I’ve written before about independent comics and film projects. Today I’m writing about an independent film project I received at a comic book convention. I picked up Nocturnal City at the Detroit Fanfare convention earlier this year. Actually, I traded a Donkey Kong statue for a DVD of the movie. (Part of my new “Donkey Kongs for DVDs” special offer!)
Nocturnal City is an independent film written and produced by Chris Jordan and Savanna Kemp. The film is a short mystery/thriller that has a noir-ish feel despite its modern-ish setting. The main character is a Bogart-type private investigator with one big difference from the classic character archetype: In this case, the PI is also a vampire! And he certainly doesn’t sparkle in sunlight!
Vampires may be overly used nowadays, but Nocturnal City does something with them I haven’t seen before. The film uses vampirism as a metaphor for homosexuality. To an extent it reminds me of the way Marvel comics uses the X-Men to stand in for minority groups (or used to when I read the book.) The film vampires live alongside “normal” humans but have their own sub-culture, where they interact mostly with each other in places such as vampire-oriented bars. Some humans accept the vampires, but there is also a lot of prejudice towards them. The point of conflict in the film centers on a case where a human is murdered and vampires are suspected. The main character must find out who the killer is before tensions between humans and vampires reach a boiling point. Our protagonist gets involved because of the noir-staple ex-girlfriend.
I’ll say outright that this film is not the most professional-looking production. It doesn’t always look great, and some of the acting is very weak. But that’s part of the film’s charm. In fact some things, such as a simplistic fight sequence, work because they are reminiscent of a simpler style of earlier Hollywood film.
In conclusion, I’d recommend the film if the genre interests you at all. It’s a short film, so you might as well invest the time and give it a shot. It’s definitely of Donkey Kong value!