Sicilian Vampires and James Caan: Canada's Tommy Wiseau's Cinematic Universe
The history of independent movies has seen its share of delusional filmmakers with more money than cinematic sense, like Tommy Wiseau, Neil Breen, or that kid that paid 10 bucks to record me eating a live snail at age five. Add to that proud pantheon apple juice tycoon and Toronto's best-kept embarrassment, Frank D'Angelo, a man whose high-budget Z-list movies aren't just primed to destroy the very concept of movies but to drag as much of Golden Age Hollywood down with them.
Food industry entrepreneur Frank D'Angelo has everything a Hollywood bigshot is supposed to have: he has the money, he has the passion for filmmaking, and he has the track record of being accused of sexually assaulting young women. The one thing he lacks is the ability to make an even slightly coherent movie. In what has to be the greatest argument ever for a progressive 90% wealth tax, it seems that every couple of years, a bored D'Angelo gathers his 1% golfing buddies to spend millions of dollars co-investing four-wall feature (vanity projects where the filmmaker pays theaters to play their movie) that's produced, written, directed, co-starred and scored by D'Angelo.
The D'Angelo Cinematic Universe has produced such gas giants as Real Gangsters, The Big Fat Stone, and The Red Maple Leaf, a weird Canuck version of All The President's Men -- All The Prime Minister's Men? But his cinematic piece de resistance (and this piece of shit does resist being called cinematic) has to be 2015's Sicilian Vampire, a crime horror film described by D'Angelo as: "Equal parts GoodFellas and Dusk till Dawn " in the same way that a boiled shoe is equal parts steak and lobster thermidor.
Sicilian Vampire is the story of -- no, that's giving the movie too much credit. Sicilian Vampire is an inexplicably dull fever dream where a deleted background extra from The Sopranos gets turned into a vampire. The New Jersey Nosferatu then spends his dark gift either busting balls with his buddies or stalking naive young actresses D'Angelo has paid to do nothing but stand still and let him slobber all over their necks.
You wouldn't guess that Sicilian Vampire had a bona fide budget of roughly $12 million. The movie takes place in roughly 3.5 locations; the wardrobes consist of so many plain black T-shirts that the movie looks like an all-goomba production of 'Midlife Crisis Dad: The Musical' and actors fumble their lines so often you'd think they couldn't afford a single second take.
But that's because D'Angelo film budgets go to only two things: pointlessly buying state-of-the-art camera equipment and hiring geriatric movie stars of yore, whom D'Angelo pulls out of retirement for what's, in essence, the world's most expensive celebrity selfie. Sicilian Vampire alone features a ridiculous cast of classic Hollywood cameos such as James Caan, Paul Sorvino, and Eric Roberts, contributing more to the SAG-AFTRA retirement fund than it ever will to the film canon.
And despite a brief pandemic pause and Caan publicly stating he'd rather die broke than appear in another one of his movies, literally nothing will ever stop the Fellini of the food industry from squeezing out more features. Not the fact that D'Angelo doesn't seem to be making a single cent. Not the fact that all his movies get ignored by critics (maybe because the overly tanned Canadian likes to bully bloggers with Trump-like defamation lawsuits). Not even that so many of his pay-to-play Hollywood pensioners keep dropping dead in the middle of production that the "Dedicated To" credits are becoming longer than the movies themselves.
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Top Image: In Your Ear Productions