”I love history and legends, and in the horror genre I’m drawn most toward the vampire,” director Christopher (DARK REALITY) Hutson tells Fango of what led him to his recently wrapped low-budget feature BLED (see pics below). “When I read Sxv’leithan Essex’s script, I fell in love with his concept of vampires and the world he created around them.”
Shot over 12 days in Los Angeles, BLED revolves around female painter Sai (Sarah Farooqui), who, after smoking “stringoi” with a European stranger named Renfield (Jack Flint), finds herself thrust into a mythical realm. It is there she finds that must she contend with not only her newfound bloodlust (seems the drug has the tendency to turn users into creatures of the night) but also an interdimensional bloodsucker who seeks to exploit her hunger in a bid to cross over into the physical world. Rounding out the cast are Chris Ivan (DAYS OF DARKNESS) Cevic, Alex Petrovich, Michele Morrow and Ivan Moody.
Screenwriter Essex (who points out his Romanian ancestry, and also served as BLED’s production designer) says he’s “always felt a kindred spirit to the vampire,” which helped him in crafting the screenplay. “I tried to tell a different kind of undead story, mixing in ancient lore Chris and I invented while paying homage to Bram Stoker’s classic for the true fans. This gets back to the romanticism of being a vampire—the seduction of it.”
The screenwriter adds that he wanted the narcotic at the center of the story to serve as “a catalyst to have vampirism mirror drug addiction,” and sadly relates that “a friend of mine destroyed himself because of his addictions while I was writing the script, which ended with him losing everything in his life and finally committing suicide. Writing was my way of dealing with it.”
Jeffrey Allard, who produced BLED with Hutson and was an executive producer on the two recent TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE films, says, “I’ve known Chris for over five years, and have wanted to produce a film with him all that time. After [his first] TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE, I wanted to do something within the genre with a slight twist, and after reading Essex’s script, I knew it was the perfect vehicle. BLED is very different from the CHAINSAW films in that it has more of a dramatic-thriller feel with sensual undertones, but its roots are still horror. This film is a uniquely different take on the modern-day vampire story, and will entertain both the traditional horror fan base as well as the independent film community.”
While eschewing gore for more of a “traditional” approach, the production didn’t skimp in either skill or enthusiasm when selecting its FX team. FatKidPost and makeup FX head Gage (SOCKET) Munster were brought on board to realize BLED’s supernatural ghouls, and the latter says, “I was kind of taken aback by the time and budget constraints, considering I was in charge of making a full creature for the film as well as all the other [practical] effects. But it was very exciting, and I was more then willing to except the challenge!”
Teaming with “very close and talented friends Elisabeth Mendoza, Mike Rotella, Ben Gunther and Tim Estes,” the LA-based Munster acknowledges that given the substantial workload, he couldn’t do it all himself. “We were the bare bones of the makeup crew, and that was it!” Munster and co. did, however, receive some assistance in the form of “suggestions and opinions from Monster Effects” during the two weeks they worked in that company’s back room, and he apparently found their input invaluable. “We love them!”
Director Hutson echoes Munster’s enthusiasm for the project: “I’m proud of what we did with so little time. The cast and crew were amazing, the story was unique and Essex’s design work, along with Chris [BUTCHER HOUSE] Kazmier’s score, puts this feature in a different realm. I do want people to remember that it’s totally indie and we had no studio backing and, when they watch this film, realize it was all about passion, not money, regardless of whether they love it or not.”
Regarding distribution, Allard says the production was fortunate in that he “was able to finance BLED with cash, so there was no pressure from outside financing sources to make a hasty deal. I’ve had the luxury of waiting until our final cut before beginning the search for the right distribution match for both domestic and foreign markets.” Seems like his approach is paying off, as Allard (who plans on taking BLED on the fest circuit in 2008) has already “received unsolicited offers from distributors who haven’t even seen the movie yet. But we haven’t decided who to go with at this point. That process will begin soon.”
Wanna have a look at the trailer? Swing by BLED’s official site here for a gander.