

Conceived by the great Rod Serling, “The Twilight Zone” was one of the first television programs that not only entertained but made you think about society and the choices made by the people in that society. It was also a show about irony. A book-loving bank teller finds that the world has been altered by war and finds himself surrounded by thousands of volumes in the local library. Then he breaks his glasses. Or the seemingly sane man who sees a gremlin on the wing of the plane he’s currently flying on. Or the man who goes for a walk in his old home town and discovers that, in the Twilight Zone, you CAN go home again.

Among the classic episodes included here include the three referenced above (“Tme Enough At Last,” “Nightmare at 20,000 Feet” and “Walking Distance.”) Other popular episodes in this collection include “To Serve Man,” “The Masks” and “The Monsters Are Due On Maple Street.” These episodes also boast casts made up of some of the most popular actors of the era (or those that would go on to be) including Shatner, Meridith, Ron Howard, Gig Young, John Carradine and Cloris Leachman.

These seventeen shows are a fine way to start your collection if you’re a “Twilight Zone” fan and a great way to discover one of the best shows ever put on television if you’re not.

DVD Review “The Twilight Zone: The Complete Series”

Actors: Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Hopper, Bill Bixby, Leonard Nimoy, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Telly Savalas, William Shatner
Created by: Rod Serling
Number of discs: 25
Rated: Unrated
Studio: IMAGE ENTERTAINMENT
DVD Release Date: November 19, 2013
Run Time: 4524 minutes

Series: 5 out of 5 stars
Extras: N/A

Who doesn’t love “The Twilight Zone”? I have been obsessed with this show since I was a little kid and I used to watch it whenever I could catch it. Growing up I used to watch endlessly for hours on Fourth of July and Christmas Eve on Sci-Fi Channel (now Syfy). One year for Christmas many years ago, I received “The Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Edition” DVD box set, which included all the episodes and tons of great special features. It was a dream release for fans of the show and it has been out of print for some time. This latest release of “The Complete Series” does come with all 156 Episodes of Rod Serling’s classic TV series but unfortunately does not have any of those special features included. I recommend this set for anyone looking to get the complete series of this amazing show at a good price and doesn’t mind no special features. Of course if you owned the previously released DVD box set, “The Twilight Zone: The Complete Definitive Edition” then this release is not for you.

Official Premise: All 156 episodes of Rod Serling’s classic, groundbreaking series in one special box set! Travel to another dimension of sight and sound again and again. The series cast includes Rod Serling, Art Carney, Burgess Meredith, Cliff Robertson, Dennis Hopper, Bill Bixby, Leonard Nimoy, Burt Reynolds, Don Rickles, Jack Klugman, Robert Redford, Lee Marvin, Martin Landau, Telly Savalas, William Shatner and many more!

“The Twilight Zone” premiered over 50 years ago and yet it still remains television’s most treasured anthology program ever produced. Rod Serling was such a brilliant mind and created one of the best TV shows ever. This show is so timeless and I find that I am able to re-watch and re-watch these episodes over and over and never get tired of them. I am looking forward to introducing my daughter to this show as she grows up (but right now she is only 18 months, so we have a while to go) but that is why a release like this is worth checking out. A lot of people are buzzing that since this doesn’t include the extras from The Complete Definitive Edition but for those that don’t care, this is definitely worth the cheap price. Of course, watching these episodes on Blu-ray is the best way to go but the DVD still looks quite amazing (as it always has), thanks to Image’s TLC for these great shows.

Film Review “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part II”

Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson and Taylor Lautner
Directed by: Bill Condon
Rated: PG 13
Running time: 1 hour 55 minutes
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 2 out of 5 stars

It’s over. Finally. The epic vampire meets girl, girl meets vampire, wolf-boy takes his shirt off a lot adventures known as “The Twilight Saga” has reached its end with “Breaking Dawn: Part II.”

