The blood red titles roll, etching what’s to be the theme for the rest of the film, BotT has been clearly influenced by ‘Hammer’ films of old. The third feature film from Sophia Cacciola and Michael J. Epstein, whom have set out to deliver homage to euro-vampire films of the 70’s. Its dark, its gothic and has some really endearing features.
The great vampire Bathor has founded the village of Bathory, 2000 years later and all that remains is superstition and religious violence. The men covered in welts blame their illness on the women of Bathory and take it upon themselves to cleanse the village of the female vampires once and for all.
Without delving further into the plot, the fantasy world of Bathory has definitely been given a lot of thought; for the most part it stays on a linear path with a twist towards the end. However the film's strength was never likely to be its plot and in in welcome fashion, I believe the following two elements elevate the film above many of its contempories:
Cinematography and the Score.
As a fan of cinematography there are a handful of amazing shots, in particular the panning landscape scenes which are nothing short of breathtaking and fans of cinematography are sure to be impressed. The locations are on point, and deliver the ‘gothic’ feel convincingly. I did, however, feel that the internal shots suffered, bar a couple of scenes the atmosphere is lost, a combination of lighting and location which just don’t seem to fit in – naturally I’m sure down to budgeting but a shame none the less. Of course it could justifiably be that the external shots were just that good 😉
Likewise, the musical score of the film gives the film a memorable identity, it’s a really quirky classical/gothic soundtrack and if you have seen ‘Nekromantik’ you will see similarities – it’s a style you don’t hear very often, but is intricate and ear-catching, complimenting the film's influences whilst standing out as a strength in its own right.
The gore in the film is fairly low key – mainly vampire feeding, it would of been nice to see some more, however that’s just down to preference. There is a particular scene where we get to see a wang, harpooned through the air with a crossbow, which carries on with a prominent subject - feminism. There are evident undertones throughout, where men are seen leering at the women before attempting to take their lives, whilst the women seem to be strong and independent and of course having said obsession with the dismembering of manhood. Female heroines are becoming a popular theme and can be a refreshing change to the genre.
With the theme of Hammer/euro vampire films nudity plays a large role, there’s a lot on offer, both male and female – it’s not to everyone’s taste but does not detract from the film unless of course you are offended by beautiful women and men’s genitalia.
Overall the success of BotT may be limited by its niche target audience, you certainly have to have a specific taste for the genre to enjoy its quirks, and as such I wouldn’t class the film as appealing to the average horror fan (although from the details in the press release I don’t think it ever had that it mind). It’s a homage through and through and if in the market for a fun indie film containing copious amounts of nudity this is for you!