Saturday, September 17, 2011

Midnight Son

This year's opening night feature for the 2011 Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival (MIFFF) was Midnight Son, a unique re-telling of the traditional vampire legend.  This is the story of a young man named Jacob who suffers from a rare allergy to the sun (most likely a severe form of polymorphous light exposure) and discovers the only cure for his seemingly escalating anemia is drinking blood.  The film follows Jacob on his transformation from a shy, loner into a blood addicted, junkie.

Jacob first tries to drink animal blood from the butcher, but like with any addiction, his need for stronger and more frequent doses leads him to seek out human blood.  With the help of an unscrupulous hospital nurse named Marcus, Jacob's  addiction becomes worse, and he begins to drink at first previously extracted human blood, but in the final transformation into a full fledged vampire, must have warm blood from living humans.  This need leads him to commit murders he cannot remember and to the realization that his attacks can lead to his victims becoming infected with his condition, including his girlfriend Mary and his blood-dealer Marcus.

Midnight Son's interpretation of the vampire legend is very 21st century as being the cause of genetic origin and not a magical one.  Dark Shadows, the classic cult soap opera from the late 1960's also had a storyline in which the love struck Dr. Julia Hoffman attempts to use medical science to cure Barnabas Collins of his vampiric curse placed upon him by his wife Angelique, a witch.  In a modern world in which belief in things that can only be proven scientifically, Midnight Son offers an explanation that vampires may suffer from a genetic predisposition to certain addictions, perhaps similarly to alcoholics?

This point is most poignantly portrayed when Jacob is waiting in the back of the hospital waiting for Marcus along with a traditional drug addict.  If the scene were to be taken completely out of context, there is no difference between Jacob's desperation and physical symptoms of withdrawal and that of the drug addict also waiting for Marcus.  This simple imagery is what makes Midnight Son a worthy inclusion into films loves by the Filmfreak Mafia.  

Midnight Son is a finely crafted film that does not rely upon excessive computer special effects to tell its simple story that addiction and the acts of desperation that come with it, are universal to humans and the living dead alike.  While not originally a pick for this year's Maelstrom International Fantastic Film Festival (MIFFF), it has become one not to miss.

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