The Video Vacuum (thevideovacuum) wrote,
The Video Vacuum


They really should’ve called this Dario Argento’s Fred Olen Ray’s Dracula. Like most of Ray’s late night cable films, it’s filled with silicone-enhanced women in various states of undress, terrible effects, and the cinematography and production values of your average episode of Hercules. I don’t want you to misread that as a recommendation. While there are certainly some gonzo moments here, none of them add up to anything worthwhile.

I’m not going to go over the plot. Argento takes several liberties with the Bram Stoker novel, but then again, so does everyone else. So that’s not exactly noteworthy.

Here’s what’s noteworthy: Dracula’s stupid transformation scenes. We all know he can transform into fog and wolves (courtesy of some extremely shitty looking CGI), but in Dario Argento’s Dracula, the Count also becomes an owl, and in the film’s dumbest scene (or highpoint depending on your point of view), a giant praying mantis! Seriously. It’s like Argento just didn’t give one-eighth of a fuck.

Dario Argento’s Dracula is a disappointment on all fronts, really. It’s especially disappointing for me because I really dug his Phantom of the Opera redux. There, he was able to mess around with the conventions of the tale and infuse it with his distinct style and give an old story a new flavor. This one looks like crap. It’s probably the worst looking film he’s ever made. The lighting is way too bright and harsh. I guess he had to make it look that way so the 3-D would work (which is redundant since the DVD is 2-D), but it zaps the film from any semblance of atmosphere.

Even when Argento isn’t visually at his best, he still can deliver the goods. (Case in point: Sleepless.) But this doesn’t even feel like an Argento film at all.

The cast is pretty much a washout. Thomas Kretschmann is more or less useless and unmemorable as Dracula. And the potentially awesome casting of Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing squanders its potential pretty quickly. At least the ever-sexy Asia Argento breathes a little life into the picture as Lucy.

There is a good amount of nudity and an acceptable heaping of gore (my favorite moment was the shovel to the head). And there are stretches where things threaten to come together. However, this Dracula pretty much bites.

AKA: Dracula. AKA: Dracula 3-D.

Tags: argento, d, horror, rutger hauer, vampires, werewolf

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