Saturday, November 23, 2013

Aeon: The Last Vampyre On Earth would be Murnau's favorite Vampire Film says the Austin Chronicle...

Aeon: The Last Vampyre On Earth would be Murnau's favorite Vampire Film says the Austin Chronicle...

Kiss of the Damned
Aeon: Last Vampyre On Earth

A surprising gem of the bloodsucking canon has emerged from the scalding pit that is Chemical Burn. Aeon: The Last Vampyre on Earth is a sealed bottle drama, bleak and merciless. In a name that gives a nod to the original cinematic vampire, Catherine Murnau (April Basile) is the last surviving human on Earth: A strange apocalypse is taking place outside of the collapsing cellar, and she is surrounded by death and rotting corpses. But she is not alone. Instead, her company is another who is the last of their kind: Aeon, the final vampire (played by director Daniel Falicki). Turns out, if there's nothing left to prey on, the predators die too.

This is amateur horror, and the threads occasionally show. But Falicki embraces the Gothic. When Aeon first appears, he is a silhouette against a blood red background, a scavenger king in a world of ruins. He runs at the role with raw fury, his body collapsing, leaking, vomiting, bleeding, corrupting in front of Catherine. It's genuinely creepy.

While Jordan and directors of his ilk constantly harp on about the agonies of immortal life, Falicki turns that whole idea on its head. This is a vampire facing the end of days. He's a virus with no host. It's I Am Legend taken to its logical conclusion, and that alone wins points.

Warren Croyle and Ryan Lieske's script culminates in a lengthy quasi-theological debate about the nature of the human soul, which is intended to bring the plot to a resolution. Throughout their encounter, Aeon teases Catherine with the idea that death will be absolute: But at least, if she sacrifices herself to him, there will still be a trace of her left. That one idea provides so much dramatic tension, giving Catherine real pause. However (and Jordan could probably learn from this, if he decides to recount stories within stories again), why should she trust a putrefying monster? The first few times he tried to eat her implies he may not be trustworthy.

Crawl past the restrictions of a super-low-budget production and this is a real surprise. Of these three recent creations, it's arguably the one that would give Murnau most pleasure.
Nosferatu (Kino Lorber), Kiss of the Damned (Magnet) and Byzantium (IFC) are available on DVD now. Aeon: The Last Vampire on Earth (Chemical Burn) is available via