“Daybreakers” Puts the Horror Back in Vampires

If the whole "Twilight" thing and "Cirque du Freak" have you thinking you've got vampire fatigue, maybe the problem is that you're actually suffering from dreamy-teen-vampire fatigue. Maybe what you need is a vampire that wants to scare you're pants off.

"I have no idea, more than anyone else, why these zeitgeist things happen, you know, why the f***? I have no idea," said "Daybreakers" star Ethan Hawke when asked about the bloodsucker glut. "There hasn’t been a vampire film in a while, people start realizing that, all of a sudden everybody's doing one... I think the fun thing about 'Daybreakers' is that it's the first horror vampire movie in a while."

Hawke plays vampire hematologist Edward Dalton, who has been charged with helping find a blood substitute when the vampires that have taken over Earth begin to run low on their supply of human blood, which they harvest in "Coma"-like farms. When he meets up with the resistance (led by Willem Dafoe), he renounces his blood lust and try to overthrow vampire industrial complex.

Not surprisingly, the Australian identical twins Michael and Peter Spierig, who began work on their script in 2003, betray a combination of frustration and defensiveness when asked about the current cinematic blood clot.

"But there's always been lots of vampire material out there. People seem to forget, there was "Buffy," "Underworld" "and Blade," notes Michael. "The thing that's changed now, the vampire audience has gotten younger. Twilight has brought in the pre-teens, into this older type of genre. But vampire films and TV have always been around. I mean it's been around since the beginning of cinema."

Those who love the blood and gore of vampire flicks shouldn't be disappointed. In fact, the Spierigs had to trim a few seconds off their film to get a market-friendly rating in Britain.

"A bit at the end, with the vampires attacking each other, there's quite a bit of blood and guts in that," said Peter.

And in the classic vampire tradition, there's no shortage of politics. From peak oil to factory farming to a Malthusian disaster, it hits on all manner of social ills but without being overly pedantic.

"The point of a good genre movie is kinda like the point of a punk rock song, which is that the message of it comes at you in the subconscious. You don't think about it, it just kinda works on you in a weird way," notes Hawke.

"Daybreakers" opens nationally today, Jan. 8

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