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Cup of My Blood

Directed by Lance Catania

Written by Lance Catania, Kenneth Nilssen

Starring Daniel Patrick Sullivan, Janina Gavankar, Roger Anderson, Lance Mulvaney

Rated R

107 minutes

Well, this one’s a doozy, folks…the first advance look you’re getting from me at a non-Asylum title that wasn’t sent to me direct from the director.

And “Cup of My Blood” is definitely a wonder, I’ll tell you that.

So what we have here is the story of Jack Fender, a bitter, sorrowful wreck of a porn photographer that’s down on his luck…until he manages to get a hold of the Holy Grail.

Yeah, I know…weird. Normally you don’t just GET the Grail, you have to go hunt it up. That’s been the way it’s been in movies from “Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade” to the Monty Python “Holy Grail” for years upon years. And this time, it just falls right into the lap of a guy who shoots porn stills for a living.

Nifty, no?

Anyway, Jack’s got to keep the Grail safe from the Generic Forces of Evil and get it to somebody who’s apparently supposed to have it.

And let me tell you, I hope to God above that MTI manages to engineer its completed editions better than its screener copies. The seven second mark is proof of just how shoddy this is—I can’t even read the entire title crawl. The text is so large that it just overlaps the edge of my screen, and I’ve got a nice twenty seven incher.

Check out the hilarity at the five minute twenty five second mark as the computer, eerily reminiscent of a scene from the DC Vertigo comic “Transmetropolitan” decides it wants some porn. And when our hero shuts the computer down, not seconds later, the computer decides it will not be daunted and brings back the porn.

What do you do in a situation like that? Call tech support? An exorcist? Frankly, neither sounds all that good—think about it.

You: “Hello, Tech Support? My computer won’t stop downloading porn. I shut it off but it just turns right back on again.”

Tech Support Guy, laughing: “Umm…just don’t give it your credit card number.”

You: “Hello, Father O’Shaughnessy? My computer won’t stop downloading porn. I shut it off but it just turns right back on again.”

Father O’ Shaughnessy: “My child, you’re a pervert and a liar. Say five thousand Hail Marys and call me in the morning.”

Now here’s an interesting little bit. Around the fifteen minute mark, some techie who runs a web porn site is going to start rambling, much in the way Laurence Fishburne did in “The Matrix”, about how systems are watching you and suchlike. But pause at the sixteen minute forty second mark and zoom on that screen with the text. A poorly spelled message comes out that actually comes full circle to the topic before it. It reads:

“The system is here to do the theings (sic) the man has not be n (sic) able to do in his shoert (sic) time here on earth.”

It’s a thinker!

And check out the freaky little scene that hits at seventeen minutes fifty eight seconds! It’s an excellent example and an excellent use of the old standard, the jump scene.

More comedy hits at twenty six minutes, fifty seconds. If you don’t laugh, then I weep for your sense of humor.

At twenty nine minutes even, I have to pause and give them a word of kudos. They quote Luke 15:10 out of the Bible and get it right. Rare in direct to video—so often the Bible is some throwaway source document that characters quote from haphazardly, not bothering to get it right. When they DO get it right, I have to mention it out of respect.

Here’s the good news. Everything I just said, as random and haphazard as it sounds, combines together to mean just one thing—this is pretty good stuff. The first half hour is just going to amaze you. It certainly amazed me, and at this point, I’m one jaded individual. I can spot crap from a mile away. I know when lousy special effects are being forced down my throat. And make no mistake—this is a solid title with lots of suspenseful elements, lots of freaky moments, a deep and involved storyline, and even some comic relief.

The ending is a vicious, bloody beatdown that pretty much manages to tie up every loose end in the movie. It’s surprisingly good.

The special features include 16:9 widescreen format, cast and crew commentary, a behind the scenes featurette, deleted scenes, special menus, Spanish subtitles, and trailers for several different movies that I don’t know the titles of because MTI didn’t bother to tell me what they were.

All in all, “Cup of My Blood,” though it looks trite and exploitative at first glance, turns out to be a solid entry in direct to video. Fans of “The Da Vinci Code” and any movie involving the Holy Grail are probably going to be pretty satisfied with this.

Steve Anderson is a film critic who collects action figures so he can dress them up as his favorite horror villains. He lives somewhere in the United States.


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