Is alternate history actually Science Fiction?
For that matter, is any movie featuring vampires SF, even if it offers us a genetic explanation for the condition?
Whatever the case, Perfect Creature offers us a dark and elegant vision of a world where a genetic mutation led to the birth of an evolutionary improvement on the human race.
However, while initially feared, they dedicated their lives to the service of ordinary humanity and are now “The Brothers”, a church, of sorts, which wields enormous political power. Thousands of humans donate blood to them, and they use their own blood in their healing rituals. They’ve just developed a vaccine to fight a deadly strain of influenza, and are seen as almost godlike by most people
But something has gone very wrong. One of the Brothers has murdered a human being and has a terrible plan underway to transform the others of his kind into bloodthirsty monsters like himself. Unfortunately, the Brothers, themselves, know far more about what has happened then they are willing to admit: they’ve kept a dangerous secret from the humans and it threatens the balance between the two races. Now it is up to a human cop and one of the senior Brothers to find the murderer and somehow save their world…
It is hard to believe that this accomplished film came from New Zealand. Certainly, it looks far more expensive than its purported 11 million budget, with its retro-futuristic city skyline with zeppelins constantly flying overhead. The crumbling and ill-lit streets look like they came from the nineteenth century – until you notice some of the out of place details, like 12-inch TV screens and the police officers’ World War II vintage Nambu pistols from Japan (which were so badly made that they actually had a pocket on the official holster to carry a spare mainspring!)
It also represents one of the most original variations on the vampire theme to date. I suspect that they’ve been worshiped in one movie or another (the Doctor Who episode, “State of Decay” comes to mind), but the idea of them as saviors of the human race – and part of a deeply ascetic religious order dedicated to service – is perhaps unique.
It is also refreshing to see a movie where all the hints of romance end in nothing more than a single, stolen kiss.
Sadly, its writer and director, Glenn Standring hasn’t done much of anything else since. One has to wonder what else he might have come up with.
Oh, well. Where have I heard that before?