Holy Camp!

     Judging by the proliferation of movies and TV shows about the blood-thirsty undead, Americans really love their vampires… and who doesn’t love a good bite on the neck by a hot guy every once in a while anyway?  Patrick McGuinn’s new homoerotic horror flick, “Eulogy for a Vampire”, offers flagellation, eviscerated animals mysteriously appearing, and lots of fake blood.  However, with its heavy camp elements, the film owes a bit more to the Hammer horror movies (Think 1974’s “The Satanic Rites of Dracula” with Christopher Lee, where the “blood” had the consistency and color of tempura paint.) and the sexploitation flicks of the 1970’s rather than the current onslaught of torture porn like “Saw VI” and “Antichrist”– both, interestingly, released the same weekend as this indie film.  “Eulogy for a Vampire” takes place in an ivy-covered, isolated monastery in upstate New York. Despite the tranquil setting, there’s more going on at this monastery than just praying– although a lot of these guys are likely on their knees a lot. The opening piano score should be beautiful, but there’s a haunting element to it that lets us know that something sinister is in the air. When the movie opens, we meet two young monks in love– Anthony (Sal Bardo) and Florian (Ryan G. Metzger).  Anthony wants sexual freedom with his brother– but Florian, true to his religious vows, doesn’t submit.  Anthony murders Florian in a fit of repressed unrequited lust and locks the body in a trunk.  Twenty-five years later, an older and now Father Anthony (Wilson Hand) medicates his repressed guilt with booze, while sexual tensions run amok at the monastery.  In the case of Brothers Eric and Rafael (Craig Philip Lumsden and Damacio Ruiz, respectively), the tension explodes into loud man-to-man sex, which rankles prissy Brother Stefano (Nate Steinwachs).  The sole occasional visitor to this cloistered clink is wise-cracking delivery boy Mr. McGee (played by comedian Shawn Hollenback).  That is, until a mysterious, trashily sexy young kid with amnesia named Sebastian (Angelo Tursi) shows up.  This gets the brothers’ collective hormones raging and makes Father Anthony even more crazy.  Who is this stranger? Is he Satan? An embodiment of a lost soul from the past?  Or just some young drifter?  All we know is that mysterious things start happening: Stefano takes ill, an apparition of the murdered young Florian starts appearing in broad daylight, and many of the monks start having grisly visions followed by diabolical behavior…

     Among the all-male cast (There’s not a single woman in sight.  Even the goats are all billies.), Nate Steinwachs as the bitchy Stefano– with his priceless expressions and acidic one-liners– is a standout, as is Craig Philip Lumsden as the unapologetically hot-to-trot brother who’s the antithesis of the other monks’ repressed sexuality.  Angelo Tursi as Sebastian is also charismatic to watch; there’s a dangerous sexiness about him.   In addition, we know by Shawn Hallenbach’s mischievous smile that this character wouldn’t get away without a final scene-stealing moment– in this case, in the form of a happy gay ending (sorta…).  “Eulogy of a Vampire” likely tries to make a psycho-dramatic theory about the dangers of repressed homosexual lust, but with its over-the-top characters and mock-horror scenes, it makes me pretty sure that one of director McGuinn’s cinematic influences must have been– John Waters!  You’ll have to suspend your disbelief in a major way so that you won’t ask yourself questions like, “If a body was rotting in a trunk for 25 years, wouldn’t it stink?”.. “Eulogy” is good, clean… no, make that evil, dirty fun!

     After the film, actor Nate Steinwachs told Jed Ryan and Clover Honey that one of his scenes– the one where his character goes totally mental– was inspired by John Waters’ psychotic heroine Dawn Davenport from the 1974 cult classic “Female Trouble”.  Actor Sal Bardo recalled what’s likely gonna be the most memorable scene of his entire career: being naked and smeared with blood by a mass of hot hands.  Out of nine characters in “Eulogy for a Vampire”, only two make it out alive at the end of the film… but most of the cast as well as the crew were not just alive but kicking too at the “Eulogy” afterparty at The Hose in NYC’s Alphabet City, along with the nightspot’s usual clientele of East Village trendsters.  While scenes from “Eulogy” were shown in a montage of black-and-white camp classics, actor Craig Philip Lumsden told Under the Pink Carpet about what it was like for the all-male cast to be locked in a 19th-century manse in upstate New York for the seven day shoot.  But get your mind outta the gutter, kids: Despite the testosterone-heavy cast, there was no monk-y business going on.  The cast was completely professional! (Sigh…).   And director Patrick McGuinn, clearly pleased with the audience’s reaction to the film premiere that night, told us that he’s already at work at his next movie…

    “Eulogy for a Vampire” is now playing at New York City’s Quad Cinema..  Check out for more. 


Photo 1: Jed Ryan & “Eulogy for a Vampire” director Patrick McGuinn
Photo 2: Patrick McGuinn & friends
Photo 3: “Eulogy for a Vampire”‘s Shawn Hallenbach (rt) and friend
Photo 4: Actors Sal Bardo & Ryan G. Metzger
Photo 5: Actor Craig Philip Lumsden
Photo 6: Actor Wilson Hand

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