Breaking Glass Pictures' 'Alice & The Vampire Queen' Offers Deadly Delicious Delights

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Ah, the vampire. Those ever-seductive, everlasting children of the night, with their designer wardrobes, hypnotic stares and insatiable thirst for blood. Innumerable movies have been made since F.W. Murnau’s unsanctioned Dracula adaptation Nosferatu, Eine Symphonie des Garuens was filmed over a hundred years ago, and the public’s hunger for the nocturnal doings of the undead shows no sign of abating well into the twenty-first century. In the intervening time every conceivable genre-twisting cinematic hybrid has appeared, from gory period melodrama (the Christopher Lee Hammer productions, Interview With The Vampire, Bram Stoker’s Dracula), to teen flicks (The Lost Boys, Fright Night) and comedies (Once Bitten, Dracula: Dead And Loving It), sci-fi (Lifeforce, Daybreakers), erotic sexploitation (The Vampire Lovers, Jess Franco’s entire filmography) and even latter-day western mashups (Near Dark, From Dusk Til Dawn, John Carpenter’s Vampires and *ahem* 1966’s Billy The Kid Vs Dracula), offering fans a smorgasbord from which to choose.

A toothsome new addition to the subgenre (available tomorrow via digital) is the Breaking Glass Pictures/Impulse FX film Alice & The Vampire Queen. Downtrodden redheaded parolee Alice (Shelby Hightower) is a one-time culinary superstar who hit the skids after her abusive marriage ended in murder. Scarred physically and emotionally, Alice is tending a greasy spoon’s grill when she encounters dashing Brit Charles (Graham Wolfe), who offers up a delicious deal: $500 to make a single dish for his employer, mysterious nightclub owner Isabella Knight (the stunningly sensuous Brenna Carnuccio), with the promise she’ll be rewarded with the Head Chef position at one of the city’s most exclusive hotspots if the meal passes muster. Accepting the challenge, Alice procures the job, learning only afterward her newfound benefactors are in reality a royal court of bloodsuckers primed to paint the town red…

There are twists aplenty in Alice & The Vampire Queen. Writer/director Dan Lantz's smart script layers its various vampiric intrigues with bouts of black humor and bursts of intense violence. Far removed from sparkling post-Twilight daywalkers, Isabella’s crew are sanguinary savages unafraid to spill a quart (or four). The purposeful parallels between Alice’s life and the surreal experiences of her Wonderland namesake are pointedly referenced throughout, and like Lewis Carroll’s fevered fairy tale, Lantz’s narrative is rich with whimsy that expertly accentuates the film’s more horrific aspects. Indeed, some of the most rewarding scenes flow from that darkly comic vein, like the conversation Isabella’s new bimbo trophy-girl convert Madeline (Rachel Aspen) and her old consort, Sofia (Danielle Muehlen), share about ‘60’s folk rocker Bob Dylan, and the bratty banter between Alice and Kieran (Aaron Dalla Villa), a vamp exiled a century earlier following a failed coup d’etat who’s reappearance now threatens to destabilize the court’s fine balance of power.

Yet people, not vampires, are the ultimate monsters in Lantz’s celluloid worldview: with the revelation that Isabella only hires murderers and other criminal outcasts from the human world as her concierges, Alice learns to draw an unsettled strength from her own past traumas. In stark contrast is Charles, who revels in the perks his position as Isabella’s Renfield provides while simultaneously fearing those he serves, and the odd-couple mentorship he develops with Alice becomes the movie’s backbone.

“Shall we head down the rabbit hole?” Charles asks at the film’s onset, and by the time the final reel rolls, any cadaverous creature worth their coffin will find Alice’s decision delectable indeed.

I hereby grant Alice & The Vampire Queen an entertaining 4 (out of 5) on my Fang Scale.

4.0 / 5.0