For those of you that may have missed the story: Bella (Stewart) is a high school girl living in a remote town in Washington state. One day she catches the attention of Edward Cullen (Pattinson), whose skin is pretty pale, even for someone living in the Pacific Northwest. Bella also has a friend, Jacob, (Lautner) who would like to be more than friends. Seems Edward is a vampire, Jacob a wolf and Bella confused. After four films and a lot of bad special effects, featuring characters running fast and turning into wolves, Bella and Edward are married and Bella has a bun in the oven. Because the baby is half vampire Bella has some complications during birth. In order to save her Edward turns Bella into a vampire. I’ve just save you 490 minutes of your life.

As “BD:II” begins, it’s been a few days since Bella gave birth. Still unsure if she can control her newfound blood lust, her family has kept her from seeing her baby daughter, named Renesmee. To ease her hunger Bella has taken to chasing down deer in the woods as well as well as other forest creatures. But what should be a happy time turns downright tragic when the Volturi, one of the lead groups of vampires, learns of Renesmee’s existence and believes, incorrectly, that the baby has been turned into a vampire the old fashioned way. Joined by vampires sympathetic to their cause, the Cullen clan gathers themselves for what could be one hell of a battle.

There are so many things wrong with this film that I’m not sure where to start. Actually, I do. What may have been an engrossing series of novels is really reduced to scene after scene after scene of bad clichés, including making sure that the vampires from Ireland have red hair and freckles. Too bad they couldn’t make them drunks as well. The special effects (moving along quickly, transforming into wolves) are horribly rendered. You would think for a film series that has grossed over a billion dollars that they could have found a decent special effects house by now. But the biggest problem is Renesmee. No, not her name (when Jacob calls the child “Nessie” Bella is outraged – “You nicknamed my daughter after the Loch Ness Monster?”). For reasons I haven’t yet figured out the production appears to have gone to a CGI baby and youngster to stand in for Renesmee. With its creepy facial features and dark eyes the baby looks nothing like her supposed mom and dad. As the child gets older her face begins to take on hard angles that makes her look like older but, again, computerized. I may not be a doctor but believe me there is no way that Stewart and Pattinson would ever produce a baby this ugly.

Finally, a word of warning to parents with younger children. Somehow this film managed to obtain a PG 13 rating despite featuring no less than a dozen incidents of people having their heads violently ripped off. Maybe the ratings board feels that vampires aren’t really people so it doesn’t matter what happens to them. Some of the younger girls in the screening I attended were visibly upset by the on screen images so use your judgement.

Interview with The Twilight Saga’s Booboo Stewart

Booboo Stewart is known best for his role of Seth Clearwater in “The Twilight Saga”.  He is co-starring in the final installment of the series “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 2” this November.  Booboo took out some time to sit down with Media Mikes during his press tour for “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 1” Blu-ray and chatted about his role in the series and what else he has planned upcoming.

Mike Gencarelli: What would you say has been the coolest thing that has happened to you since joining “The Twilight Saga”?
Booboo Stewart: Well there has been some really cool things…but I think the best part has been the fans.  They make you these really cool handmade bracelets and in my room, my mom put these hooks up and I’ve got a bunch of them.  Fans are able to send them to me via my PO Box and I’ll wear them in magazines and stuff like that.  They are able to see me wearing them and I think that is really cool.

MG: I was watching some of the special features on the “Breaking Dawn- Part 1” Blu-ray and what was you say was the most challenging aspect of that shoot?
BS: The beach scene was soooooo cold.  Everyone was wearing these huge jackets and I was sitting there with my shirt off freezing.  I remember that any of the shots that were above my waist, I had blankets, sweatpants, shoes…it was freezing.

MG: What can we expect from “Breaking Dawn- Part 2”?
BS: I can’t give too much away obvious, even though its a book and all.  You get to meet a lot of new characters in the second movie.  During filming actually, it very hard to tell who was in which film.  I can’t imagine for the AD and makeup people trying to figure out who was who.  There were so many cast members on set at the same time, since they were filming two movies.

