Bloodsucker’s Planet is an independent sci-fi entry about a team of space explorers that get a call to go to another planet. While the budget appeared to be very low, this space-themed film did its best to blend genres, mixing sci-fi, comedy, and horror. This film was written and directed by Mark Beal (Life Study 2007) as he explored a futuristic virus that could create and infect creatures, turning his space study team into vampires. Let’s start with the positives.
Though the tone of Bloodsucker’s Planet varied a little too much to really establish itself, it never took itself too seriously. This film was meant to be a fun take on classic space exploration films, and it kicked that notion off right at the opening. The wacky credit sequence and personalized song let us know that we’d be in for a CGI-heavy creature feature. Also, you have to allot credit for ambition. Anytime an indie team aspires to make a science fiction space film, it’s a very tall task. Tons of hours go into creating sets, costume design, and creatures. While none of it felt terribly authentic, the team did the best they could to give this film a space feel. Imagine The Thing (see our anniversary review here) without the budget, effects, or genius of John Carpenter.
Character-wise, Beal created a fun B-story in the romance between the gynoid, Adrianna, played by Jessica Bell (Bloodsucker’s Handbook 2o12), and the ship’s Doctor, played by Jeremy Herrera (Extraction 2016). Adrianna had a nice character arc, as the robot’s love for vintage things and growing relationship with the lonely doctor started to intensify her circuits and feelings. The other positive comes in the form of Mr. Bartlett (Joe Grisaffi: Doll Factory 2014), the antagonist who lures the space team into his lair to turn them into bloodsuckers.
But the film’s pacing really seems to drag, in spite of a short 66 minute run-time. Most of the characters aren’t distinguished, and the effects all being CGI really made murderous moments seem laughable. The characters react seriously (and often times blandly) when very outlandish things are happening (I.E. talking space roaches, talking moons, badly dancing robots, and diseased CGI bats). The motives don’t seem very clear for most of the film, and the final battle goes out with little more than a whimper. This film is meant to serve as a prequel to 2012’s Bloodsucker’s Handbook, so perhaps another entry in the series may shed more light on the story. This film is premiering at the 2019 Genre Blast Film Festival.