Night Owl

  • 1993
  • 1 HR 17 MIN
  • NR
  • Horror

Jeffrey Arsenault's low-budget, B&W vampire picture was written in 1984, went into production five years later and was completed in 1993. But it but looks and feels as though it were made ten years earlier; its sensibilities are closer to Nick Zedd's ragged punk provocations than those of THE ADDICTION and NADJA (both 1995), B&W vampire pictures whose grit...read more

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Reviewed by Maitland McDonagh
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Jeffrey Arsenault's low-budget, B&W vampire picture was written in 1984, went into production five years later and was completed in 1993. But it but looks and feels as though it were made ten years earlier; its sensibilities are closer to Nick Zedd's ragged punk provocations than those of THE ADDICTION and NADJA (both 1995), B&W vampire pictures whose grit has an elegant sheen. East-Village bloodsucker Jake (James Raftery) prowls the streets and bars of the Lower East Side, seducing and killing women. But he picks the wrong victim in jewelry designer Zhora Santiago (Karen Wexler). Her older brother, Angel (John Leguizamo), will stop at nothing to find his sister and as Jake continues his nightly rounds, Angel badgers Zhora's friends, passes out flyers and haunts the bars and clubs where his sister hung out in hopes of picking up a clue. Jake, meanwhile, becomes infatuated with morbid performance artist Anne Guish (Ali Thomas), who spins gory, menacing stories of sex and violence for generally unenthusiastic crowds. Hoping to suppress the bloodlust that will inevitably lead him to hurt Anne, Jake begins eating raw meat and even drinking his own blood. As Jake wrestles with vampire nature, Angel draws closer. Arsenault's muddy, meandering picture is nowhere near as coherent as this synopsis might suggest; it's only 77 minutes long but feels desperately padded. Arsenault includes some spooky footage of the Village Halloween Parade and atmospheric shots of Times Square before it was transformed into an outdoor suburban mall, but overall the film's curiosity value far outweighs its other virtues. Leguizamo, whom Arsenault had just directed in an early version of Mambo Mouth called Lovesick Freaks, was still a fledgling actor when he took the role of Angel, while veteran Warhol superstar Holly Woodland reappeared in a small role as a barfly. New York nightlife columnist Michael Musto appears as a club MC, cult horror star Caroline Munro makes a cameo appearance as herself, being interviewed by a pompous gasbag on a public access TV show called "Cinema Talk" and minor-league singer/scene-maker Screamin' Rachel is featured in two lengthy performance sequence.

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  • Released: 1993
  • Rating: NR
  • Review: Jeffrey Arsenault's low-budget, B&W vampire picture was written in 1984, went into production five years later and was completed in 1993. But it but looks and feels as though it were made ten years earlier; its sensibilities are closer to Nick Zedd's ragge… (more)

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