MG: “Breaking Dawn- Part 2” looks to amp up the action from “Part 1”, how was the production?
BS: Since I starting with “Eclipse”, I think just having the different directors on set changes the whole vibe.  For the short time I was there for “Eclipse”, David Slade was very technical and he knew what he wanted.  When I got to work with Bill Condon, I worked with him a lot more and more personally as well.  He was more of an actor’s director.  He would talk to you and figure out what you are thinking in a scene and what you character was going through.  This was also with everyone, didn’t matter the size of your role.  So that was really different.

MG: Besides acting you also take roles in stunts and composing, tell us about that side?
BS: I have been involved with music since I started out.  Music is a really cool thing to record.  I think it is really fun and I figure I am in the movie, so why not do a song or something [laughs].

MG: You also created and illustrated the comic book “Millennium Man”, tell us about that?
BS: I love comic books and I love drawing.  I am drawing right now, as you can see.  I created this character a really long time about called “Millennium Man”.  He uses electrical force as his power. It is cool to see an idea that I had come to paper.  We will see what happens with it. Right now it is still being developed.

MG: How did you prepare for your role in the new film “White Frog”?
BS: I play a character named Nick Young who has Aspergers, which is a a form of autism. It was the most intense thing I have ever done but it was also the most fun I have every had. I was able to be very close with every crew member.   I am happy to get a chance to play a different character and not just playing the same ones every time.  Acting is fun because you get to play different characters. I did a lot of research by watching YouTube videos. I tried to get characteristics but everyone with Aspergers is so different.  Some can mild, some can be severe and there can be a mild case and severe case in one person. It was definitely challenging but also very rewarding.

Blu-ray Review “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part I”

Directed by : Bill Condon
Starring: Kristen Stewart, Robert Pattinson, Taylor Lautner
MPAA Rating: PG-13
Distributed by: Summit
Run Time: 117 minutes

Film: 2.5 out of 5 stars
Extras: 3.5 out of 5 stars

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” is the second to last film in the series.  Some people will be rejoiced to have it end and some will be mortified when it is over.  This film is honestly hard to get through, but luckily the last 15 minutes are very cool.  I have a feeling that “Breaking Dawn – Part 2” might be pretty bad ass, now that all the romance is done.  I think that they could have kept “Breaking Dawn” as one movie but I am sure it is mostly for the fans..and to make more money.  This Blu-ray release is going to be a hit for Valentine’s Day, since it is getting released perfectly in time for its fans to enjoy Bella & Edward’s wedding and honeymoon during the holiday.  Die-hard fans will obviously eat up the romance but the casual fans might want to wait till “Part 2” comes around.

If you follow “The Twilight Saga”, this is the movie that you are really waiting for the marriage of Bella and Edward and of course Bella possibly turning into a vampire.  Basically the whole film is just one long honeymoon scene followed by Bella’s pregnancy.  The birth of their child might not be as simple as it sounds as it will break the treaty with the werewolves. The Cullen’s with the help of Jacob will need to protect Bella from the werewolf pack.  But will Bella even survive this supernatural pregnancy? But of course if you read the book you know the answer to this. Also be sure to stick around through the credits to see a sneak peak in the Volturi’s role for “Part 2”.

The Blu-ray presentation is fantastic overall with its video which looks sharp especially during the battle scene at the end. The sound is honestly the best part though of the film boasting its superb 7.1 DTS-HD Master Audio track, very impressive.  The bonus features are packed and will definitely satisfy the most hard core fans.  Firstly you are able to jump immediately to your favorite scenes.  There is the Bella and Edward’s Wedding Video, which is for major fans only.  There is a great audio commentary with director Bill Condon, he really seems to be an actor’s directory and really enjoys the filming experience.  There is a super in depth 6-part “Making Of” series which takes you individually into every aspect of the film from each character to the film’s production.  It is very interesting even for non-fans.

