"Demon Under Glass" was conceived by fans who wanted to create an intelligent spin on vampire conventions. Script develop and prod were chronicled via internet. What emerges on screen isn't interesting. Tale of a bloodsucker captured for research fritters away premise on dull staging, uneven performances and a lack of scares. Vampire completists accessed via home formats rep sole aud.

“Demon Under Glass” was conceived by horror fans who wanted to create an intelligent spin on vampire conventions. Script development and production were extensively chronicled via internet, with other fans invited to offer their two cents. What emerges on screen isn’t so interesting, however. Vid-shot tale of a millennium-old bloodsucker captured for government research fritters away intriguing premise on dull staging, slow pace, uneven performances and a terminal lack of real scares. Vampire completists accessed via home formats rep sole likely audience.

A blood-draining “untraceable killer,” dubbed Vlad by the press, has terrorized L.A. prostitutes for months, until a police sting manages to seize one Simon Molinar (English thesp Jason Carter from sci-fi skein “Babylon 5″). Exhibiting near-superhuman resistance, he offs several cops and a doctor before being subdued.

Simon wakes up in a sealed-off VA Hospital chamber where researcher Dr. Bassett (Jack Donner) now presides over experimental testing, the project’s originator having been the same doc Simon just killed.

Younger, slightly nebbishy medical consultant Dr. McKay (Garett Maggart) develops a potentially dangerous sympathy toward Simon, who undergoes sometimes tortuous procedures (exposure to sunlight, etc.). Meanwhile, the female LAPD cop who’d entrapped Simon as a faux prostitute (Denise Alessandria Hurd) is haunted by the memory of their kiss.

Eventually, of course, Simon gets loose — but that doesn’t happen until nearly the entire two-hour film has slogged by. And unfortunately, talky pic’s few instances of physical action tend to come off as silly (especially a laughable tearing-door-from-hinges bit shown more than once).

Many parts are played by thesps familiar to convention-attending sci-fi/horror fandom. Their contribs range from OK to stilted, with direction lacking a firm approach to performers, as it does toward creating much sense of atmosphere or suspense. Tech aspects are routine.

Demon Under Glass

Production

A Dragoneer/Earth Dragon Entertainment production. Produced by Jon Cunningham, Lucy Doty, J.D. , Marguerite Lliteras, Deborah Warner. Executive producer, Ralph Lliteras. Directed by Jon Cunningham. Screenplay, Cunningham, Deborah Warner.

Crew

Camera (color, DV), Michael Dean, Morgan Susser; editor, Steve Allen Robison; music, Gottfried Neumeister; art director, Sunshine Lliteras; set decorator, Robison; costume designer, Marie Lecrevain; sound, David Kitchens; assistant director, Daniel Long; casting, Aaron Griffith. Reviewed at San Francisco Horror Festival, March 24, 2004. Running time: 111 MIN.

With

Jason Carter, Garett Maggart, Jack Donner, Denise Alessandria Hurd, Ray Proscia, Harrison Young, Jean Pflieger, Kira Reed.
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