Blood is Family, Family is Blood

“We are born, not made.” – Francis, “The Hamiltons”

There is a quiet indie series of horror films, directed by the infamous Butcher Brothers, that has really gotten the tension of cinephiles. I gotta chance to check out these after midnight gems.

the-hamiltons-01Back in 2006, “The Hamiltons” was released quietly at the After Dark Horrorfest and then on home video.

After Dark Horrorfest has become infamous is releasing all sorts of twisted horror films.

The “8 Films to Die For” film series became a hit on home video which featured the best from the After Dark Horrorfest.

“The Hamiltons” and “Wicked Little Things” were the best two films to come out of the first set of “8 Films to Die For”. “The Hamiltons” established an eclectic fanbase and was featured in Fangoria Magazine.

The movie is about an outsider named Francis (Cory Knauf), who has never understood what makes his family tick. Ever since of the death of his parents, Francis and his siblings have moved around a lot trying to figure out where they fit into society.

The problem is they don’t. His siblings are ruthless serial killers. For 80% of the film, we follow Francis and his struggle against his crude family.

As the film unfolds and Francis escapes with one of his family’s would-be victims, a twist turns the movie in another completely unexpected direction. They aren’t killers but vampires!

I won’t get into details what happens to Francis and his situation but for a low budget indie this twist is kind of interesting.

The family dynamic kind of reminded me of “Party of Five” but the dark sinister side reminded me of the underrated “Near Dark“. But there is also remnants of other low budget serial killer films.

I also liked that the film showed gore but never apologized or went overboard. I really enjoyed the performance from lead actor Cory Knauf and just how clever the movie actually became after a extremely sluggish beginning. This is a really cool movie for people who like horror after 10 pm.

2.5 out of 5

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“The Hamiltons” became so successful that it spawned a sequel in 2010; “The Thompsons” has a larger budget and bigger scope. The movie finds the vampire brood on the run and in search of where their kind originated.

Francis is the the back country of England trying to find one of their long-lost relatives. He stumbles upon Riley Stuart (Elizabeth Henstridge), a beautiful barmaid who may hold the key to his family’s legacy if he can just get past Riley’s own twisted family.

The sequel really is a solid film and allows what was built in the first film come to fruition. With the larger budget, the filmmakers were allowed to really enhance the vampire experience.

In the first film, you never see fangs for over 80% of the film. I also liked how they turned the movie into a road film. And the narration and flashbacks as told by the Francis character are just bang on.

Cory Knauf really holds these two films together and here he proves he could be a really great leading man. Henstridge is sweet, yet dangerous and it will be interesting if they will allow some of this duplicity next fall when we see her in Joss Whedon‘s SHIELD TV series.

It was also nice to see all the siblings come back for the sequel. Most them were also able to shed their stiff performances from the previous film.

I’d like to see a third entry in this series but no word on if it will happen.

3.5 out of 5

So Says the Soothsayer

                                                -Movie Madness #182 & 183-

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