Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Review - Hemoglobin (1997 - Dir. Peter Svatek)

Jennifer Connelly managed an average 5/10 in her first round match with Inventing the Abbotts. Now it's time for Rutger Hauer to hit back with full force.

After the first ten minutes or so of Hemoglobin (originally titled Bleeders) things seemed to be going quite well. The screenplay was written by Dan O'Bannon and Ronald Shusett (of Alien fame) plus Charles Adair (of nothing else that has granted him any fame whatsoever). It's loosely based on H.P. Lovecraft's "The Lurking Fear", so that's another positive in its favour. What's more, it starts off with a little tale of narcissism where a lady has a dalliance with her twin brother because it's the closest she can get to having some 'How is your Father' with herself. This is taken to the logical conclusion with the inclusion of a character who just so happens to be an hermaphrodite. Topical stuff indeed in this celebrity selfie obsessed culture who would love nothing more than doing rudies with themselves because they're so great. 

You can probably sense that things go wrong with Hemoglobin. And they do. The main story revolves around a pale bloke called John Strauss (Roy Dupuis) who has a rare blood disease. His wife Kathleen (Kristin Lehman) and a disgraced Doctor (Rutger Hauer) are helping him to find a cure. Yet this is another of those films that I can't remember much about it despite only seeing it last night. This goes to show that the characters aren't up to much. Rutger Hauer was obviously just in need a pay cheque and knocked this off without any effort (as he occasionally does, but the poor fella has to eat.) Sadly there aren't any memorable Hauer moments, which is a shame seeing as though that's the only reason I got this.

There are some memorable moments though. One lady has a haircut that only be described as a monstrous grey helmet. It is so fake and so huge and so full of mullet that I couldn't help thinking that it was hiding some special effect creature head type thing that would be revealed later in the film. Yet no. It's just a bad wig. Or - and my sympathies go out to the lady if this true - it's just a bad haircut. (Unfortunately I can't find a photo to show you the helmet in all its glory but if you have a look at 9:30 on this little clip you're in for a treat. And it's in German too.)

On the subject of special effects, they're not too bad. But the creature design is. Despite their passable appearance in photo form the monsters are laughable on screen looking like mutated versions of Yoda crossed with Frank Sidebottom. Saying that, they become quite creepy when seem from a distance en masse. 

The music is quite effective in the early stages and coupled with the cinematography it gives Hemoglobin the feel of Dead & Buried (another Dan O'Bannon/ Ronald Shusett script and also one of my favourite film posters). Apart from that there's not much else. (Oh, apart from the ridiculously thin moustache that Hauer has groomed.)

I hope Rutger Hauer managed to buy himself a couple of Pek and lamb fat sarnies from the proceeds of this film, then at least someone will have got some pleasure from this tedious offering.

At the end of that not so tense encounter Jennifer Connelly goes through to the next round of the FA Cup of Actors and poor old Rutger is out. She now faces Marc Singer in the quarter finals. Surely she has to be the favourite in that match. Oh well, we'll see...

If you like this you could also try:
Necronomicon, Dagon.

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