"Are you actually going to wear those?"
That's what my friend Gab asked me as we hopped into our cab to Terminal 5 last weekend. She's talking about the the $130 prosthetic fangs I'm wearing thanks to vampire impresario Father Sebastiaan, and despite the lisp that escapes my lips with every other word, I feel like a serious BAMF. Once the cab sped over the 59th Street Bridge, my heart begins to race. I'm not the biggest fan of crowds (even though I survived TomorrowWorld, which means I could survivepretty much anything), and hearing rumors of the venue's maximum capacity number didn't soothe me.
Still, it's not every day that you get the chance to spend your Friday evening at a 'blood rave.' When our cab arrived, I chased my nerves with a little tequila and walked inside.
A blood rave is exactly what it sounds like. In collaboration with the weekend's New York Comic Con, event, production company BBQ Films set out to re-create the iconic bloodbath from the opening scene to 1998's vicious vampire film, Blade. Everyone's favorite porn star Traci Lords leads a extremely trusting dude into the depths of a meat-packing plants and into a seething mass of revelers gyrating to the sound of late-90s techno. It's an intense scene: the music is thumping, sweaty bodies writing together, and it takes a minute to adjust to the sudden barrage of noise. Just when you start to regain your focus, blood begins to pour by the gallon from the ceiling. Every patron, but the lone lad, is a bloodsucker. He doesn't last long.
The night's blood rave doesn't end in ritual sacrifice, obviously, but it's close. Alongside hundreds of patrons dressed in full vampire garb (many with prosthetic fangs like those I picked up from Father Sebastiaan), some simply showed up to nerd out to the music, a cacophony of tried-and-true electronica not unlike Blade's late-90s soundtrack. Sets from The Crystal Method, mixed with live-action reenactments and clips from the film made the night what it was (the extremely overpriced Bud Lights did not.)
That, and the blood.
The blood, a flowing torrent of acrylic red tempra paint, didn't come until the evening's close. With around 15 minutes left to spare, event staff surrounded the enclosed dance area and, in concert with the thumping beat, doused every fanged fanatic in crimson rain, leaving no one spared. My friend, wincing at the red splotches, covered her beer (it is paint after all) and shifted into cover, but that wasn't the case for me. I opened my mouth (regrettably) and embraced the rave to its core. I'm sure I looked like a maniacal buffoon in desperate need of a napkin, but who cares. In the moment, I was a vampire. An extremely drunk vampire.
I'm a fan of the Blade films, sure, but I didn't come to socialize with the sweaty regulars at underground clubs. I came to see red. Blood-paint started to rain down in sync with the music, bouncing off people's bodies as they leapt up and down and turning into a light mist soak into their skin and their clothes. I shifted back and forth, hoping to cover myself as much as I can; my clothes, face, and hair becoming immersed in this blood-like substance.
When the flood abated, I pushed my through the crowd of hundreds in search of my friend. "Definitely not for me," she squirmed. Not that it really mattered though — despite the mess, the anticipation of the blood mist only yielded a dance party that people only dream about. BBQ Films set out on a mission and achieved it — the "blood" rave, despite its relative absurdity, felt like a scene ripped from the movies.
With my bloodlust quenched, my fangs finally feeling at home in my mouth, I cleaned up and continued on to see what else was in store. The night was still young, and I was hungry.