• Review: Therapy for a Vampire (2014)

    From David N. Butterworth@21:1/5 to All on Sun Jun 5 10:16:07 2016
    A film review by David N. Butterworth
    Copyright 2016 David N. Butterworth

    **1/2 (out of ****)

    Given the inherent silliness of the vampire subgenre--humans turning into
    bats, dust, or over in their graves--it stands to reason that the comedy
    would be almost as common as its more dramatic bloodsucking counterpart.
    In many cases you need go no further than the title: Roman Polanski's classic "The Fearless Vampire Killers or: Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are in
    My Neck"; George Hamilton vamping it up in the campy "Love at First Bite";
    "My Best Friend is a Vampire" and "My Grandpa is a Vampire" and "My
    Stepbrother is a Vampire!?!" (sic). And lots of sucking too: "Dracula
    Sucks," "Vampires Suck," all the way down to plain old "Suck."
    And now the Austrians (of all people) are getting into the act with "Therapy for a Vampire" (loosely translated from "Der Vampir auf der
    Couch"), an affectionate take on vampire lore that's a lot more in keeping
    with the recent spoof "Things We Do in the Shadows" (with "Flight of the Conchords"' Jemaine Clement) than, say, the less-subtle Mel Brooks parody, "Dracula - Dead and Loving It" (starring Leslie Nielsen).
    "Therapy'" stars a bunch of Austrians we've never heard of in a German-language period pic ("1932, somewhere near Vienna") about a
    depressed vampire, Count Geza von Kozsnom, seeking psychiatric help from
    none other than Dr. Sigmund Freud himself. The Count's marriage, to the
    vain and glorious Countess Elsa, who's bummed that she can't bask in her reflected beauty, is on the rocks. Tobias Moretti and Jeanette Hain, who
    play our undead aristocrats, resemble a Weimer-era Geoffrey Rush and
    Anjelica Huston respectively; Karl Fischer is appropriately Freudian as the famed psychoanalyst.
    As Count von Kozsnom recounts to Freud: "I'm not good at
    self-reflection. I need your help. I feel old and tired. I've seen everything. There's nothing left for me to discover. I no longer have a thirst for life. Even food bores and wearies me. It's monotonous, like everything else. My blood flows languidly and cold through my veins. I'm
    fed up of this everlasting night. This eternal darkness, swallowing me
    up. I long for light. Bright light, where I can disappear and dissolve. Dissolve into thin air. Vanish."
    That's typical of the pun-accented wordplay in writer/director David Ruehm's film, and his couched vampire tale gets by cheerfully on its
    sweetness and silliness, albeit with the occasional bucket of chum tossed
    in from the sidelines. In addition, acclaimed D.P. Martin Gschlacht imbues
    the film with a heady Gothic atmosphere.
    Ruehm draws on various sources for his sanguine screenplay, perhaps
    even "Sesame Street." One of our protagonist's OCD symptoms is his rabid
    need to count--each time someone upsets a tin of drawing pins or drops a handful of coins or scatters a box of candies, von Kozsnom is down on his
    hands and knees, totaling the contents in a flash. In a similar vein,
    Buffy's vampires had their share of personal demons, but the soulless
    sadsacks of "Therapy for a Vampire" tend to struggle more with
    head-shrinking than heart-staking.

    David N. Butterworth

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