Blade: House of Chthon

Rating: 
3
Review by Robert Sutton
September 12, 2007

The Movie:

Why is it that every comic book franchise has to go through the "Third Movie Curse"? Whether it's Superman, Batman, X-Men, or Spider-Man, the third time around was never the charm, as each franchise ended up producing a far inferior sequel compared to the first two offerings in each case. From Richard Pryor to Kirsten Dunst musical numbers, each series seemed creatively bankrupt, giving us a film that managed disappoint fans waiting for an awesome film to close out each respective trilogy.

Unfortunately, the Blade series was really no different, sustaining a major drop in quality after the incredibly visceral Blade II. What would have been even worse for the Marvel Comics franchise though, would have been if it had produced the equivalent to Batman and Robin or Superman IV. Instead, screenwriter David S. Goyer decided to take Blade to television. It's still up in the air as to whether this was a bad move considering the show was canceled after its first season, but on the other hand, the pilot episode, Blade: House of Chthon shows some promise, and isn't an insulting as seeing a close-up of Batman with nipples.

Presented on DVD in an Unrated format, this is an interesting addition to the Blade mythos, and offers a good introduction to the series. With a new Blade in tow in Kirk 'Sticky' Jones, the pilot has a fair amount of action, but doesn't seem to try and stretch itself too thin. Instead House of Chthon focuses mainly on the world of its vampire villains and the story of Krista Starr (Jill Wagner), an Army veteran searching for the vampires that murdered her brother.

As the new Blade, Jones has pretty big shoes to fill, and he does a decent job. Frankly, few roles have ever been more perfectly cast than Wesley Snipes as Blade, but thankfully Jones doesn't just try to do an impression; he has his own take on the character and its fairly convincing. Snipes was just so cool as Blade, and struck poses better than any Comic Book character ever on screen, and Jones simply can't match up on that level. Still, he's respectable in the various action and fight scenes, which are on a level close to the Buffy: The Vampire Slayer series.

Wagner is actually a bit better as the torn Krista Starr. Delving deeper into the world of the vampire, it's her temptation to join that society that really poses interesting questions and themes in the series. It helps that she's surrounded by Neil Jackson and Jessica Gower, both of which make for fine villains by presenting a pretty glamorous side to vampirism.

Director Peter O'Fallon does credible work in this, adding in a few light scares and orchestrating the action pretty well. One particular scene involving a barn full of hungry vamps is particularly good, and the story's action finale is pulled off with flair, but not overly impressive. Still the conservative nature of it means that it never oversteps its boundaries, and House of Chthon manages to stay consistently entertaining, if unspectacular, throughout.

The DVD:

The Video
The print on this disc is quite good, as the show seems to have been shot on digital. There's never any problem with the picture being too dark, and there isn't any problem with the transfer. The Pilot is presented in Anamorphic Widescreen with an aspect ratio of 1.85:1.

The Audio
The Audio track is presented in Dolby Digital 5.1 and also sounds quite nice. There's never any problems making out dialogue, as action and score never overpower it.

SPECIAL FEATURES:

Audio Commentaries - You get two commentary tracks on the disc, one by Director Peter O'Fallon and another by writers/producers David S. Goyer and Geoff Johns. O'Fallon's is a little dry, but keeps coming with the tidbits. Goyer and Johns' commentary is a lot more fun, as they talk about where they really wanted to go with this series and how it fits into the mythos. The track does feel a little self congratulatory, but is still pretty entertaining throughout.

Turning Blade - This is a seven part documentary about the making of the series and runs over an hour. This is actually a pretty good documentary and is really thorough when it comes to the production. Goyer is all over this documentary, and Kirk Jones is pretty vocal about why he got chosen to be the successor to Wesley Snipes.

Trailers - You get a ton of trailers for New Line and WB movies, including the new Superman/Doomsday Direct to DVD feature. There's also a lot of TV spots for this series as well.

Fanged Films

Hong Kong, 1980
Close Encounters of the Spooky Kind / Encounters of the Spooky Kind / Ghost Against Ghost / Gwai Ckui Gwai / Spooky Encounters
Italy, 1913

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?

Vol. 1 No. 9
Blood of the Damned Chapter Four
Vol. 1 No. 15
Her Lips Dripped Blood