“Blood of the Tribades” is a beautifully filmed and thought provoking commentary on the dangers of tradition and the constraints of gender roles.
Female vampires band together to defeat the foolhardy men governing their society.
The women of Bathory are in grave danger, that much is evident from the very first scene of Blood of the Tribades. Immediately, we understand something has gone wrong in this world—a world we are quickly thrown into, full of history and rich in tradition.
Men and women are promptly separated by the opening monologue branding women as temptresses leading men to sin. Additionally, the men have contracted a mysterious illness categorized by multiple sores clearly covering their faces, and are convinced the women are to blame. “The blood is the life,” the men echo as they drink the blood of Bathor, the one they worship and kill for.
Directors Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola created a mind-blowing theatrical world with breathtaking visuals.
Complete with choreographed fight scenes and torturous punishments in the name of their beliefs, this indie horror film will captivate you. The attention to detail in Blood of the Tribades is most evident during the torture scenes, such as when a man “lacking conviction” is forced to walk across broken glass. The sound effects alone with make you cringe. Additionally, the soundtrack for the film was obviously considered with extreme care. Paired with the striking images, the sense of loss felt from the initial death of Bathsheba (Sophia Cacciola) lingers and deepens as the story progresses.
Faced with possible death at the hands of the men, lovers Elisabeth (Chloe Cunha) and Fantine (Mary Widow) are unwilling to remain complacent and embark on a mission to uncover the truth. While they are in danger, Elisabeth remains strong, declaring, “We are nothing but what we believe ourselves to be.” This calm strength is something most of the women in the film possess. They remain tender and loving toward one another, yet are not without ferocity.
Giltine (Sindy Katrotic), for example, may be one of the fiercest female vampires I’ve ever seen. Her tendency to show up at the last moment to save the women of Bathory from certain demise is empowering to watch. For the most part, however, the women exude a quiet sort of strength that outshines the aggressive killings in which the men partake.
Not only does the film touch on the dangers of religious traditions, but also explores lesbianism and how men fetishize it. The male vampires consider lesbianism a sin, yet they leer at the women as they show affection toward one another. This dismissal of the lesbian lifestyle and simultaneous arousal when confronted with it is, of course, problematic. The film seeks to shed light on the inconsistency. Not to worry, the women get their revenge.
I found little fault with this film, but I wouldn’t be opposed to seeing more gore.
Nudity, however, is abundant—both male and female. It’s only fitting that a film highlighting the issues regarding gender roles would show male nudity as liberally as it does female. The nudity may bother some, but I found it added to the themes presented throughout the film.
Blood of the Tribades is a true work of art.
While easily pegged as a small budget indie film, the gorgeous scenery and the phenomenal acting sets it apart from others in this same category. The haunting soundtrack and minimal, yet notable effects will stick with you long after the end credit sequence. Epstein and Cacciola drew me into this world so seamlessly, I cannot wait to see their next project.
This film is conveniently located on Amazon Prime Video if you’re interested in delving into the settlement of Bathory. If you’d like to view more of Michael J. Epstein and Sophia Cacciola’s work, their newest film Clickbait (2018) will be showing on March 20th at the Boston Underground Film Festival in Cambridge, Massachusetts.