“Set in 1966, Bloodsucker’s Handbook is the story of Father Noah Gregory, a young priest who is approached by federal marshals with an unusual request: help them deal with a vampire they have taken into custody. Drawn in by the vampire’s narrative, Noah’s own life begins to take strange twists. And when the vampire disappears, things get very weird.” (Wild Eye Releasing)
Tagged with the slogan of “Embrace the weird,” Mark Beal’s Bloodsucker’s Handbook is a surreal, psychedelic traipse through a rather peculiar story. Honestly, I’m not sure if it works or not. Initially released as a black and white in 2012 under the name Enchiridion, the film seems to have garnered a wide array of ratings. In 2016, it received an international release with a new title, Bloodsucker’s Handbook, and was in color. It is this version of the film that I watched and, given the noir style approach, I feel the movie should have been left in black and white. (A little grain probably wouldn’t have hurt either.)
Filming technicalities aside, Bloodsucker’s Handbook, once you open your mind to the weirdness, is actually fairly enjoyable. To give Beal credit, I do admit I giggled a time or two despite my extremely poor sense of humor. The acting is decent, though the audio quality for speech is a bit lacking from time to time. In addition, the inclusion of stop-motion puppets periodically gives the film a unique feel.
The plot focuses on the priest called in to interrogate an apprehended vampire, Father Noah Gregory. While he is studying the book written by the vampire, it escapes. Thus Father Gregory is led on a wild goose chase that keeps getting more and more bizarre. Bloodsucker’s Handbook includes a wide range of characters. Among the cast are recovering toad licking addicts, anthropomorphic creatures, and vampires. After getting his book back, the vampire crosses Father Gregory and viewers learn the truth about the priest. I won’t go into a lot of detail beyond that, as it may ruin the movie.
Though I prefer horror movies, I don’t mind the occasional journey into oddity. With that in mind, I do not feel that watching this movie wasted my time. In fact, I enjoyed it more than I expected to. The switch to color does ruin the ambiance, though. As a result, I cannot give it the four stars that I intended to. If bizarro films are your niche, this may be worth your watch.