Hey kids, it’s the Dash man. Four more days until All Hallows’ Eve! You know what else I’ve realized? There’s been a lot of talk of Vampires this month hasn’t there? I mean, there was my Top Ten Draculas, ‘Dario Argento’s Dracula’, ‘Nosferatu’ and then ‘The Stranger’. Hey, Vampires are cool. Even with Hollywood’s more recent attempts at turning Vampires into metrosexual-Boy Band members for the more vapid, shallow and horny pre-teen demographic, We still get a few Vampire films here and there that always manage to do one of three things; honor the classics by going back to the basics of the genre, re-introduce the genre to a wider audience by offering something new and innovative or all three. Then we have today’s film, and it’s a Spike Lee Joint!
‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ is a 2014 Vampire-romance film directed by Spike Lee. It follows an anthropologist named Dr. Hess Green, who becomes a vampire after an unhinged colleague stabs him with an ancient African ceremonial dagger; Green then later meets his colleague’s ex-wife and the two immediately become lovers, and begin sharing their addiction for human blood. The film is most noted for being Lee’s first crowdfunded film, as well as being an unofficial remake of Bill Gunn’s ‘Ganja and Hess’ from 1973; so much so, that Lee credited Gunn as co-writer. So…does this Spike Lee Joint pack enough bite to stand with the classics? Or is it so weak, that Edward Cullen can kill it?
Well I don’t remember asking for your opinion, Count Sparkula!
Now, as I’ve mentioned before, this movie was directed by Spike Lee. I never had a chance to talk about the man’s work until now, but I do consider myself a fan. Spike Lee’s signature camerawork is still fantastic. Say what you will about him in real life, but the man knows his way around a camera and has a very unique film style. The overall look and feel of the movie is quite beautiful as well, showcasing many vibrant colors and if you pay attention…some truly amazing pieces of African art. There’s a realistic yet stylistic atmosphere that benefits from the film’s small budget.
The film has pretty much no recognizable actors in it, and that’s nowhere near a bad thing. ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ actually made me curious to see the majority of the actors in more films, because the acting was well done. With Stephen Tyrone Williams and Zaraah Abrahams giving, hands down, the best performances as the film’s main leads.
Now, on to the real deciding factor…is ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ a “Vampire” movie? There have been many films in the past that have always tried to “humanize” the Vampire mythos. This, and the 1973 original are some of the few cases where it worked. Some other Vampire films treat Vampirism as a curse, a disease, a superpower, or in this film’s case, an addiction. ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ takes the whole addiction metaphor and completely runs with it. Do they still drink blood? Of course! Do they have fangs? No. Can they die in this movie? Yes, but not in the more traditional way like you’d think. I won’t spoil it for you, but I will say that it’s pretty unique in the way it’s handled. With that said…yes and no. Not only is this a Vampire movie, but it’s also one of the more “human” Vampire films I’ve seen.
Don’t let it’s human side turn you off. ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ may not be the scariest Vampire film, but it doesn’t try to be scary. I went into this movie thinking it would be something along the lines of ‘Vampire In Brooklyn’; a dark-comedy that tries to be scary. What I ended up getting was something entirely different. What ‘Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus’ AND ‘Ganja and Hess’ tried to do was tell a very passionate yet tainted love story about addiction and redemption, using Vampirism as a way to better tell the story to the public. Good acting and plenty of blood, death, sex and African folklore to keep you invested, this was a very interesting entry in Spike Lee’s filmography. You still got it, little man.
Sorry, I couldn’t resist. By the way, it’s Request Time once again! You guys know the deal, just leave your requests on my site. If you guys are on Facebook, Twitter or what have you, follow me and leave your requests in the comment section. Until next time, kids…Always do the right thing. Gotta Dash!
Written by Shane Moose
Da Sweet Blood Of Jesus(owned by 40 Acres and a Mule Filmworks & Gravitas Ventures)
The Twilight Saga: Eclipse(owned by Summit Entertainment, Temple Hill Entertainment, Maverick Films, Imprint Entertainment & Sunswept Entertainment)
The Colbert Report(owned by Spartina Productions, Busboy Productions & Comedy Partners)