Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Revving Up Some Vampire Noir

Typically, the word "fang" when used in a vampire movie context means only one thing: chompers that the human protagonists want to keep as far away as possible from their necks. But in the case of FANG, a Michigan indie shot over the summer and scheduled to be through post-production by the end of the year, it also stands for Fast and Nasty Gear.

One of the principals of the producing entity Struber Productions owns a FANG Performance, which helped facilitate and anchor the movie's unique mash-up of three cinematic genres: car racing, blood sucker and mafia. To protect the originality of the storyline, director-producer Kurt Struss and his creative partners made sure to obtain signed NDAs from everyone associated with the project.

One part The Fast and the FANG-iest

"Plot is key, but so is structure," explains Struss via an interview with FilmStew. "Each group of characters have color themes and style cues as well as music signatures. We wanted a cool feel anytime you saw or foreshadowed our vampires."

"The crime angle is gritty and stark and warm," he continues. "Camera angles were used to create a sense of power or intimidation. The whole approach is very film noir."

Another component of FANG's vampire theme was drawn from months of research conducted by Struss and business partner Tom Zuber, who co-wrote the screenplay with brother John. Once again, it hints at something all too rare in the vampire movie genre: narrative - rather than simply stylistic - originality.

"Tom and I fell on a true story from 12th century Poland of a warring general who was said to have been cursed with vampirism for his sins," Struss reveals. "We used this base to expand one of the main characters. We then researched the international folklore of the vampire and built our foundation from the common threads found in these stories."

June table read

FANG is the third feature film effort of Struber Productions which, because of enterprising deals with local Michigan theaters, has been able to bypass the film festival circuit in favor of immediate limited distribution. Their first release, the 2007 horror entry Whispers, was followed by Dark Threads, a serpentine tale of betrayal and retribution. The group also made a fan film in 2006, First Night Out.

Although FANG will not screen in 3D, it has every right to given the heritage of its director. Great Uncle Karl Struss, who passed away in 1981, is credited with inventing the first-ever 3D camera, not to mention also claiming the inaugural Academy Award for Best Cinematography via F.W. Murnau's silent 1927 classic Sunrise (his first of four nominations) and transitioning into the talkies with Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde and Island of Lost Souls.

The cast of FANG was sourced from Chicago and Michigan, while the crew turned out to be a little more "Hollywood." Director of Photography Dave Rutherford assembled Midwestern colleagues who have worked on big-budget shoots.

"FANG contains elements of Greek tragedy and the flawed hero," says Struss. "It's played straight as much as a vampire flick can be, as we wanted to keep it grounded in reality. The drama is very reality based and the flaws are real. People will understand these characters and what motivates them."

[Struber Productions]

No comments:

Post a Comment