There’s a moment in Sunset Society in which a vampire is about to have sex with a girl. The second he opens his jeans fog rolls out. At first you think it’s his own personal penis fog, but soon the dude turns completely into fog, and this fog enters the girl. She starts gyrating on the bed, grabbing herself, moaning. All this happens while Ratt’s 1984 smash hit “Round and Round” plays in the background, of course. When the girl reaches the peak of her climax, her cries turn to agony. Her breasts tear away to the vampire’s bloody hands. He grabs her chest wound and peels her open, lifting himself out of her skin, dripping with blood. He grins and says, “Now, that’s what I call deep love.” This moment just about fooled me into thinking I was about to have a good time.
Don’t worry, though. The rest of the movie did a great job making sure I didn’t.
Review: Sunset Society
Director: Phoebe Dollar, Rolfe Kanesfky
Release Date: July 6 (Limited), July 24 (VOD)
Sunset Society claims to star Motorhead’s Lemmy in his final, posthumous role as the Sunset Society’s vampiric leader Ace (of course). It might actually star a cartoon likeness of the actor more than the actual person, though. The opening is an animated sequence in which Lemmy throws down an ace of spades at a card game, kills a bunch of people, then drinks a shot of whiskey. A glitch transition shows Lemmy’s face grinning at the camera, then more static pulls him away. This is how most of Lemmy’s presence is handled. He’s in a portrait on a wall. His cartoon image dissolves onto the screen. A shot of vampires talking will glitch to an insert of his face. In the few scenes where his whole body is on the screen moving and sometimes talking, he rarely seems to be in the same room as the other actors. He’ll sit alone in one chair, then another vampire would sit in the chair beside him as a close-up. The two would then talk through close-ups without the camera pulling back to actually show them sitting near each other. And no one is fooled.
I don’t think the movie that we have is the movie that Sunset Society meant to be. This cobbling of the little Lemmy footage the directors had knocked the whole film out of its sockets. The main plot has a young vampire named Gauge caught on tape feeding off a woman, and Ace needs to retrieve the tapes and punish him. This entire plotline takes about nine or so minutes of the film. The rest are mismatched arcs starring the other vampires which either don’t mesh or have zero impact on the story. One has a bored vampire who becomes human. Another has Gauge accidentally turn a girl into a vampire. None are entertaining. Most of the violence is just neck bites over and over. Vampires spend their time talking, which is the last thing anyone in this movie should do. Most of the actors just monotone lines about these supposed life-or-death situations with less gravity than a child going to the dentist.
The only standout is Robert Donavan as Mr. Cross. He has a good presence and a fun hamminess that elevates the few moments he’s in the film.
For a taste of how much of a scrambled mess this film is, Mr. Cross is sent to track down the vampire recording through torture and intimidation, although Ron Jeremy’s (Oh, yeah, he’s in this too for a bit) vampire already destroyed them. But actually they weren’t all destroyed, because another vampire named Sophie (who was Ace’s main girl, even though they’re only in one shot together) made her own private movie, and most of the movie that you watch is the movie within the movie. Ugh.
Nothing matches up. Nothing works. Plotholes are explained away in a breath of hasty lines. There’s little in the way of fun grotesquity and even less sexuality. Sunset Society is a timid and tepid excuse to get the few minutes of Lemmy they had out to the public, and it’s not worth anyone’s time.
Also, Ron Jeremy has almost 1,500 acting credits. How is that possible?