Take 3: The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire Review (Halloween Double Feature Part 1)

Happy Halloween! Just to let you know, there will be spoilers in this review.  If you want to read this Double Feature’s introduction, visit this link:

My Halloween Double Feature: An Introduction

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A DVD of The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. Screenshot taken by me, Sally Silverscreen.
  1. In your introduction for this double feature, you mentioned that both Queen of the Damned and The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire were released in 2002. Can you think of anything from around that time period that could have influenced the creation of this film?

When Hallmark Channel began in 2001, the network didn’t have a strong identity like they do today. Because The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was released the year after Hallmark Channel’s start, the creative team behind this film seemed to have more creative freedom on this project than they would have if it were made in recent years. With this creative freedom, the film was able to explore themes that are normally not found in Hallmark movies, such as various belief systems and raising awareness for endangered species.

 

2. Were you able to follow along with the story and understand what was going on in the film despite not having read the source material?

Absolutely! The thing about The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is it’s written in a way that made me feel like prior knowledge of the source material wasn’t necessary to enjoy this film. From what I know about the Sherlock Holmes character and series, the stories seem pretty straight-forward. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was, for the most part, isolated from the other movies in this particular series. This makes it a good movie to introduce someone to Sherlock Holmes, as the film doesn’t make you feel like you have to watch them in a certain order.

 

3. Was your pre-movie thought addressed?

Because there were no legitimate vampires in this movie, my pre-movie thought was not addressed. The closest thing to vampires in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire were vampire bats.

 

4. Were you right or wrong in your pre-movie prediction?

I was so wrong in my pre-movie prediction {face palms embarrassedly}. As I mentioned in answer #3, there were no vampires in this movie.

 

5. Within your pre-movie thought for The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, you talked about how a film’s title can act as a promise to a film’s audience. Do you think the title of this movie was deceiving or honest?

It’s actually a little bit of both. On the one hand, most of the characters truly believed there was a vampire on the loose. On the other hand, as I’ve been saying, there were no vampires in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. If anything, this film’s title bent the truth.

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6. Because The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was released before the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel (formerly known as Hallmark Movie Channel) began, do you think there was anything within this film that could have influenced future films from Hallmark Movies & Mysteries?

I believe The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was one of the movies that helped create the foundation that today’s Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films use in their stories. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a murder mystery, which is the same type of mystery story that a lot of Hallmark Movies & Mysteries films choose to adopt. In terms of specifics, Watson and Holmes use autopsy reports to solve their respective mystery. This reminded me of how Jennifer Shannon, in the Garage Sale Mystery series, relies on Tramell’s autopsy reports to help her solve the case. What surprised me the most was that The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire takes place during the Christmas season. The only Hallmark Movies & Mysteries film that is set during Christmas is Murder She Baked: A Plum Pudding Mystery. I’m hoping Hallmark can have more of their mystery movies take place during Christmas, so that fans of the mystery series can solve mysteries year-round.

 

7. Did you acquire any new thoughts and/or questions while watching this film?

Yes I did! Here are a few of them:

  • As I mentioned in answer #1, the theme of various belief systems was explored. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, every character believed in something. For instance, Sherlock Holmes believed in logic. It was interesting to see how these different belief systems correlated with each other to propel the story forward and help the characters solve the case. An example of this is how Holmes’ belief in logic and Dr. Chagas’ belief in knowledge and awareness of vampire bats were used together to not only prove Dr. Chagas’ innocence, but also to find the culprit.

 

  • As I also mentioned in answer #6, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire took place during the Christmas season. While the Christmas theme, in this movie, did not have anywhere near as strong of a presence as in Hallmark’s Christmas movies today, I found this choice to be very interesting. When one thinks of what could be found in Christmas movies, the subject of vampires doesn’t normally come to mind. This shows that the concept of vampires can be incorporated into almost any type of movie in almost any time of year. This also shows how Hallmark thought outside-the-box when it comes to their Christmas movies.

 

  • There are very few Hallmark movies that feature characters with disabilities. Even fewer Hallmark movies feature protagonists or significant secondary characters who not only have a disability, but who also contribute to the film’s plot. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, Sister Helen, one of the sisters who lived and worked at the church, is blind. However, she didn’t let her disability stop her from helping Sherlock Holmes find the guilty individual and continuing to carry out her congregation’s mission of sharing their faith with the community.

