BEST of Red Netflix Envelopes: 1993’s Bonkers Super 8 Vampire Flick – ‘Darkness’!
The end of an era will soon be upon us, the red envelope Netflix “dvd by mail” system will finally come to an end later this year. Sigh…..It’s a bit depressing, I had a lot of fun awaiting these mini movie packages for soooo many years. Truth be told I discovered some truly unique lil’ hidden gems over the years as their dvd selection was once a wildly vast treasure trove…so here in honor I’m gonna blog weekly about my all time faves. The first being 1993’s DARKNESS: The Vampire Version-which I just got delivered for a second time. The dvd online is quite rare and fetches a pretty penny on eBay!
So here’s a really unique movie that still remains in their library- ‘Darkness’ is a cool little vampire movie with a cast completely made of what looks like no one over twenty years old. Leif Jonker the director was apparently only 17 when he started conceptually with the production and started filming in 1988, wrapping it up in 1991. He filmed it on super 8 and the whole affair is a mega blood drenched teenage nightmare in the best way possible.
Jonker doesn’t play for laughs here either which is refreshing, it’s all played as straight as it can be with machetes, chainsaws and teen vamps that sadly have no fangs! But alas, it’s a bit of marvel to behold just how ambitious this little splatter flick really is for a gang of ravenous teen punks who set out to shock their audience and for the most part do a bang up job at it all.
Darkness is filled with some legit action, suspense, blood, guts and some great attempts at serious acting. Even though the “vampires” feel more like a rabid gang of cannibals they still show their supernatural side while succumbing to the more traditional vampire trappings. Sunlight and holy water in particular. One sequence where the main characters a being chased through a river by vampires and a bottle of holy water is poured into the water causing some cool carnage as it mixes and destroys them is a real inventive highlight.
It’s a race to the sunrise as a cast of teens are chased across the countryside fleeing from blood thirsty vamps. There’s not more much to the plot honestly, but It’s so damn charming that Jonker went the full distance on it’s production it really doesn’t need to have an intricate story. The finale is well Wirth the wait to, as there’s an over abundance of exploding heads, melting flesh and crudely animatronic decrepit vampire’s to watch meet their gnarly demise. Sadly Jonker didn’t go on to put out much more-the only thing officially listed on Letterboxd is a short film from 1983 called ‘Ghost Carol’ described as a “Super 8 short about a ghost that kills a group of teenagers at Christmastime”. It’s a 22 minute horror film I need to find a way to see!
Supposedly Arrow video will be giving this a fancy blu release sometime in the future? It looked like it was supposed to come out a few years back, the trailer below is from four years ago. If it ever sees the “light of day”(no pun intended) I’ll be picking up a copy for sure. In the meantime if you’ve still got the red Netflix envelope system intact (at least until it ends later this year) put this bloody little nugget in your “queue” and get ready to rock! One of my favorite weird back catalog Netflix dvd finds-especially first time seeing it years back…..