Saturday, December 31, 2011

Marvel Media Mania: Blade: House of Chthon (Pilot)

As always - Spoiler Alert!
Blade: House of Chthon is a pilot for a Blade TV series which originally aired on Spike TV in 2006. 

To be honest, I went into seeing this expecting it to be bad. The last two Blade films missed the mark with me and the made-for-TV budget for Blade: House of Chthon just seemed like a recipe for campy-ness. The opening sequence didn't do much to prove me wrong. Blade is chasing a Russian vampire around what appears to be the inside of a nuclear power plant... on his motor cycle, of course. What's weird is that the opening scene has almost nothing to do with the rest of the film. Blade asks the vampire, "Where are you taking the bodies?" and the vampire answers, "Detroit," but then we see a cop getting bodies for the vampires in Detroit. So why do they need to ship them all the way from Russia? Either way, we never hear about the Russian angle again...

The first part of the pilot is definitely weak. There's a storyline with a girl, Kirsta, searching for her brother's murderers. You know it will eventually be connected to Blade but it takes awhile until it actually is. So I was surprised when the pilot began catching my attention! I'd say the pilot really picks up when Kirsta meets Blade for the first time. I thought I knew where it was going - Kirsta becomes Blade's vampire hunting partner, but the pilot really gets interesting when Kirsta is turned into a vampire! What an excellent plot twist!

I'm glad to see they took a more "mature" angle on the Blade property - they're not afraid to be violent, bloody, sexy, or rough around the edges. The creators of the show went out of their way to show how vampires have pervaded our pop culture - from Video Games to comic books to movies. Some nice nods to vampire fans. They also threw in one tidbit for die-hard Marvel fans. At one point a "Professor" character mentions he colleague Marc Spector who specializes in werewolves. This is obviously a reference to Moon Knight (who's secret identity is Marc Spector although in the comics continuity he has very little to do with werewolves). 

The creators take their own liberties with the vampire myth, making it their own. First, I loved the flashbacks to native american vampires during the colonial times. Very cool. The creators seem to have taken the "cursed" spiritual aspect out of vampirism and made it more scientific. In this version, vampires are affected by sunlight, garlic, and silver but not by crosses and holy water. A major plot point is the vampires trying to overcome their weaknesses through scientific testing. There also appears to be different levels of vampires - a more "primal" vampire and more "civilized" vampires. I liked the idea of a "vampire farm" with thousands of vampire bodies in cold storage, all slowly being drained of their blood!

The main cast is great. "Sticky Fingaz" (AKA Kirk Jones) does a good job as Blade. The rest of the main cast does a pretty good job. They certainly cast people that look the rolls they're playing. The actors playing Kirsta, Chase, and Vam Sciver (the main bad guy) all do great jobs. The problem I ran into was when you get into some of the supporting cast. Even Pinocchio didn't act as woodenly as some of these folks!

All in all, Blade: House of Chthon (which I would have pronouned "Ch-Th-On" but is actually pronounced "Kith-On") is a good hook into the series. 

1LR Rating - 15 out of 20 - It's a Hit!

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