Film Review “The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn- Part 1”

Starring:  Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart and Taylor Lautner
Directed by:  Bill Condon
Rated:  PG 13
Running time:  1 hour 57 mins
Summit Entertainment

Our Score: 3.5 out of 5 stars

It would be easy to dismiss the “Twilight” film series as nothing more than a series of chick-flicks with a few monsters thrown in for the guys.  But that would do the films a great injustice.  Yes, they ARE a series of chick-flicks with a few monsters thrown in, but when you get past the romance you have a pretty interesting story.

As the opening credits end, we are met by Jacob (Lautner), angrily running off.  Seems the mailman has brought him an invite to the wedding of the season in rustic Forks, Washington.  Jacob’s best friend, Bella (Stewart) is to be wed to tan-deprived Edward (Pattinson) and he’s not very happy with the news.  Edward himself is reluctant.  Not that he doesn’t love Bella.  It’s just that, for them to have children, it would help if she, too, became a vampire.  Despite several bad omens telling her “no,” Bella and Edward walk down the aisle, then head off on the honeymoon of a lifetime.  (I guess you could say an “after” life time).  But love is not a guarantee of happiness.

The fourth film in the popular series (with a final film coming next year), “TBD-1” is smartly directed by Bill Condon (“Gods and Monsters,” “Dreamgirls”) in a straight forward manner that keeps the film from bogging down in its last act.  Helping keep the film moving is the outstanding camera work of cinematographer Guillermo Navarro, who has shot some of Guillermo del Toro’s best work.  The story should be familiar to “Twilight” fans.  Not having read the books I don’t know if this last chapter could have been told in one film.  The final 30 mins are padded with constant shots of a weakened Bella, her swollen belly and intermittent glances from Edward and Jacob.

The cast have obviously become comfortable in their roles, yet are strong enough to not appear lazy.  With not a lot to do towards the end of the film but look worried, Pattinson and Lautner could have easily dialed their performances in.  That they didn’t is a testament to Condon’s direction.  Stewart gets the lion’s share of the dramatics here.  Carrying a demon child can’t be healthy for anyone, but it really takes its toll on Bella.  Highest marks to the make up people who turned the vibrant Stewart into a sickly, emaciated martyr-to-be.  Both male leads are also comfortable in their skins, though it would be nice if Lautner didn’t squint so much.  Speaking of skins, I’m not sure what the over/under was in Vegas but it takes approximately eight seconds into the film before Lautner takes his shirt off.  The supporting cast earns their pay.  It is their story that is the most interesting, especially the blood-sucking Cullen Family.  Perhaps after the next film the producers can focus attention on them and give them their own movie.  Peter Facinelli is strong as the patriarch of the family.  In a recent interview I did with him I commented on how much I always thought he resembled Tom Cruise.  Here, with his coloring and hair, he had me thinking of another vampire: Lestat from “Interview With the Vampire.” And I mean that comparison in a positive way.

The biggest disappointment to me were the visual effects used to create Jacob and his pack when they roam the woods as wolves.  They move very herky/jerky, not gracefully as they should.  It’s like the producers hired the guys that did the dogs on the top of the building in “Ghostbusters” to create the beasts.  If the comments from the fans around me are to be believed, the screenplay is very true to the book.  If you’ve read the books you are aware of the problems Bella deals with while with child.  Parents may want to think twice about bringing their younger Twi-hards or at least anticipate covering their eyes.  And please hang around during the end credits for a quick hint of “Breaking Dawn – Part 2.”

“The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1” Official Trailer


Bella and Edward, plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black.

In The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, Bella (Kristen Stewart) and Edward (Robert Pattinson), plus those they love, must deal with the chain of consequences brought on by a marriage, honeymoon, and the tumultuous birth of a child… which brings an unforeseen and shocking development for Jacob Black (Taylor Lautner).

With more of the romance, passion, intrigue and action that made Twilight, The Twilight Saga: New Moon and The Twilight Saga: Eclipse worldwide blockbusters, The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn – Part 1, based on Stephenie Meyer’s bestselling book series, begins the conclusion of the tale of vampire love, boundless friendship, acceptance, and finding your true self.

“Twilight: Breaking Dawn Part 1” hits theaters November 18th