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Darkness: The Vampire Version 
Written by: on April 23rd, 2006

Release Date: USA, 1993
Director: Leif Jonker
Writer: Leif Jonker
Cast: Gary Miller, Michael Gisick, Randall Aviks, Cena Donham, Steve Brown

DVD released: May 30th, 2006
Approximate running time: 83 Minutes
Aspect Ratio: 1.78:1 Anamorphic Widescreen
Rating: Unrated
Sound: Dolby Digital Stereo
DVD Release: Barrel Entertainment
Region Coding: Region 1 NTSC
Retail Price: $24.95

Tobe becomes a vampire hunter after he watches his friends being torn into pieces by a vampire named Liven. A group of friends return home late one evening after attending a rock show only to find out that their families have been murdered by vampires. Some of the survivors join forces with Tobe to take back their community which has been overrun by vampires.

The horror genre has long been a breeding ground for aspiring filmmakers who want to make it big. Filmmaker Leif Jonker’s first attempt at making Darkness in 1989 failed and few years later he would start all over again and what he create would become an instant underground horror classic. This film has a high body count as many of the films characters are either stabbed to death by a machete, filled with bullet holes or served up as food for the vampires. The film’s strongest asset is its quick moving plot that keeps the scares and bloodshed coming at a manic pace.

The acting though does leave a lot to be desired but then this film is not that dialog heavy as it relies more on its visuals. The gore and special effects are impressive for a no budget film like Darkness. The films score nicely compliments the action and mood of the piece. Darkness the Vampire Version may never win any awards still it is one of those films that is a lot of fun despite it short comings.

Overall if you like over the top blood, guts and mayhem then you will thoroughly enjoy Darkness the Vampire Version.

The DVD:

Darkness The Vampire Version is presented in a director’s approved 1.78:1 anamorphic widescreen. This film was shot on 8mm and some of the darker scenes are poorly lit and heavy with grain. There is a image comparison on this release that some how much work went into restoring this picture and now for the first time a lot of small details that may have been missed before are easy to see. The image looks amazing considering the source material and fans of this film will not be disappointed.

This release comes with only one audio option the films original English language track which is presented here is a Dolby Digital stereo. The audio has also been cleaned up; still there are a few moments when dialog sounds to soft and the music and effects sound distorted. Overall the audio is more then adequate.

Extras for this release are spread of over two discs.

Extras for the first disc include two teasers/trailers for Darkness, a photo gallery, a music video for the band Apostasy and the re-mastering demo. Also include for this release is the first ruff cut assembly of the meltdown sequence and about twenty minutes of special FX footage of four exploding heads for the Meltdown sequence. Other extras include a thirty minute documentary with the cast and crew titled “Vampire Boot camp”. Rounding out the extras four disc one is three audio commentaries the first commentary with Gary Miller, Michael Gisick, Randall Aviks, Cena Donham, Lisa Franz, Jake Euker, Veronica Dennen, Cara Milller and Leif Jonker. The second audio commentary is with Michael Curtis, Gary Miller and Leif Jonker. The third audio commentary is with Leif Jonker.

Extras for the second disc include alternate trailer for Darkness, a brief tour of the studio, Death Oogly’s Head interview segment and TV broadcast intro. Also included for this release are promo trailers for Skull Full, Demon Machine & Darkness 2 and behind the scenes making of these trailers footage. Other extras include an extensive photo archive that runs nearly fifty minutes in length and about sixteen minutes of deleted scenes. There are also two twenty minute segments one for the Cucalorus film festival and the other is from the Nevermore film festival. Rounding out the extras is the original cut of Darkness and it comes with an audio commentary that is essentially a collection of interviews with Leif Jonker and the cast & crew.

All there is audio commentary with Leif Jonker on all the extras that are included for this release. There a few Easter eggs outtakes/bloopers and footage from Leif Jonker’s first film Ghost Carol. This release comes with a double side cover and is housed in a slip case. Leif Jonker also wrote some liner notes for this release which can be found on the DVD’s insert. There is an impressive amount of extras included for this release and no stone is left unturned because if there was anything you ever wanted to know about this film it is covered somewhere on this release.

Darkness The Vampire Version is given a spectacular DVD release from Barrel Entertainment making this the cult DVD release of the year. Not only does the film sound and look better then ever there is enough extra content on this release to keep even the films most diehard fan busy for hours, highly recommended.

For more information about Darkness The Vampire Version and other titles released by Barrel Entertainment visit their website.

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