 

8. In The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, did anything stand out to you, whether for better or worse?

For the better, I really think the camaraderie between Holmes and Watson was a highlight of this film. Matt Frewer’s and Kenneth Welsh’s performance was very natural and convincing, making their characters appear like they truly got along with each other. As I was watching this movie, I realized that this camaraderie is the foundation for all of Holmes’ interactions and relationships. If it was not for the believability of the camaraderie between Watson and Holmes, the other times where Holmes interacts with various characters would probably not feel believable either.

 

Now, for the worse, something that I felt was missing from this movie was humor. I’ve mentioned before on my blog that Hallmark incorporates humor into their mystery stories to give their audience a break from the darkness and sadness of the murder mystery. Since, in this movie, there were seldom moments of light-heartedness or humor, the audience isn’t able to take a break from the darkness of the murder mystery and the spookiness of the vampire theme. I don’t know if there is humor within Sherlock Holmes stories, but I’m pretty sure Hallmark could have added some light-hearted moments that would have be more in line with the tone and time period of a particular story like this.

 

9. When people talk about their favorite Hallmark movies or Hallmark movies that they like, no one mentions The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire. Why do you think the majority of Hallmark’s audience isn’t aware of this movie’s existence?

This movie is not available on Hallmark Movies Now and, as far as I know, it has never appeared on any of Hallmark’s networks. Because of this, Hallmark hasn’t given their audience an opportunity to see this film.

 

10. After watching The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, what is the one thing you can take away from this movie viewing experience?

Well, for one thing, The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire is a different film from what is usually found on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries. This is because the movie is dialogue heavy, with few moments of suspense and action. However, I do this is a good movie. As I mentioned within this review, I think this movie is a good introduction to Sherlock Holmes. I also think this is a good introduction to mystery stories from Hallmark. In a time when Hallmark Movies & Mysteries is thriving with their mystery series, I believe it’s important for Hallmark fans to be given the chance to watch the films that helped these stories be what they are today. After I watched The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, I gained an appreciation not only for Hallmark’s mystery movies, but also for the foundation that was set in place so these movies could be as entertaining and intriguing as possible.

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Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

My Halloween Double Feature: An Introduction

On October 12th, when I published my review of Without a Trace, receiving 35 followers was not the only achievement that I accomplished. That review became my 100th post on 18 Cinema Lane! Because this post came just weeks before Halloween, I decided to celebrate this accomplishment by coordinating a double feature in honor of the holiday! If you read my post about my Top 5 Dream Double Features at the Cinema, you might already know which two movies I would choose to review around this time of year. But, I’m still going to share with you what movies I picked, why I picked them, and I’ll elaborate on how I’ll set up both reviews.

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It all started when I came across the MsMojo video, ‘Top 10 Movies Based on Books That Need a Do-Over’. During this video, the announcer talked about the film, Queen of the Damned, with clips from the movie being shown while the announcer explained the film’s placement on the list. When I first watched this segment of the video, all I could do was ask myself, “What the heck did I just watch”? because of the video’s assortment of movie clips appearing bonkers to me. Since curiosity got the best of me, I researched this movie to see if it was truly as bad as the announcer made it seem in the video. While on the internet, I looked up about 20 bad/worst/disappointing movies and/or sequels lists to see where Queen of the Damned placed. To my surprise, Queen of the Damned only appeared on four of these 20 lists. Out of those four, Queen of the Damned never placed in any of the top spots. For example, on a list of the Top 10 Most Disappointing Movies of All Time, Queen of the Damned was listed at number 38. I even looked at a list of Golden Raspberry/Razzie nominees and I discovered that Queen of the Damned was never nominated. With my curiosity still present, I looked through the comment section of the MsMojo video and at blogs on WordPress to see what other movie viewers thought about the film. Although it appeared that few people were talking about Queen of the Damned, most of the responses that I came across were genuinely positive. Even though there were also negative responses about the movie, most of them that I found were about Queen of the Damned not being a good book-to-film adaptation. All of these positive responses inspired me to ask the following question:

 

When one watches a film purely as a film, not as an adaptation, can that film contain its own merit and entertainment value?

