Just like staring at an inkblot, “random” and “strange” are the first words that spring to mind if I had to describe Frank D’Angelo’s Sicilian Vampire to movie goers. However, the oddities give D’Angelo’s film a fever dream allure – it’s entertaining one way or another.
Frank D’Angelo directed, wrote, produced, and stars in Sicilian Vampire. He also wrote many of the songs in the film, as well as performs them (both on the soundtrack and in front of a cabaret audience in the movie). To say D’Angelo wore multiple hats on the production still feels like I’m undercutting the filmmaker somehow. He’s involved with so much of Sicilian Vampire, it makes me wonder if some of his tasks could’ve been delegated to allow the filmmaker to fine tune his disjointed story of a mobster-turned-immortal.
Ultimately, Sicilian Vampire comes across as Frank D’Angelo’s treasure chest of movie ideas he fancies. For instance, he’s obviously a fan of crime movies involving wise-cracking tough guys, so Sicilian Vampire is filled with them. He also favours a running theme of family, so that’s included as well. You get the point.
Luckily, the filmmaker has filled out his cast with classic competent actors (James Caan, Robert Davi, Paul Sorvino, Daryl Hannah, Eric Roberts, and Daniel Baldwin to name a few) who are more than familiar with these character types. The volatile confrontations that stem from the film’s centre stage machismo feel unprovoked with loose tempers running wild for no good reason, but it’s always a pleasure to see these actors flip on their own levels of intimidation. Even if the material lacks momentum, it’s easy to get wrapped up in this reunion.
D’Angelo has cast himself as leading mobster Santo Trafficante, which I think is half-inspired. On one hand, Frank isn’t necessarily an expressive actor, but on the other hand, he excels at striking fear into people with cold eyes when his brutalizing immortality takes over. I kept thinking how great of a villain he would make in a different movie; his secret weapon as an actor is his unpredictability.
As a film that mashes the drama of a gangster flick with gothic horror, Sicilian Vampire doesn’t quite come together because of its jumbled albeit well-shot presentation. I had an easier time appreciating D’Angelo’s efforts in the same way I felt about Spike Lee’s “non-vampire” movie Da Sweet Blood of Jesus. Both interpretations are flawed, but I wouldn’t mind revisiting these works in a double-bill.
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Addison Wylie: @AddisonWylie