By Ed Sum
(The Vintage Tempest)
Aug 17, 2021
Available to pre-order here.
I can’t help but wonder if the Space Vampire is Carmilla? This film by Chris Alexander (better known for Queen of the Blood) begins the same. In Sheridan Le Fanu‘s own work, we see a mysterious woman (Ali Chappell) walking alone in a snowscape, towards an isolated house (presumably in Northern Ontario, where this filmmaker is from). That’s where the similarities end.
What’s different is in how this mysterious stranger in a tight black leather outfit is getting visions of who she was before becoming fully isolated to the entire environment she’s in. She’s no Black Widow either, but instead is just a person completely hypnotized. Another girl (Cheryl Singleton) is just as lost. However, it seems she is in control of her senses. This experimental movie seems perfect for Fantasia Fest, but for whatever reason, it didn’t make the cut. Thankfully Alexander got a distributor so fans of vampire and oblique films can take a look at the work for themselves.
There’s no dialogue to find here. The visual narrative speaks more about the situation of this character. The “Vampire” is alone. She’s fallen from grace (it seems) and is literally lost to the Aether. No one seems to notice her when she’s wandering the streets of Toronto. Her physical self is in one plane of existence and her soul is elsewhere, as though it can’t find its way home. That’s how I’m reading this movie. The rhythms are just that, and the pulses may well come from the universe more than anywhere else. To find her beating heart may well be the ‘plot’ of this work.
As an experimental film, I’m rather enthralled by the use of repetition, colours and shapes used in the cinematography and video editing. There’s a meaning behind them all. I feel the gold and red represent spirituality and the life itself.
Thankfully the home video release will offer explanations. This title will feature a full commentary by Alexander and a companion short film, titled “...Of the Dead,” starring Chappell as a reborn version of the same character, lost in the afterlife.