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Addicted to Murder (1995)
When folks start talking "independent film," they usually jump to Miramax or the works of Kevin Smith. While both started out indie, they've far surpassed that point. Are they still different? Yup. Quirky? You bet. However, I'm sure Addicted to Murder director Kevin Lindenmuth would join me in some hearty laughter to suggest that either one is making "independent film."
This is indie at its finest: unknown actors, ultra-low budgets, cheesy special effects, and ideas that are is challenging and don't pander to the lowest common denominator. For all the flaws the film has (shot on video, some lousy acting, the aforementioned effects), it has one truly great asset. Its script, which deftly combines two horror standards, the serial killer and the vampire, is intelligent, filled to the brim with interesting concepts.
Joel (Mick McLeery) is brooding handyman in New York City. He also happens to be a serial killer when he can find the proper victim. His killing is driven by his painful past relationships with women: his mother, his ex-wife, his babysitter. Especially important in the formation of who he is, though, is Rachel (Laura McLauchlin), a vampire who formed a very bizarre relationship with Joel when he was young.
At a club called The Hungry, Joel meets Angie (Sasha Graham), a woman who has the solutions to all his problems, but she may also hold the key to unleashing his nightmares. Now, he must decide what he truly wants, and who to entrust his soul to.
This could have very well been made without the vampire angle, but it works better with it. In its own way, it does more to explain Joel's past, present, and future than any confrontation with a teasing classmate or sexually sadistic babysitter. Rachel may be the very reason Joel is screwed up, but she may have had her justifications. Ultimately, it comes down to failings, both human and vampiric.
There is much else to recommend about the film (both McLauchlin and Graham exude their own brand of sexuality, the direction is very good), and a couple things to say against it (which I've alread gone into). Ultimately, the positives win out, but you have to be prepared to think for your horror.
Mick McCleery went on to direct his own independent feature, Track 16.