This Movie Sucks. Literally.
By Tom Warner (Baltimore Or Less)
In 2002, my friend and co-worker Holly Tominack acted in a local low-budget feature horror film, Blood Seduction, that started out as a comedy short called Vampire Hookers from Dundalk. Patterson High School grads Doug Ulrich and Al Darago not only wrote, produced and directed the original 11-minute short – which was shot in 1995 on location in Dundalk (natch) and surrounding locales – but also acted in it, as well.
The directors initially planned to film scenes at the Enoch Pratt Central Library in Mount Vernon (which would have been a wonderful addition to Pratt’s guided tours – “Besides the esteemed Poe and H.L. Mencken Rooms, the historic Central Library was also home to the filming of Vampire Hookers from Dundalk…”), but the idea never came to fruition.
Over the years, the short was fleshed out into a feature-length straight vampire genre film titled Blood Seduction with a new cast and released independently. (Holly not only appeared in the film’s first scene, but also had her Little Italy townhouse featured as a setting.) But one thing that remained constant was that when the vampire hookers got down to business, they moved the party downtown – way below the neckline!
Then, under the title 7 Sins of the Vampire, the Ulrich-Darago Dark Falls production was finally released as a budget-priced DVD from Alpha Video. Among the mix of friends, family and locals appearing in the cast is Towson native George Stover (a veteran actor who appeared in several early John Waters films – he made his debut in Female Trouble as the prison chaplain who escorts Divine to the electric chair – before finding his niche in countless straight-to-video, low-budget horror and sci-fi productions) – who appears as “Tom the coroner” – and the late Anastasia Summers, who worked on numerous independent and major studio productions before her untimely death from a brain tumor, age 34, in 2009.
Unfortunately, the Vampire Hookers from Dundalk short was not included on the Alpha Video DVD – but it is included as a bonus feature on the impossible-to-find Blood Seduction DVD. And fortunately for me, Holly has a DVD copy which she has promised to loan so that I may finally see her tarted-up, blood-sucking acting chops back in the day. And all set against the exotic post-industrial splendor of Dundalk – what could be better?
Actually, I just want to be able to say to friends over Halloween, “You mean you’ve never seen the cult classic Vampire Hookers from Dundalk??? Hmmmfft!!!”
Everybody loves saying it, as witnessed in this “We think it’s vampire hookers – from Dundalk” scene from the movie.
The original title is certainly classic (in a Troma-esque marketability way), but Holly speculated that the production went with a less risque title after the film’s principles got religion (hence the appearance of the word “sins,” the production company being “Dark Falls” – as in “Fall of man,” etc.). In fact, an earlier Alpha Video DVD release featured the cover below, with the still-suggestive come-on blurb “Invasion of the Vampire Hookers!”
Alas, vampire hookers – especially of the low-budget Dundalk variety – remain a guilty pleasure that can only be seen seen in their 7 (deadly) sins glory.
Here’s the DVD product description from Amazon.com:
Alluring vampire women infest an urban jungle, posing as hookers to lure their prey and then tearing out their hearts – and sometimes other, more private parts!
Veteran police detective Groper and his rookie partner Slimski are assigned to investigate a bizarre series of murders – corpses found completely drained of blood with the hearts ripped from the chest. Tragedy strikes close to home when Slimski’s teenage sister becomes the killers’ latest victim. A hot lead brings the lawmen to an abandoned house where the vampire hookers dwell. In a final onslaught of horror, the two cops face an army of bloodthirsty monsters, and must fight a desperate battle for their own survival.
Classmates at Baltimore’s Patterson High School, Doug Ulrich and Al Darago reunited a decade after graduation and began making a string of horror movies. The casts were a mix of friends, relatives and local actors and they were shot on sub-shoestring budgets. 7 Sins of the Vampire was shot in nearby Dundalk, Maryland in the summer of 2002 and unreleased ’til now. Their final fright flick, it puts the ho’ in horror with its mad combination of streetwalking ‘glampires,’ grunge, gore, S&M and humor.
Bonus content includes ‘Making of 7 Sins of the Vampire‘, makeup effects and screen test.
Also includes The Devilish Desire of Dario Dragani (2012, Color), directed by Mark Mackner.
And, according to Jeffrey S. Witte, who describes himself as “deeply involved” in the making of this film:
This film was originally titled “Blood Seduction” and was independently released. It was the fourth full-length release from Dark Fall Productions: the writer-producer-actor-director duo of Doug Ulrich and Al Darago. As you can read from the product description, they were high-school buddies who reunited in the early nineties and began to make low-budget films. I joined up with them as they began production on their second film, eventually becoming a co-star alongside of Al.
This comes from the heart from somebody who knows them: these guys are the real deal. They make their films on a shoe-string budget, enlist their friends and family to act alongside of working actors (who work for food!), and produce their films at a breakneck pace. Having been on other peoples’ sets, I can tell you that one will rarely work with more professional and able filmmakers.
“7 Sins of the Vampire” was just one stop in Doug and Al’s evolution, representing vast improvements in their storytelling and in their visual expertise. As you learn in the “Making Of,” this story began life as a warped idea titled “Vampire Hookers From Dundalk,” named as such to honor our beloved town of Dundalk, MD. (Unfortunate note: the original short is not included on this DVD.) After a few failed attempts to make this into a full-length feature and producing another movie, the Dark Fall guys finally completed their script. Now, you get to see the results.
All these guys and gals acted their hearts out (some literally!). Al…Doug…Mark…Rita…Ed…all turned in some noteworthy performances. You’ll also see some established Baltimore actors in the mix: George Stover (of John Waters films) and Vincent DePaul, who seems to pop up in every Hollywood blockbuster that comes out. It’s a great hour that’ll have you chuckling and mesmerized.
Also included is Mark Mackner’s short: an excellent take-off on the silent picture, borrowing from “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari”. The trailers are also terrific…I’ll won’t spoil them for you.
In closing, I want you to know that, not long after this film was finished, Doug, Al and I lost a beloved member of our cast. The late, great Anastasia Summers was a joy, bringing elegance and class to every job she did. She shines in “7 Sins,” and she will never be forgotten…especially by “John 1”.
In Memory of Anastasia Summers 1974-2009 (YouTube)
Dreamland Actor George Stover Shot During Home Invasion (Baltimore Or Less)
George Stover Reminisces About His Pet Tarantula (Jim Hollenbaugh, Baltimore Or Less)