 

This question is what I’ll be attempting to answer during this special double feature. Since this is a double feature, you’re probably wondering what movie will be paired with Queen of the Damned. I happened to find it while I was putting together my list of the Top 10 Worst Hallmark Movies of All Time. When I was creating that list back in June, I realized there were a lot of Hallmark movies that I have never seen. The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire was one of them. While learning more about this movie, I discovered this film and Queen of the Damned share some similarities between each other. Not only do both films discuss the subject the vampires to a certain extent, they were also released in 2002 and are both considered non-canonical representations of their literary source material. Now that I’ve gotten this lengthy, but necessary, explanation out of the way, I’ll now talk about how these double feature reviews will be set up. Instead of my usual format for writing movie reviews (Introduction, Things I liked about the film, What I didn’t like about the film, My overall impression, Overall score), I will answer a list of ten questions that I have created. These questions will help in my attempt of answering this question, as well as help me think about these films more critically. As I mentioned in my review of Christine, I don’t review rated R films often. However, because I feel that by talking about Queen of the Damned, I have an opportunity to add something new to this particular cinematic conversation, so this movie will be an exception.

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Before I finish this post, I will list some pre-movie thoughts, questions, and predictions. Each movie will get its own section and I will reference everything I talked about before the movie in my reviews. My pre-movie thoughts, questions, and predictions are the following:

 

The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire

Pre-movie thought: My biggest hope is that in The Case of the Whitechapel Vampire, there’s at least one character who’s a legitimate vampire. When it comes to movie titles, there are times when a film’s title can act as a promise to a film’s audience. For instance, when Marvel decided to give Avengers: Infinity War that specific title, they promised their audience that the Avengers were going to show up in their film.

 

Pre-movie prediction: As Sherlock Holmes and Dr. Watson try to solve the mystery, they come across an actual vampire. Thinking that they’re the culprit, Holmes and Watson take the vampire in for questioning. While they question the vampire, they learn that the vampire is on the same mission as Sherlock and Watson: to figure out who is committing crimes in the neighborhood. Sherlock, Watson, and the vampire work together to solve the crime, while Sherlock and Watson gain more knowledge and appreciation for the vampire community.

 

Queen of the Damned

Pre-movie questions:

  1. I’ve read that in the Interview with the Vampire film, Lestat gets burned alive by Louis. However, within the movie clips from the aforementioned MsMojo video and the Queen of the Damned trailer, it appears that Lestat not only survived this incident, but also doesn’t appear to have any physical evidence of ever having been burned. How exactly was this possible? I’m hoping that one of the characters in Queen of the Damned explains this possibility, even if it is a brief explanation.

 

2. One the biggest criticisms I’ve read about the Queen of the Damned film is that Lestat and Jesse choose to pursue a romantic relationship with each other, despite the fact that these characters never have any type of relationship in The Vampire Chronicles books. If Lestat and Jesse love each other enough to choose to pursue a romantic relationship with each other, then how come it appears, in the Queen of the Damned trailer, that Lestat is trying to pursue a romantic relationship with Akasha? This leads me to bring up my pre-movie prediction:

 

Pre-movie prediction: Lestat’s affection for Akasha is all an act. He is trying to distract Akasha so that the other vampires in that particular vampire world can create and execute a plan to defeat Akasha. This entire plan that I just mentioned was all Jesse’s idea. It would make sense because, from what I’ve heard, Jesse is a vampire expert, so she would know how to defeat a vampire.

 

  1. Are Jesse and Akasha in love with Lestat or are they in love with the idea of being in a relationship with him? For instance, does Jesse see Lestat as a potential significant other or something to brag about?

 

Both of these reviews will appear on 18 Cinema Lane closer to Halloween, so stay tuned!

 

Have fun at the movies!

Sally Silverscreen

 

If you want to check out the references I mentioned in this post you can type in “Top 10 Movies Based on Books That Need a Do-Over” into Youtube’s search bar and visit this link:

https://www.thetoptens.com/the-most-disappointing-movies-of-all-time/ (I just want to let you know, there is some language and rated R movies on this list)