Movie Stream Cast Bonus: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)

MSC Da Sweet Blood BannerOn this very special bonus episode of Movie Stream Cast, Josh and William discuss Spike Lee’s Kickstarter-funded, not-a-vampire joint, Da Sweet Blood of Jesus, which is an unofficial remake of Bill Gunn’s 1973 not-a-blaxploitaion-vampire flick, Ganja & Hess. Da Sweet Blood of Jesus is streaming for a $9.99 digital rental and a $14.99 download on Vimeo for one month before its theatrical debut.

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22 thoughts on “Movie Stream Cast Bonus: Da Sweet Blood of Jesus (2015)

  1. Just, FYI, I just re-watched the film and the horror elements felt far more prevalent the second time around. There’s no question that this is a horror film and William is right to say that it is, at times, a very intense and possibly disturbing horror film.

    As Jay would say over on Horror Movie Podcast, tone is a big part of what makes a film feel like a horror film, and I think my original viewing experience was skewed by the fact that I’d just viewed the terribly oppressive MARTYRS for my HMP segment before watching DA SWEET BLOOD OF JESUS and this felt far less horrific by comparison. With a bit of remove from that other miserable film, this one had a much greater emotional impact on me. Add in the incongruent music selections, the beautiful, sunny locations, and the indie/art film approach and the tone struck me in a less-than-horrific way at the time.

    I still really like it and I’d still say that it is primarily a character-based art film, but the horror is definitely in there. BTW, I also noticed a lot more nudity the second time around. William had mentioned it in his review, but it was part of a side conversation (that got chopped for time) and I didn’t think it was significant enough to try and salvage. I was wrong. The movie is chock-full of nudity. So, be aware of that if you’re sensitive to that sort of thing. Man, I must have been really desensitized by that other awful experience. Crazy, crazy. Rachel would not be pleased. Haha

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  3. I haven’t seen this movie, but I’m definitely intrigued although William’s score has me a little worried. I’ll definitely check it out though.

    • See my comment above re: my updated thoughts on William’s review.

      Also, just really keep in mind that this is a legitimate arthouse film. If you are someone who has to buckle-up for an experience like that, this might not be fore you. It is a horror film without a doubt but far from conventional.

  4. As I’ve mentioned before, I’m not the biggest fan of Vampire movies but this does sound pretty intriguing.

    I do have to ask though, why is Spike Lee using Kickstarter to fund his movies? I get that doing it that way might secure him more creative control but isn’t he like a multi-millionaire? Is it more about the fans feeling they contributed something? Or is he just being a bit of a shyster?

    Please note: I am extremely ignorant when it comes to how both Kickstarter and filmmaking works so none of the above opinions should be taken too seriously.

    • Re: Vampires, this really isn’t a vampire film. It’s an art film.

      Re: Kickstarer, I’ve long been a big supporter of Kickstarter projects and I intend to use it myself someday, as well to fund a project of my own. I think it’s just a great new model for the production of any product, especially art, because you can essentially pre-sell your work to fund the production.

      I think when it all started, we thought of this primarily as a tool for smaller artists, but I think any indie artist, including Spike Lee, should consider this route. It preserves artistic integrity. It cuts moronic studios and investors out of a major portion of the process, which is a good thing.

      Could he afford to pay for it himself? Probably, but let’s be honest, nobody wants to do that. I paid for my first documentary feature out-of-pocket and I’ll probably end up paying for my first fictional feature out-of-pocket, but the idea is to move beyond that so you can make a living from your art.

      This is closest we can get to the good old days of art patronage.

      Spike (and Zack Braff) received some criticism that they were stealing patrons from smaller artists, but I don’t buy that. A lot of people came to Kickstarter for the first time JUST to support Spike, and if they enjoyed that experience, they now know where the site is and how it works. Those of us that were already patrons on Kickstarter probably continued supporting smaller artists as well. I know I did.

      Now, one think I’d like to see is Spike out there on Kickstarter supporting smaller projects himself.

      Anyway, here’s Spike response from his own mouth: http://bit.ly/1sTsPj7

      • Well I do agree that the argument regarding him taking patrons from smaller artists is pretty unfounded and spurious but I still think in this age of rapidly growing financial inequality it’s kind of irresponsible of him.

        Don’t get me wrong I’m totally for ANYTHING that takes the mindless interference of studio executives out of the picture but for a guy with an estimated net-worth of $40 million who likes to consider himself an artist to not fund his own fairly low budget movie just seems a bit hard to swallow for me. I don’t really buy his argument that it’s no different than him crowd-funding his first movies by begging people down the phone because I’m pretty sure a young first time filmmaker passionate about the art form would absolutely fund it himself if he had $40 million lying around. I guess if he said he’d give all the profits to aspiring artists or charities or something then it’d be an easier pill for me to swallow but I’m not aware of anything like that.

        Ultimately though I guess this comes down to my political beliefs. I’m pretty disenfranchised with totally unchecked capitalism at the moment so I guess I’m biased. Either way it shouldn’t have any effect on how the film itself is viewed.

        • Well, I don’t see it as unchecked capitalism, I see it as more of a participatory economic model. A movie like this doesn’t have to be financially successful because there are no investors to pay back, so the artist is allowed to be unfettered, which is really rare in the film INDUSTRY.

