U.S. Theatrical Premiere News
While most streamer opines weren’t kind, we dug Verotika: Glenn Danzig’s feature film debut that played with the Elizabeth Bathory legend. What can we tell ya: we adore auteur projects as much as we do movies with rock stars in them. As with his debut film, through its cognizance of Giallo-styled camera angles, Danzig displayed his knowledge of Fulci and Bava, and that class and style continues with his second feature film.
However, instead of Giallo, Danzig’s tackling the Spaghetti Western genre . . . with a Quentin Tarantino flare by introducing vampires into the frames.
The always welcomed Devon Sawa (Final Destination) is our resident “man with no name,” the “Death Rider,” who travels the deserts on horseback as he searches for Vampire Sanctuary to do battle with Count Holliday (Julian Sands), Vampire Lord of the Sanctuary, along with the likes of Carmillla Joe (Pittsburgh home girl Kim Director), and the afterworld gunslingers Drac Cassidy (Eli Roth), Bad Bathory (Glenn Danzig), Kid Vlad, and Duke VonWayne. Manning the bar is none other than Lee Ving of Fear, along with Danny Trejo, and director James Cullen Bressack (For Jennifer), in support.
Following two successful advanced screenings in Los Angeles and Las Vegas this past weekend, Death Rider in the House of Vampires will open across the U.S. at 200-plus screens in select theaters, Friday, August 27th, with most first showing at 9 and 10 PM. You can get tickets — as well as future streaming information — at deathridermovie.com. Just enter your zip code to find a theater near you.
You can learn more about the film with extended interviews from Glenn Danzig, along with actors Julian Sands and James Cullen Bressack on Glenn Danzig’s official YouTube portal.
Our Post-Premiere Review
Yes! We finally got our screener!
So, yeah, critics were not kind to Verotika and likened Danzig’s efforts to that of Tommy Wiseau . . . but I spoke in the positive of The Room, so, well, you know: What da frack do I know about film?
Those same critics weren’t onboard with Danzig’s sophomore effort, either. Me? Danzig’s grown as an against-the-budget indie filmmaker, but I’d still like to see improvement on his craft. Is it flawed: Yes. Is there a lot of passion and heart on the screen to compensate for the flaws: Yes. Should Danzig not serve as his own writer, director, and producer . . . as well as cinematographer and editor, turning the reins over for one to two disciplines to a more experienced craftsman — and let them have the last say? Probably. Danzig also scored the film — but that is the one craft he must keep to himself; in fact: I love the score and like to see Danzig compose for the films of others.
The “plot,” such as it is, well, there’s not much more to tell you beyond what we received in our promotional press kit to help launch its 200-screen U.S. theatrical debut in August 2021.
There is no mistaken our Tarantino assumptions: you’ll get the From Dusk Til Dawn shakes. Sawa’s “Death Rider” is a mysterious cowboy who arrives in town on horseback with a naked, virgin sacrifice for entrance to Sanctuary: a brothel-cum-saloon flowing with rotgut, vamped-up hookers, and blood.
As we guessed: Fulci and Bava, the latter more so, rules the frames with lots — and maybe too many — zooms from Danzig’s Gialli-love emulated in the frames. Whatever weakness you see in the film from Danzig’s end are compensated by solid performances by Devon Sawa as our Death Rider, and Julian Sands — who I haven’t seen in ages on screen (but recently in a 2000s-shot U.S. TV re-run of NBC-TV’s Law & Order) — is top notch as the warlock-ruler of Sanctuary.
All in all: I am stoked to see what Danzig comes up with for his next project.
You can get Death Rider in the House of Vampires merchandise through Cleopatra Records, which also carries the Verotika Blu-ray/DVD/CD combo pack. Death Rider is out there as a single-disc 2K Blu-ray, we think: it was announced in 2021 at Blu-ray.com, but shows that it is “not rated” and has no release date. The film’s official site also offers no update on a streaming or a hard media release date.
About the Author: You can read the music and film reviews of R.D Francis on Medium and learn more about his work on Facebook. He also writes for B&S About Movies.