THE VOURDALAK (Sitges 2023) – Review by Alexandra Heller-Nicholas

Adrien Beau brings the figure of the initial voudalak to life; cleverly employing puppetry instead of computer generated imagery, which grants the movie something of the feeling of watching a movie much older than it actually is, subtly triggering memories of our own experiences of watching fairy tale movies as children. A dark, delicious fairytale fantasy brought to life with profound emotional integrity, The Vourdalak breathes new life into the far-too-often pedestrian vampire movie.

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EL CONDE – Review by Diane Carson

Now, on the occasion of the fiftieth anniversary of Pinochet’s coup d’état against Allende, Larraín’s El Conde again targets Pinochet. However, Larraín has departed from realistic storytelling, creating a grisly, at times even repulsive, presentation of Pinochet as a jaded vampire in his late eighties. He and his enablers retrieve fresh hearts from victims, put them in blenders, and feast on ugly smoothies. Legendary cinematographer Ed Lachman captures all this in rich, deep black-and-white, the only buffer against our aversion to these loathsome individuals

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EL CONDE – Review by Nadine Whitney

Chilean director Pablo Larraín adds a particularly dark and absurd entry to his films influenced by the dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet. While No is his lightest effort and Post Mortem his bleakest, El Conde is his most absurd. Using the premise that Pinochet is a two hundred-and fifty-year old vampire born in France in 1766 and obsessed with Marie Antoinette, August Pinochet gradually became the dictator of a “country without a king” after fighting in any war that put down the proletariat.

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MORBIUS – Review by Susan Granger

Just how bad is the Marvel origin story of Dr. Michael Morbius, the conflicted scientist with a rare blood disorder who mixes his plasma with that of vampire bats? Pretty bad… Michael (Jared Leto) and his best friend Milo (Matt Smith) share this mysterious illness which has left them debilitated, forced to walk with canes. Determined to find a cure, Mobius takes off for Cerro de la Muerte in the misty mountains of Costa Rica, where thousands of vampire bats dwell. Flimsily scripted by Matt Sazama and Burk Sharpless, the formulaic saga is directed by Daniel Espinosa, who stages overly shadowy action sequences.

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MORBIUS – Review by T. J. Callahan

Jared Leto is in disguise again. He’s been The Joker and Paolo Gucci and now he’s part of the Marvel Comic Universe as Morbius — Dr. Michael Morbius, that is — a biochemist who is on a mission to cure a rare blood disorder with which he, himself, is afflicted. He develops a serum that’s a mix of human and bat DNA that looks like it’s going to be a miracle cure, but there’s one really noticeable side effect.

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