          And I also just love the idea of a society that actually supports its artists. We don’t have that in the United States the way they do in Holland or Canada, for example. For me, as a contributor to this film via Kickstarter, I wanted to see this film get made so I helped make it happen.

          And there’s also this element of, If I’m going to buy a ticket to the film, or stream it, or buy a BluRay eventually, why not just buy it in advance of the film being made? Suits me just fine as a consumer of this product.

          • Those are all excellent points Josh but Spike Lee could ostensibly have funded the whole movie himself very easily and still had total creative control and no investor fettering. I guess I’m coming from the naive point of view where any “art” (and I use that term extremely loosely) that I try to make is simply a hobby that I do for my own enjoyment and even though I’m pretty poor I’m willing to spend my own money to be able to make that “art” so to see someone with so much money not needing to/unwilling to spend any of it to make his art maybe just makes me kind of jealous and bitter on some petty subconscious level. Of course I would NEVER judge someone for trying to make a good living off or even get rich off their art, I find it upsetting that most artists get such a short shrift compared to corrupt, inept, soulless corporate executives and middlemen and such. I certainly didn’t mean to imply that the kickstarter model is an example of unchecked capitalism, my target with that remark was the concept of a very rich man unwilling to fund his own passion project. I guess it feels sort of like trickle-up economics. But I’d never suggest that he shouldn’t be allowed to use Kickstarter or anything like that, just that I question his judgement in doing so.

            Ultimately though I cannot argue with your points regarding Kickstarter as a whole. I too wish the sort of model used in countries like Canada was more wide spread. In the UK you pretty much can’t even be a pop musician any more unless you’re from the upper class elite or win X-Factor. Years ago that used to be one of the few artistic outlets dominated by the working class and one of the few ways to communicate ideas to the masses but the percentage of working class people who make charting records has dwindled to almost nothing. It makes me sick! But as usual I’m rambling and getting off topic here.

            Basically as much as I question Spike Lee’s judgement on his use of Kickstarter I feel that it is justified by the fact that you as a contributor got something out of it. Not just the movie itself, but the feeling that you helped make it happen. I think that makes it a worthwhile endeavour and has a great deal of value.

          • Though I love what Kickstarter stands for and what it enables people to do, and I’m a fan of some of Spike’s joints (though not a fan of his), I think I’m with David on this one. Why rely on people’s money, when you can fund it yourself? That move just makes me think that Spike Lee wanted to make sure that he got his money back, which I think defeats the purpose of art first, money second.

            I don’t think the argument of him taking money away from up and coming filmmakers is completely true, but I think it’s a legitimate concern. What if Kickstarter was flooded with established stars or artists wanting to make their own projects? That would be the end of what Kickstarter stands for. If you only had $5 to give and you had a choice between Zach Braff, Spike Lee, and a nobody, what are the chances that the nobody would come out on top? And I’m not saying to not give your money to the big names, because it’s your money and it’s your choice and at the end of the day, people will support whoever they want.

          • Obviously, my situation isn’t parallel to Spike Lee’s, being that he’s a multi-millionaire, but I can relate as someone with a family trying to make a living in the same–very expensive–corner of the arts. It costs a lot less to pick up a guitar or a paint brush. That’s not a knock, I’m just saying. I’m finally a point in my career that I can even call it a career and not a hobby. The idea is to get good enough that people want to invest in your talent and you don’t have to risk it all everytime you want to make your art. I’ve certainly done that for most of my career so far. I’m sure Spike did it at one point too, MALCOLM X being a prime example. But, Kevin Smith, for instance, was going to mortgage his house to make TUSK, so good on him for trusting his talent that much, but when an offer came around for funding, he snatched that right up because it just makes sense. Hollywood is driven by money, but there used to be a time when a patron supported an artist just because they wanted to see a beautiful painting in the world, like the way you guys have supported Jason’s podcasting because you want to see it continue. That’s Kickstarter to me. Spike brought countless more people to Kickstarter than he “stole” from other, smaller artists. I think that’s commendable.

          • Well I guess we can all agree that anything which makes art less diminished by commerce is inherently a good thing.

    • I think Netflix has a pretty solid horror selection, but I would say that both Hulu+ and Amazon Prime are better. I think their selection is better curated and they have more hidden gems. Netflix seems to have an overabundance of “Redbox horror”, which tends to be terrible in my humble opinion. I’ve seen a few of the movies that Scott cited in his article and they’re pretty bad in all honesty. In my opinion, the best way to have a “perfect library” is to build your collection from scratch. For older movies, I don’t think it’s going to get better than blu-ray and right now there are quite a few companies like Blue Underground, Criterion, Scream Factory, and Arrow Films that are not only putting out great transfers, but are coming up with some über cool original art and packaging. With the rise of 4K tvs, I’m not yet sure if it would be a good idea to wait for the 4K blu-ray, which is scheduled to come out in 2015. For those of you who haven’t yet experienced 4K resolution, let me tell you that the difference is real, and it’s quite noticeable (particularly in oversized tvs).

      Anyway, that’s my take on that. What do you guys think?

      • I agree. I’m a BluRay lover. Especially for classic films. For me, Netflix is a chance to play clean-up and quickly watch a bunch of those Redbox rentals that I normally wouldn’t get around to. There are the rare gems on there as well, however.

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  6. Did William Rowan Jr. just give a Jay rating? I think he did! Just kidding, great cast guys.

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