Vampire films seem to have an incomparable knack for finding their way into my lap. I feel a tad like a broken record retelling my personal history describing my affections for these fanged beasts, but one of my earliest memories is dressing up as Dracula for Halloween when I was six years old. The taste of those plastic fangs, coupled with my grease painted widow’s peak still haunt me to this day. I’ve always had an obvious affinity for them.
However, I wouldn’t really say that vamp horror is truly a sub-genre; it’s more of an umbrella term. The cool thing about vampire lore is how flexible the rules have become and the amount of ground covered. My own personal tastes have always leaned toward the more ‘human’ realizations of these monsters. I’m not alone in this. Just look at how much fun we have with the campy nature of What We Do in the Shadows for example. A centuries-old bloodsucker shopping for craft supplies? Hilarious!
That being said, this aforementioned love of mine is only furthered when the film taps into the culture of the time it was created. Exemplifying this to the nines is The Lost Boys. Words cannot express how truly thankful I am for the existence of vampires taking on the hair metal aesthetic. I’m sure every human attracted to the male species agrees with me on this one. Lust aside, I just really dig how it serves as a time capsule of a really unique period in history. We may not have flying DeLoreans that can take us back, but I’m confident in saying that cinema is the closest thing. Forgive my ramblings, but they do serve a purpose. I feel like BIT will share that same historical glimmer in the years to come, but in a bit of a different way.
BIT is a tale about an eighteen-year-old transgendered girl, who has decided to take the plunge to move to Los Angeles from Central Oregon (Oregon natives, take note of this role-reversal). Things move insanely quickly upon her arrival, as she finds herself running with a peculiar crowd of all females. They’re intense. They’re magnetic. They’re lesbian vampires.
It goes without saying that she doesn’t become aware of this little fact until it is too late. I mean, who would willingly hang with parasitic beings that are hankering to feast on your blood? She finds herself to be their latest recruit and, like other gangs, they have rules. The most important of all? Never turn a man.
I’m not sure I really have to point out the obvious feminist overtones. They’re as clear as day, and the fact that a significant portion of the victims they feast upon are predatory men that have previously gone unpunished for their immoral actions is beyond satisfactory. That being said, there is even more to this film beyond this already refreshing take.
Firstly, it emphasizes the importance of feeling acceptance and finding your tribe. A juxtaposition felt throughout the film is how Laurel (Nicole Maines) is treated. Early on in the film, she is approached in what feels to be a patronizing manner by fellow students who assumedly knew her pre-transition. Though it isn’t outwardly stated, the audience becomes aware of the struggle she had in the previous few years, emphasizing the importance of her pursuit of greener pastures. That is why it is such a groundbreaking moment when she finally finds these blood-thirsty hellions. They accept her for who she is without a second thought.
Secondly, I feel like this entire film serves as an exploration of the intimate relationship between power and corruption. I like to give spoiler-free reviews, so I won’t get into all the examples of this because I felt it to be the most intriguing aspect of the picture. It left me with a lot to ponder, which is pretty damn cool for what appears on the surface to be just another teen horror flick.
Heavier stuff aside, I cannot give enough praise for the aesthetics of this film. It felt like a cousin to The Neon Demon in a strange way, which goes to show how wonderfully they nailed the modern Los Angeles ‘look’. I believed in these characters; every single one of them was extremely authentic to the point where I truly felt I’ve crossed paths with them in my personal life. It was also just a fun ride. I mean, throw Boney M. on and a full-fledged disco sequence in any movie, and I’m bound to be smitten. Also, practical gore! Disco and gore are a match made in heaven, and I’m absolutely here for it.
I dug BIT. It wasn’t perfect, but it was many things I feel have a higher ranking of importance than that. I’ve already elaborated on a trio of messages encapsulated within, but I’ve left the best for last. It displayed the unique journey of the female experience and the unshakable strength of sisterhood.
BIT will screen at Outfest Los Angeles at the TCL Chinese Theatre Friday, July 26th. There will be a second screening, Saturday afternoon at the Harmony Gold, Saturday Jul 27th at 4:30 pm.