Tuesday, May 14, 2013

GENUINE: A TALE OF A VAMPIRE (1920)

Ginuwine rose to fame in the R&B world in the late nineties with hits like "What's So Different?" and "Differences"  He was originally slated to appear in the classic dance film YOU GOT SERVED, but got replaced prior to filming.  He is now a spokesman for the beverage Adult Chocolate Milk, a version of chocolate milk for mommys and daddys that includes 40-proof vodka.  What does this have to do with GENUINE: A TALE OF A VAMPIRE?


Nothing!  Narratively, it makes no sense for me to talk about Ginuwine in a review of GENUINE.  It is the Chewbacca defense in another form and, unless you are loathesome and count puns as solid connections, there is no reason for this to happen.  Which fits most well with GENUINE, as it is a film in which things happen with no apparent connection.  Deeply drenched in German expressionism and sporting a fashionista's fascination with sets and wardrobe, I am certain that it would be a challenging narrative even if I had the über-rare full copy.  But I have a 45-minute "condensed" version and a headache from watching the most baffling movie of the week, a week that also included SHOWGIRLS 2.

YEAH, ME TOO

This is going to be the toughest synopsis ever, but I will try.  A painter named Percy has a painting of Genuine, pagan priestess and slutty dresser.  As he falls asleep, Genuine escapes the painting and ends up captured by a slave trader, who sells her to Percy's grandfather.  Said grandfather keeps her locked in a basement, until she escapes by climbing a series of things (I want to say "tree", but who knows?) while dressed like a lost member of Vixen.


At some point, she also meets and mesmerizes Florian, nephew of a barber, who kills Grandfather for her.  Percy also shows up and falls in love with her and we get a brief love triangle of sorts, just before a mob shows up with pitchforks and sharp stabby things.  PS this film also features a magical Negro-controlling ring.


Released the same year and made by the same team who made THE CABINET OF DR. CALIGARI, GENUINE takes that film's dreamy weirdness and pluses it like five times.  It's extremely visual and could in fairness take the criticism Argento films get, namely that there's a lot more style than substance here.  It's undeniably interesting and reminded me that I need to find an expressionist interior decorator to fix up my apartment, but people looking for a coherent story here are going to be gypped.


That's a skeleton with a clock for a head, your argument is invalid.  I'm not even sure in what sense this film means "vampire".  Genuine doesn't suck blood or anything, although she appears to have some True Blood glamour power.  Maybe she's a psychic vampire?  I ditched the psychic vampire lecture at that one ScareFest so I could go to the library, so my analysis of this might be iffy.  If she's a vampire, she's definitely the traditional variety, the kind who gets really into fashion accessories like cloaks and ridiculous hats.


Is this worth seeing?  Yes, absolutely.  It's short, it's strange, and it features slave boobs of the 1920s.  


It's just not what I'd call a great or especially good horror film.  Flashes of brilliance, but a little too scatterbrained in its current form.  

RATING: 6/10

TOP TEN OF THE 1920S:
1.  Phantom of the Opera (1925)
2.  The Unknown (1927)
3.  Maciste All'Inferno/Maciste in Hell (1925)
4.  The Cat and the Canary (1927)
5.  Genuine: The Tale of a Vampire (1920)
6.  Wolf Blood (1925)

No comments: