REVIEW: Dracula Untold (2014)

A moment from the film that was not 100% CGI.

A moment from the film that was not 100% CGI.

Dracula Untold: D

This is an outrageous clusterfuck of superhero origin movie clichés and Transformers 3 levels of CGI nonsense. I seriously couldn’t understand what was happening during the gushers of CGI, and when the camera stopped spinning long enough for me to get it, I was sorry that I did.

There is nothing “Dracula” about this movie. All of the seduction, complexity, and horror is erased completely. What remains is a seriously pathetic Dracula reboot attempt where the character is reimagined as a Batman (pun actually not intended) kind of avenger who, like the protagonist of every kung-fu movie and side scrolling video game, fights bad guys of increasing difficulty until the final battle scene with the “boss”. I suppose if you enjoy vampire movies and want to see a worse PG-13 version of one of those Underworld movies, where vampires do kung-fu, you might like this one. I think this is the only movie I have seen with Dracula in it where Dracula is just not fucking cool at all. He looks/behaves like the lead singer of Creed.

Tywin Lannister plays a cave-dwelling Nosferatu-ish vampire who gives Vlad his CGI abilities. This part is pretty cool. It’s a “deal with the devil” setup where Vlad has to gamble his soul in order to gain vamp-power. Lannisterferatu performs some CGI magic on him and then Vlad is able to do stuff like turn into a CGI swarm of bats, CGI heal from CGI attacks from CGI weapons, and movie at CGI super-speed. He can even create CGI tornados. The only thing he does that is not created by computers is his slow-motion walking/brooding in his trench coat that will make even devout Boondock Saints fans cringe.

There are a lot of “what have I become?” scenes and there is virtually no blood/gore in the battle scenes that interrupt Vlad’s pity party. Like another wretched monster reboot attempt, I, Frankenstein, the fight scenes are CGI-ed into blobs of spinning confusion and virtually all the killing blows are cropped out so that they can score that ever-sought-after PG-13 rating.

If you are someone who is generally unbothered by gratuitous CGI, and you like PG-13 action movies, give this a shot. But I just felt like I was watching a mixture of video games and sadder-than-John-Snow whining woven into what barely passes as a story.

REVIEW: Dracula 3D (2012)


Dracula 3D: D+

This is a retelling of Bram Stoker’s classic with some added nudity, carnage, and a Dracula who looks about as threatening as an H&R Block employee.

The villagers who, in Stoker’s novel, were limited to being terrified background fixtures are more prominent in Argento’s retelling. They have secret meetings that reveal that they live in an uneasy alliance with Dracula. Dracula builds schools for them and loans them money with the understanding that he can eat anyone anytime he wants. As you might expect, some people aren’t really into this arrangement but insubordination is met with decapitation and/or a jugular extraction so for the most part, everyone plays ball.

There’s no England in this one. Harker, Mina, Lucy, Renfield, they all go to the Carpathian Mountains and get fucked with by Dracula, who looks like he’s modeling pea-coats for JC Penny. His hillbilly/gypsy/whatever accolades are an added threat. Van Helsing shows up, played by everyone’s favorite Dutch psychopath, Rudger Hauer. SIT THE FUCK DOWN, HUGH JACKMAN. He avoids a lot of attacks, wields crucifixes, and delivers his lines like a drunk Christopher Walken.

Harker gets turned into a vampire and there are a half dozen scenes where young actresses unburden their breasts from the oppression of constrictive corsets. One of these actresses is the director’s daughter, but you aren’t allowed to find that awkward because this is art!

The story loosely follows the original with the aforementioned alterations being the most significant. Dracula also showcases some new powers:

  1. The ability to turn into an owl
  2. The ability to turn into a swarm of house flies
  3. The ability to turn into a giant praying mantis
  4. The ability to teleport
  5. The ability to deliver telekinetic choke-slams
  6. The ability to look like an innocuous grocery store clerk

The special effects are cheap and include one of my pet peeves: CGI blood. The acting is mediocre and there aren’t any interesting twists on the story. All in all, this was a pointless, disappointing movie from Argento, whom, like I have said, I hate talking shit about. This is devoid of suspense or scares. You’re better off watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula if you want to see something interesting done with the original source material.


REVIEW: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)


Bram Stoker’s Dracula: B+

If you read the description for this movie in the Comcast menu, it says the film is a “highly erotic adaptation” of the classic vampire tale. No kidding! I actually read Stoker’s novel and I can’t recall a scene where Dracula, in half-wolf form, repeatedly gropes/rapes Lucy on a bench while chewing on her throat. I also don’t remember the part where undead Siamese twins give Harker a blowjob.

Whatever; it worked. Everything in the movie is turned up to 11 so when there’s these extra scenes of flamboyant sexual carnage, they fit with the gaudy sets and Victorian costumes.

Anthony Hopkins plays Van Helsing (sit the FUCK down, Hugh Jackman) and he leads a band of do-gooders around 19th century London while they hunt for Count Dracula, played by Gary Oldman. Everyone knows that Dracula can shape-shift into things like bats and wolves and whatnot but few may know that he can also transform from a crusty, yellow old man in a red bathrobe to a sunglassess-wearing stud with flowing locks in a Dumb-and-Dumberesque silly tuxedo. This is some of Oldman’s best work in my opinion. He plays a creepy Nosferatu one second and then a tortured gentleman the next. You’ve got to appreciate an actor who can act through their make-up, especially when they have lines like “vengeance will be mine!”. You feel Dracula’s pain and actually sympathize with him, unlike the Dracula from the book who is a straight-up asshole.

Dracula thinks that Winona Ryder is the spiritual incarnation of his centuries-old true love and he travels to London to permanently establish himself among the populace and rekindle his romance with Victorian era Winona Ryder. I don’t think ANYONE has ever loved Winona Ryder this much! And if you were worried about her acting spoiling things, don’t worry; her BF is played by Keanu Reeves (he of the undead Siamese-twin blowjob) and he waaaaay out-stinks her. It, like, fucking hurts to watch him speak sentences in this movie.

The film has shape-shifting, telepathic bonds, decapitations, boobs, Tom Waits eating bugs, and computer generated energy force fields. The sets are crazy-detailed and the cinematography is mouth-watering. Dracula steals the show, as he should. Really visually satisfying and evil. I recommend it!

REVIEW: Dracula 3000 (2004)



Dracula 3000: D

This is the epitome of early 2000’s straight-to-DVD bullshit with an ensemble of Z-level actors shamelessly coming together for a quick cash-in.

The year is 3000 and a space crew made up of Casper Van Dean, and his lackeys Coolio and Tiny Lister, are on an intergalactic rescue mission which leads them to a secret nest of deep-space vampires who are hiding on a spaceship, trying to make their way back to Earth. When I heard this was what the movie was about, and heard that Coolio raps in it, I was sold. The movie has nothing to do with Dracula 2000 but is instead just another horror “In Space” movie.

The cover for the movie says “IN SPACE THERE IS NO DAYLIGHT,” which makes no fucking sense at all. Aren’t there stars/suns fucking everywhere? Also, the movie is rated R. I seriously don’t see how. There is no gore/nudity and barely any profanity.

The nonsensical tagline on the cover art is a representative of the entire script. A good three quarters of the dialogue is comprised of foreboding one-liners that either make no sense or are elementary puns. There is some typical “in space” stuff. There’s some nonsense with the airlocks, computer controlled doors, and a self-destruct sequence.

The film names everyone after vampire mythology. There is a Van Helsing, Orlock, Mina, etc. Coolio’s name however is 187. What a fucking G. He is bitten, becomes a vampire 3000, and says a dope little rap about sucking blood as he prepares to attack a couple of the human crew members. This is so clearly the best part of the movie and it stands out at a ridiculous level. The rap scene was like a loud thirty person orgy interrupting a muted black and white marathon of Andy Griffith.

There is way worse straight-to-DVD stuff out there and your friends and you can get a fun watch out of this one but don’t expect to see any new ideas or believable acting.