Blood of the Tribades

Sunday, March 27 @ 12:00pm  |  Brattle Theatre

2016 | USA | 78 minutes
Directors: Sophia Cacciola & Michael J. Epstein
Screenwriters: Michael J. Epstein & Sophia Cacciola
Cast: Mary Widow, Chloé Cunha, Seth Chatfield

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2000 years after the Vampire Bathor has established the village of Bathory, superstition and religious violence take over as the men and women battle for control.

Honoring 70’s European vampire cinema on a shoestring budget requires a distinct aesthetic characterized by torch-lit castles, rolling countrysides, and Victorian flair, details that may not be readily available in and around Boston without substantial resources.

In the hands of intrepid team Cacciola and Epstein, however, the risk pays off in their third feature Blood of the Tribades, a film that faithfully delivers an alluring atmosphere of bloodsuckers and weirdness in spades. Despite the limits of frugality, their period piece feels remote and exotic, blending the surreal arthouse vibe of Jean Rollin with the theatrical sensibilities of Hammer Films, channeling an era of eroticism and eerie Gothic flavor.

Their vision, however, is all their own, eschewing a shallow interpretation of sexy vampires in favor of allegory founded on a unique mythology. The story concerns two vampire lovers (Chloé Cunha, Mary Widow) caught between warring ideologies where a once utopian vampire society, followers of a deistic vampire called Bathor, now sit divided by gender and extremist viewpoints.

This effort finds Cacciola and Epstein catapulting forward in their craft with a visually stunning, thought-provoking take on vampires that, thankfully, forgoes self-referential mockery of a genre both beloved and misunderstood. Instead, the film is a love letter to offbeat lesbian vampire films that offers powerful discourse on self-identity, feminism, and the violence wrought from religious dogma.

Immersive, elegantly photographed, and guided by a terrific original score by Night Kisses, Blood of the Tribades urges vampire tradition forward in challenging new directions.

– Chris Hallock


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