Kathleen Conklin (Taylor), a young philosophy student at New York University, is attacked by a woman (Annabella Sciorra), who tells her “order me to go away” and, when the frightened Kathleen is unable to do so, bites her neck and drinks her blood. Kathleen develops several of the traditional symptoms of vampirism, including aversion to daylight, but the film’s main focus is on her moral degradation. It is hinted that vampires become immortal in this film, the price being an addiction to blood. Vampires are shown repeatedly resorting to the strategy of blaming their victims for not being strong enough to resist them. As one of Kathleen’s victims weeps incredulously over the damage, Kathleen coldly informs her: “My indifference is not the concern here – it’s your astonishment that needs studying.” Eventually Kathleen meets Peina (Walken), who claims to have almost conquered his addiction, and as a result is almost human. For a time he keeps her in his home trying to help her overcome hers, recommending that she read William S. Burroughs’ Naked Lunch. At her graduation party, she says “I’d like to share a little bit of what I’ve learned” she and her victims (now vampires themselves) attack the party goers, participating in a bloody, chaotic vampire orgy.
Independent New York filmmaker Abel Ferrara became best-known for his low-budget, shockingly violent films that explore the roughest parts of the Big Apple and the darkest reaches of the human soul, with films such as China Girl (1987), his unique version of Romeo and Juliet, generating a devoted following. Ferrara was born in the Bronx, but spent most of his childhood in Peekskill, NY, where he met the two young men who would eventually become his primary screenwriter (Nicholas St. John) and occasional consultant (John McIntyre). As boys, they would play around with 8 mm cameras. In the mid-‘70s, the three reunited and founded Navaron Films, where they produced an adult film. In 1979, they released their most notorious film, Driller Killer, for which Ferrara starred, edited, and wrote the songs under the pseudonym Jimmie Laine. In this movie, a young man goes berserk and begins killing vagrants with a portable power drill. Ferrara continued making low-budget shockers until the late… read more
The rap music dates it, and often seemed unnecessary, like Ferrara was trying too hard to be 'gritty' and 'street', but it is a unique and strange film that really is a one of a kind experience, and further evidence that he really needs a good writer to make his best films. I'd recommend fans to check out the German dvd released by Art Haus. It's not perfect but it's good enough(for now)
I would love to see a nice clean print of this! The black and white cinematography is outstanding, one of Abels' best movies.
Upon the release of 4:44 Last Day on Earth.
Dear Abel, Happy birthday. I guess the respectable thing—the relevant thing—would have been to wait to until a milestone year, to wait until
Abel Ferrara and writer Nicholas St. John (in what would be one of their last collaborations) explore suffering and redemption in this original and thematically rich Arthouse Horror, It’s basically… read review