My name is Dean Gold and I'm the writer and director of Dead Day Revolution: Vampire Blues. I'm also the producer, editor, and production designer of this piece. This is a commentary that features a few of my insights on Dead Day Revolution: Vampire Blues broken down by section.
[Opening Credit Sequence with "Ghost"]
This opening countdown allows the audience to breath before diving into this abrupt high energy opening. The vintage footage is actually from promotional films that were shown in theaters. I enjoyed juxtaposing this cheery mid-century innocence with the vintage horror comic book font and darker things to come. This first song is called "Ghost" and it's one of many great Dead Day Revolution songs. The lyrics "throw yourself to the fire" are foreboding for what happens later. In the original shot this dancer emerges from smoke. I reversed it and now she's consumed by smoke. I chose this 1959 Cadillac convertible for a number of reasons. It's an iconic car. It anchors the viewer to the period setting and having the girl driving her boyfriend in her expensive car visually demonstrates the characters' relationship.
This scene was used as a primary audition tool for the roles of The Girl and The Guy. Actress Erika Apelgren here does a fantastic job of shooting right down the middle between a realistic acting style and a retro staginess common in old movies. It's exactly what the balance I wanted. The scene is a set up that gives dramatic weight and motivation to what happens later. So it's more than only a music video, it's also a film. Actor Adam Daniels later told me that Bruce Campbell's performance as Ash from the Evil Dead film series helped motivate his performance here, but he also demonstrates an inventiveness of his own. This last gesture he came up with on his own which was perfect for the character.
[Outside Lady's Room]
This acting for scene outside the bathroom was improvised with actress Jhoanna Trias coming up with this great line. I loved that Skeeter Joplin adlib too which was just perfect. It reminded me of the low-down-dirty attitude of the drapes gang from Cry Baby.
I decided that The Girl should have her hair up in order to appear conservative and uptight. The square glasses also lend themselves to that.
[The Guy Waits for the Movie to Start]
The smug and lustful oogling at the waitress is another great choice that Adam added at end of the take.
I went through lots of old horror movie trailers to find the perfect one.
[Ladies' Room Scene]
This next scene we had performed during the audition process and Reka and Erika fit perfectly together. The sound design was a critical component to the tension. The hand in the bowl is actually Reka's hand since it's supposed to be an extension of her character. I am reminded here of a scene from the movie Ed Wood when Ed Wood is amazed at how Bela Lugosi is able to perfectly make this hypnotic gesture with his hand. Lugosi tells Wood that "you must be double jointed and you must be Hungarian." Reka, like Lugosi, also happens to be Hungarian. I love that this hypnotic walk into the stall looks like slow motion. But in fact, is all real time - that's how good my actresses were after we blocked out the scene. I am really proud of the casting choices I made. Both Reka and Erika knocked their roles out of the park. We shot this women's restroom scene in a real movie theater's restroom. The Dead Day Revolution song that starts after the Vampire Queen walks out of the stall is called "Just One Question" and I love it.
[Vampire Blues Sequence]
The key here was to match the relentlessness of the song. Mike Sandoz and I came up with the idea of this androgynous old man character for the pianist and I decided he should dance. I wanted to operate on two levels here. The first was to show the power of band's performance of "Vampire Blues" was a motivating what goes on. The second was to show that the Vampire Queen's sexuality was motivating the band's motivation. The character of the guy here becomes the Singer's alter ego. The car is a great centerpiece because it does a lot. It's flashy. The huge size of it and open top makes it perfect for the physical staging requirements. It's also a key element in the color palette of the film which uses a lot of red and black.
I like including band members in acting roles. It's great to see Mike Sandoz pull of his rock star persona on one place and then be a weasel-like dweeb here. I meticulously decided every detail in the costumes and makeup choices for each character including the Vampire Dancers. They are extensions of the Vampire Queen's power, like she has replicated herself. I went with Reka's idea to look directly into the camera on some of the shots which turned out to be fantastic dramatic choice that seduces the audience just as The Guy himself is seduced. I motivated Mike to get this menacing snarl of a performance which I felt was necessary attitude about the actions unfolding. The song Vampire Blues is about the storyteller's fear of his scary ex girlfriend, but there is more to it. I found it compelling to explore the storytellers fears of his own weakness in the power his ex has over him. I was particularly interested in his contradicting instincts of repulsion and simultaneous attraction. So while this film has vampires in it, I never thought of Vampire Blues as a vampire film. The vampirism is a means to heighten the expression of what I felt the song was about: a relentless man-eater. True to the soul of the song.
[The Guy transforms and he and the Girl go at it]
This next song, "Dancing on the Corner of Death", is about taking foolish risks. The Guy has allowed himself get too close to the fire and subsequently so did the Girl, so she becomes a casualty too.
[Racing Against the Sun]
I created a unique editing style for each section of the piece and this race against the sun sequence has its own surreal quality to it. I love practical makeup effects. Here we did a multi stage makeup effects on Erika and Adam. It was time consuming, but they were both having a blast at this.
[End Credits with "Just One Question" Reprise]
This title sequence was meant to underscore the movie quality of the piece and differentiate it from other music videos. I also wanted to remind the audience of sexier times than when you had your skin burned and peeled down to the skull. These freeze frames bring out some great expressions that would go by too quickly without freezing them. The Vampire Queen on the hood is probably the most arresting shot on this piece. This is a alternate and longer take than take to the one used earlier. I love how humiliated Mike looks in the shoot with the Vampire Queen riding his back. I am not sure how much that was acting. If there is one image that summarizes the Vampire Blues concept for me, it's this one. The makeup artists did a fantastic job with this skin burn effect and I wanted to show one last glimpse of it along with Erika's disturbingly good performance.
If would like to learn more about the making of Dead Day Revolution: Vampire Blues, please see the documentary Sex Death and Rock 'n Roll: The Making of Vampire Blues.