DirectorPhoebe Dollar/Rolfe Kanefsky
Release Date(s)2018 (July 24, 2018)
Studio(s)Cleopatra Entertainment (MVD Visual)
- Film/Program Grade: C
- Video Grade: C
- Audio Grade: B
- Extras Grade: D
There are some great musical artists who share a passion for horror in cinema, such as Rob Zombie, who has directed movies like The Devil’s Rejects, and John Mikl-Thor, who had a key role in Zombie Nightmare. Lemmy Kilmister, the iconic vocalist for Motorhead, has also had a small hand in the genre. While his band’s hit song, “Ace of Spades,” was the theme song for the previously-mentioned Zombie Nightmare, Lemmy himself has appeared in a few horror movies as well, including Hardware, Citizen Toxie: The Toxic Avenger IV, and a new thriller Sunset Society. The latter tells the story of a secret cult of vampires that live in seclusion near Hollywood. Led by Ace (Lemmy), the group attempts to locate stolen video that could potentially expose and lead them to being hunted down by humans for the rest of their lives.
Sunset Society is a stylish blend of animated sequences, vintage documentary-style materials, and newly-shot footage. It’s a story within a story, being more or less a flashback tale. Despite Lemmy’s recent passing in 2015, the footage with him, which was directed by Rolfe Kanefsky, is at the very least three years old. Lasting for the bulk of the 90-minute run-time, it’s perhaps a bit too talky with minimal action. The Phoebe Dollar-directed footage, which opens and closes the film, is more active with plenty of gratuitous violent and bloody action. She undoubtedly had more of a feel for what horror fans would want. The acting isn’t the greatest, including both wooden and poorly-spoken lines, but being a low budget film, it can be given a pass. After all, this isn’t the type of film that anyone will remember for its acting.
Cleopatra Entertainment and MVD Visual give Sunset Society the royal treatment with a special Limited Edition Blu-ray release. The picture quality is a mixed bag, but it’s due to the materials that were used. Newer scenes with Robert Donovan are sharper with excellent colors, especially reds, while flesh tones look accurate and interiors are finely-detailed. Scenes featuring animation also look vivid with beautiful artwork. The low-grade video footage that the characters view during the film looks like it was filmed on a camcorder, often looking blurry and murky. English 5.1 Dolby Digital is the lone audio option provided, and it’s strong overall with loud screaming, crunchy neck-biting sounds, and other sound effects being the most dominate. No problems occurred during the presentation, but unfortunately, there are no subtitles.
Special features include Lemmy Statue Unveiled at the Rainbow Bar and Grill, a 1-minute featurette displaying Lemmy’s statue with his fans; a slideshow; and trailers for the film itself, Devil’s Domain, and Black Room. This Limited Edition package also contains an etched 7-inch vinyl single, a CD of the film’s soundtrack, and a standard definition DVD. While this release is limited to 2000 units, there’s also a standard DVD release as well for those not wanting all of the bells and whistles.
While not the greatest vampire film ever made (and it certainly isn’t pretending to be such), Sunset Society is a creative take on the genre. Fans of Motorhead should give it a spin, and the Limited Edition is a nice option to go with for both die-hard and casual fans alike.
- David Steigman