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Kim Voynar

By Kim Voynar

SIFF 2010 Dispatch: I Kissed a Vampire

kissed_a_vampire.jpgTonight we had one of those fascinating covergences of events that seem to occur only when the planets and stars align in a particular way over a film festival. I’d planned to attend the 7PM screening of I Kissed a Vampire (I know, I know, but I’ve seen SO much serious drama at this fest, and it sounded fun), but when we arrived we were told that the film hadn’t arrived, so they would be screening Thunder Soul instead. Okay, sure, fine, whatever. I wasn’t feeling picky.
Then about 7PM a SIFF staffer came in and announced that they’d just gotten word that the plane with I Kissed a Vampire on it had just landed at Boeing Field, so they were going to delay the screening half an hour or so, in order to be able to show the film they had scheduled. The filmmakers, it seemed had had some problem with the server with the color corrected version crashing or something, and they hadn’t been able to restore that part for what we saw tonight, though it was the final cut. The lack of color correction definitely showed, but I’m not gonna ding them for that under the circumstances.
Mostly, I felt bad for the cast and crew; most of the cast, including High School Musical star Lucas Grabeel, who plays the lead role of Dylan, the bitten goody-two-shoes who doesn’t want to be the vampire, Adrian Slade as Sara, Dylan’s not-so-girl-next-door neighbor and girlfriend, and Drew Seely (who provided Zac Efron’s vocals for High School Musical) as Trey Sylvania (frankly, I think he’s as cute as Efron, and he can dance, so not sure why they just voice cast him, but nobody asked me at the time).
This had been a sold-out screening, we were told, before the issue with the film not being here, and now they had the director, producers, and full cast here for a very small crowd in a large venue. However, the crowd that was there was mostly generous and receptive, and there was a gaggle of teenage girls near me who were ecstatic to see Lucas! Grabeel! In person!
As for the film itself, it’s kind of a wannabe-Goth version of High School Musical (by which I mean, the kind of goth who buys all her goth-gear at Hot Topic) blended with the Glee style of people randomly breaking out into fantasy song-and-dance scenes for no apparent reason, and a touch of Rocky Horror, though these days it’s not such a huge deal for people to be wearing lingerie in public. There’s a LOT of singing and dancing (17 songs worth) and it drags a bit in the middle. Also, I was a little unclear on why turning more “vamp” — or, to use the film’s terms, becoming “The Bite,” entails suddenly acquiring extensive black guy-liner, but hey, vamps are goth, you know.
However, much like the first HS musical, it is what it is, and it’s comfortable there. I could see it playing well to the kids who went nuts over High School Musical, or being adapted for high school stage productions. Drew Seeley is just the kind of dark, artsy, hot guy who will appeal to girls who are into those kind of boys (I know this because I once was one of those girls, so you can trust me on that), and he makes a nice counter to Grabeel’s goody-goodyness.
A word about Adrian Slade — I liked her quite a lot, she has an interesting look and was quite good in this film for what it required of her. If she’s so inclined, though, I think she’d fare better career-wise gravitating toward more serious indie fare, following in the footsteps of Jess Weixler, who caught attention in Teeth and has since moved on to other things.

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It shows how out of it I was in trying to be in it, acknowledging that I was out of it to myself, and then thinking, “Okay, how do I stop being out of it? Well, I get some legitimate illogical narrative ideas” — some novel, you know?

So I decided on three writers that I might be able to option their material and get some producer, or myself as producer, and then get some writer to do a screenplay on it, and maybe make a movie.

And so the three projects were “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep,” “Naked Lunch” and a collection of Bukowski. Which, in 1975, forget it — I mean, that was nuts. Hollywood would not touch any of that, but I was looking for something commercial, and I thought that all of these things were coming.

There would be no Blade Runner if there was no Ray Bradbury. I couldn’t find Philip K. Dick. His agent didn’t even know where he was. And so I gave up.

I was walking down the street and I ran into Bradbury — he directed a play that I was going to do as an actor, so we know each other, but he yelled “hi” — and I’d forgot who he was.

So at my girlfriend Barbara Hershey’s urging — I was with her at that moment — she said, “Talk to him! That guy really wants to talk to you,” and I said “No, fuck him,” and keep walking.

But then I did, and then I realized who it was, and I thought, “Wait, he’s in that realm, maybe he knows Philip K. Dick.” I said, “You know a guy named—” “Yeah, sure — you want his phone number?”

My friend paid my rent for a year while I wrote, because it turned out we couldn’t get a writer. My friends kept on me about, well, if you can’t get a writer, then you write.”
~ Hampton Fancher

“That was the most disappointing thing to me in how this thing was played. Is that I’m on the phone with you now, after all that’s been said, and the fundamental distinction between what James is dealing with in these other cases is not actually brought to the fore. The fundamental difference is that James Franco didn’t seek to use his position to have sex with anyone. There’s not a case of that. He wasn’t using his position or status to try to solicit a sexual favor from anyone. If he had — if that were what the accusation involved — the show would not have gone on. We would have folded up shop and we would have not completed the show. Because then it would have been the same as Harvey Weinstein, or Les Moonves, or any of these cases that are fundamental to this new paradigm. Did you not notice that? Why did you not notice that? Is that not something notable to say, journalistically? Because nobody could find the voice to say it. I’m not just being rhetorical. Why is it that you and the other critics, none of you could find the voice to say, “You know, it’s not this, it’s that”? Because — let me go on and speak further to this. If you go back to the L.A. Times piece, that’s what it lacked. That’s what they were not able to deliver. The one example in the five that involved an issue of a sexual act was between James and a woman he was dating, who he was not working with. There was no professional dynamic in any capacity.

~ David Simon