It’s a common complaint among movie watchers today that Hollywood doesn’t like to do anything new, and is constantly remaking old stuff. Since it’s going to happen anyway, I’d like to put forth a recommendation to remake one of my favorite made-for-TV vampire movies: Blood Ties (not to be confused with the series based on the Tanya Huff books).
From the Wikipedia entry: “Blood Ties is a made-for-television film that was released in 1991. It is a story about a modern vampire family who hail from Carpathia. The family try to assimilate into American life in Long Beach, California, but their lives are upset when a sinister group of hunters kill a member of their extended kin and threaten to come after them. ”
I can’t tell you how enchanted with this movie I was when it came out. It was my understanding that this was the pilot for a tv series that didn’t make it, and OH, how I wish they would. The themes of the show may have been a little ahead of their time, and they would work perfectly today. The “vampires” in Blood Ties are descended from Adam’s first wife, Lilith, and the demon Asmodeus. They have immigrated to the United States from Carpathia, and refer to themselves as “Carpathian-Americans”, while “vampire” is used as a racial slur. They’re much more human seeming than many of the legends imply, but they are definitely the source material for those legends, as events reveal.
The Carpathian-Americans in this movie are treated a lot like Sicilian & Italian mob families in other movies, with the older family patriarch definitely influencing local government and authority figures. Some of the younger members are running their own motorcycle gang (The Shrikes – here’s a good chance to work in Hozier’s song), and towards the beginning of the movie we see how much pull the family has when they’re brought to court.
Throughout the film we get to see family traditions, the differences of opinion on racial integration (it’s very looked down upon to mix with the humans), and how to deal with those who hate them, like the vampire hunters who come for one kid’s family and track them from Texas to California. Do they kill them like in the old days, or turn them over to Texas authority figures? It also tackles gang family life, and the dilemma of young Cody to join the Shrikes, or live a legit lifestyle, like journalist cousin Harry.
Patrick Bauchau is brilliant as the family patriarch Eli Chelarin, as is Harley Venton as Harry Martin/Harlevon Martinescu. They play off each other wonderfully: part of the same family, but still with very different feelings on how they should move forward. I’ve always felt this movie was very underrated and deserved another chance at being a TV series. It does a great job of bringing the supernatural mythology of vampires into the modern day without making it seem too hokey. Patrick Bauchau went on to play the same kind of role in Kindred: The Embraced, but it’s not quite the same. Can we please try this again?