Critics Love Vampire Priest Film

Catholic League president Bill Donohue comments on the filmmaker and movie reviewers of Thirst, which opened today in select theaters:

This movie, the work of a Korean ex-Catholic, Park Chan-wook, is about a Roman Catholic priest turned vampire. It is strewn with blood and gore, but that hasn’t stopped film critics from loving it.

The Los Angeles Times commended Park for “constructing beautifully composed images of aestheticized violence.” Too bad Mel Gibson didn’t study under Park: when The Passion of The Christ was released, the L.A. Times blasted it for its “overwhelming level of on-screen violence.”

The San Francisco Chronicle admitted that “Park dwells on disgusting images, from the priest’s throbbing boils to his sucking of victims’ blood through medical tubes, to gory vomiting and various scenes of bone-smashing violence.” But, wait, “There’s a sense of glee in all the mayhem that helps mitigate the shock effects—at least a bit.” This same newspaper found no glee in Mel’s classic, labeling the violence “numbing.”

Stephen Whitty of the Newark Star-Ledger liked the “giddily surreal stuff” of Park’s violence, but saw no fun in The Passion: he slammed it for showing the crucifixion of Christ in “literally nauseating detail.”

A.O. Scott of the New York Times praised Park for his “undeniable knack for choreographing bloody, sensual set pieces.” Moreover, Scott noted the “elegantly presented servings of sex and gore.” But he chided Mel, saying that he “exploited the popular appetite for terror and gore.” That’s right—Mel never learned how to serve his violence with elegance.

Finally, V.A. Musetto of the New York Post predicted that the “windbags at the right-wing Catholic League” would call the film “Catholic bashing.” Not really. It’s actually junk designed to seduce guys like him into thinking it’s art.

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  • htothemax

    One can not compare blood and gore from a vampire movie to that of The Passion. The first is meant for entertainment, while the latter is meant to give us a visual reality to actually how brutal Christ’s crucifixion was in a way that we could not imagine by simply reading the words from the Bible in order that we may see what true sacrifice is and see what God is calling us to be: lovers even to the point of death. So while Park’s work may have been called “beautifully composed images of aestheticized violence,” that is not what Gibson was going for because he was intent on an accurate portrayal of crucifixion, which by no means is beautiful.

  • htothemax, I think Mr. Donohue was being firmly tongue in cheek when he was comparing the two movies, in that he was contrasting the critics words in describing violence from one movie as being obscene, and another as being ‘beautiful’…when actually, violence is violence. But- if you MUST compare ‘Thirst and the ‘Passion, there is NO comparison. One is categorically smut, the other is not. The violence in “Thirst’ even from the brief descriptions given, is truly disgusting along the lines of ‘two girls and a cup’ disgusting, where as the Passion was never disgusting, even tho’ very disturbing, as it was MEANT to be, there was nothing disgusting about it. The fact that the Critic prefers ‘Thirst’ says much about the state of his soul, and his taste. ‘Thirst’ is all about depravity and evil glorified, while further smearing the priesthood, a feast only for demons.


  • The level of appeal that vampires have in popular culture relates very much to how much the culture loves death: