Horror, Hip Hop, Humor and an American Idol Meld in “VAMPIRE BLUES”

File this under WTF? VAMPIRE BLUES landed on our lap recently and – loving oddball pop culture, like we do – we couldn’t help but watch it. See, the short film is a mutant hybrid of weird musical, cheese humor, undead bloodshed and stars (yikes!) the very first crowned AMERICAN IDOL, Justin Guarini! 

That’s right. The fact that this movie even exists should be headline “news of the weird” copy and when the producers asked if Fango could spotlight the picture on our site, well, we couldn’t say no.

Dear readers, buckle in, brace yourselves and prepare for the world’s first AMERICAN IDOL-starring sorta horror movie…VAMPIRE BLUES. Before we do subject you to the horror of VAMPIRE BLUES,  let’s let co-director and composer and indie hip-hop artist Eric Howl explain his mad, magnum opus…

On the genesis of VAMPIRE BLUES:

I’m sort of a music video whore in part because I decided in Los Angeles to give up my passion for film direction for a bit while pursuing music.  More recently, I wrote a song for my new album I’M GOING DOWN called “Vampire Blues.” I was living in this desolated, old house alone in Pittsburgh listening to Blind Willie Mctell–very, very old blues–and learning guitar.  The thing is, I was trying to make a second hip-hop album but really wanted to sing instead.  There was a ferocious inner war going on between my Philadelphia-raised ghetto rapper self and my traveling, hitchhiking, country self.  This vision came to me one night that I was this sort of a Church boy playing folk blues in a cottage while this evil gangster rapper is trying to smash the door down.  This scene appears in the movie.  Cut to last year and I had an impulse to shoot the song as a short.  I was introduced to an amazing cinematographer, Elijah Lee Reeder, through a mutual tatoo artist friend, and asked him if he was interested.  He said “This is exactly the sort of project I was hoping to spend my summer working on.”  It is definitely our co-creation, and our skillsets really complemented each other.

On how the hell Justin Guarini is in it:

Justin is one of the top three best singers and performers I’ve ever seen in my life, one of the others being Paul McCartney [From Justin to Paul…only in FANGORIA! – Ed]. He lives in my town and is married to my friend Reina.  I didn’t even completely realize how huge he had exploded into America until after the shoot was done.  You can watch one of the final episodes of his American Idol season and he’s just blowing away thousands of people and Simon is like “Move over Timberlake there’s a new Justin in town” type of thing.  So anyway, it was really just a whim.  I put together a collage of imagery that inspires the aesthetic; 80s films like GOONIES and JAWS, “Thriller” of course, and more modern looks like TRUE BLOOD, VAMPIRE DIARIES and TWILIGHT.  He loved it and signed right on!

On who the Devil the audience is for this flick:

Great question. I think I always resonate with films beyond genre. Straight comedies with no heart strike me as boring, horror films without jokes disturb instead of scare me. I grew up in a house with my Dad who was always playing instruments, in the city where you’re walking all the time and people sing, there’s the old Italian guy who belts out Pavarotti with his tape player, and you rap while you walk–music is not a separate occasion that happens in the designated sterility of a theater.  Maybe that’ss why tension rising into song and movement makes sense to me.  I love Hitchcock, and WEST SIDE STORY, and I’m bad at following the rules.  It never struck me as weird or even oddball to defy genre.  I’m just an American lunatic doing what the voices in my head tell me to do.

Okay then…ready? Here we go….


About the author
Chris Alexander
Author, film critic, teacher, musician and filmmaker (not to mention failed boxer) Chris Alexander is the editor-in-chief of FANGORIA Magazine. He got his first professional break as the “Schizoid Cinephile” in the pages of Canadian horror film magazine RUE MORGUE before making the move to FANGO in 2007. His words have appeared in The Toronto Star, Metro News, Wired, Montage, The Dark Side, Tenebre and many other notable publications and he appears regularly on international television and radio.
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