Friday, December 15, 2017

Vampire Noir: An Interview with Emmy Award Winning Writer Michael Reaves and Team Behind “Blood Kiss”

What do you get when you mix vampires, a classic noir detective story, Emmy Award winning writer Michael Reaves, and the acting debut of New York Times bestselling author Neil Gaiman? You have Blood Kiss, an independent film (coining the term “Vamp Noir”) currently running a successful campaign on Kickstarter. With only ten days left to donate to this film, you’re not going to want to miss the chance to be a part of it.

In a recent interview with SF Signal, Gaiman talked a little about how he became involved in Blood Kiss — giving fans a side of himself they’ve never seen before.What first attracted me to the project,” he said, “was Michael telling me he’d written a part for me. And that it wasn’t a writer.” Blood Kiss will also star writer, director and actress Amber Benson, widely known for her role as Tara Maclay on the television series Buffy the Vampire Slayer.


Amber Benson and Neil Gaiman by Tom Mandrake

DarkMedia had the opportunity to sit down with the writer and driving force behind Blood KissMichael Reaves himself, along with star Amber Benson, and his incredible production team: Illustrator Tom Mandrake, whose dark and ‘moody style’ previously served him well as he worked on Batman and The Spectre for DC Comics; producer, composer, and songwriter David Raiklen, who isn’t only well-known for his crowdfunding success (Space Command), but for scoring hundreds of films, television shows and games, including Heist; and Daniela Di Mase, a producer and Meisner trained actress, who quite literally brings a world of experience to her projects, having studied filmmaking in Italy, France, Miami and Los Angeles.

In a genere said to be saturated with so many ideas, and few of them fresh, Reaves’ vision for his vampire film truly stands out. When asked what makes Blood Kiss unique to the genre, he said “mixing existentialist film noir with vampires” is the thing that will give fans of the vampire genre something brand new to experience. And further still, setting the noir in the Golden Age of Hollywood, according to Reaves, makes “the noir element and the detective element much more archetypal”. Grounding the story in its time and setting was also essential to the point where he removed the “supernatural element” because it was “too jarring”.

Actress Amber Benson, in previous interviews, has said she always welcomes the opportunity to sing, which is something she will have the opportunity to do in Blood Kiss. When asked if she’d like the opportunity to do a full-blown musical film adaptation, she was nothing less than enthusiastic — and up for the challenge. “I would love to do a musical film,” she said, “I had such a blast doing the Buffy musical that I’m like “Bring it on!” to any musicals that wanna come my way. I actually come by my love of singing honestly — as a musical theater whore growing up — did tons of them, and I’m sure that’s where my love of the medium comes from.” Like Neil, Amber has a great deal of respect for Michael and the work he’s created as she added, “I just want to try and do justice to Michael’s script — it’s really brilliant and my job is to not mess it up!”

The production team behind Blood Kiss is equally enthusiastic, with visions of the project that promise a level of style and depth fans and supporters can truly look forward to.

Tom Mandrake on what elements of his experience he brings to Blood Kiss, and how he’d describe a vampire: Much of my work has been on darker characters like Batmam and The Spectre, and that type of dark iconic character, storytelling, use of lighting, choice of camera angles, all relate very well to a noir vampire tale.

Legends, books and film have given us so many different kinds of vampires, it’s hard to know where to start. I guess the only parameters I feel are constants can be distilled into three words…predatory, cursed and nocturnal.

David Raiklen on his artistic vision for the film:  Dark, sexy, and mythic. The style and mood are neo-noir, (and) that has a lot in common with horror. We’re going for a unique look; something glamorous yet bent. The music is re-imagining the Golden Age Hollywood mixed with scary electronica. Lonely horn in the night meets tearing metal. (I’d) love to make it using real locations, costumes and live musicians. I want Blood Kiss to be a film that makes people feel exhilarated and walk away happy.

Daniela Di Mase on how she became involved with Blood Kiss, and what makes it special:  I got involved when Michael decided to go the Kickstarter route. What makes this special is how everyone has come together to make this film happen. Not just Neil, Amber and Tom, but all the support that has been pouring in from our backers has been incredible. People get it. They understand how amazing this film is going to be!

To learn more about Blood Kiss, please visit their official website. To help fund the film, be sure to check out their Kickstarter campaign. And stay tuned for all the latest news on the development of this project, right here on

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DarkMedia is dedicated to bringing you all the latest from the "darker" side of entertainment, music, literature, art, and things that go bump in the night.