Wednesday, March 04, 2009

Blood, Boobs and Beast (2007)

John Paul Kinhart's documentary "Blood, Boobs, and Beast" is a loving tribute to the filmmaker Don Dohler. Don who you say? Well Dohler was a filmmaker who gained some prominence back in the early 70's and 80's for his B-films. He is most known for such films as "The Alien Factor", "Fiend", and "Night Beast". All productions that were lovingly created in Dohler's backyard of Baltimore. For the record I have to say that I was exposed to Dohler with his publication Cinemagic which I read voraciously in my youth. I am such a fan that I pre-ordered my DVD back in November of last year.

I was one of Dohler's kids I guess. I carried my cinemagic's around with me and learned from the articles on how to create some cool special effects with my Super-8 camera. From scratching laser blasts into the celluloid, to creating forced perspective shots I did it all. Getting the magazine in the mail was exciting, and it revealed a world of other filmmakers. It's hard to believe that before the Internet there were fanzines that connected readers to the things that they loved.

In todays market the films of Dohler are a bit cheesy and out dated, but they still contain the heart in which they were made. "Blood Boobs, and Beast" is a documentary that tries to capture what Dohler was doing. In later years Dohler rekindled his passion for film making and started a film company called Time Warp Films. Such films as "Harvester", "Vampire Sisters", and "Stakes" were created as low budget video fare to try and get back to filmmaking, but as this film shows it seems as though Dohler was less happy with the results. His fight for telling a story and making an exploitative film was at odds with himself and his partners. You can see Dohler was a gentleman who didn't like the exploitative elements in most B-films.

I'd like to thank the filmmakers for showing that side of Dohler, and showing us a bit more of Dohlers private life. Dohler knew what was important in life. Instead of going to a meeting he instead sticks around to see his grandson being born. His love for his disabled sister is touching and thought provoking. Even how he handles death both his late wife's and his own is courageous. But here is where I have a problem with the film.

I wanted to see more of that. The private man struggling to tell stories he loves to do, while at the same time struggling with a balance between family and obsession. In this case filmmaking. Everyone marginalizes Dohler as a filmmaker, and I find that sad. It probably funny to think that Dohler wouldn't care one way or the other about all this since he did what he did for love of the genre. In the end I felt a bit sad after watching "Blood Boobs, and Beast", and realized that a man of Don Dohler's caliber comes along only a few times during a lifetime if that, and it was sad to know that he is not with us any more.

In the end the documentary is a beautiful tribute, but one that could have been so much better had they explored more of Dohler's character, and less on the triviality of making a film. The film comes with one of Dohler's films "Nightbeast", and though I haven't watched it yet I'll raise a glass in his honor when I view it. Mr. Dohler you left us too soon. God bless!

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