Well, I think I should do a quick post regarding last week’s Vampire week as I have received a few emails regarding it and the choices…
I have received over 100 emails asking why I did not include the classic 1931 Universal film, Dracula, with Bela Lugosi, or even the Spanish version filmed at the same time on the same cast. Well, I have reviewed both in the not too distant past (favourable, I might add), and I thought that with the sheer number of Vampire movies, this would be a great opportunity to showcase some different films I have not seen yet (aside from Love at First Bite). And you know what? I am glad I did, as I was able to watch 7 great, and different vampire movies. To be honest, I can’t remember the last time I watched seven days worth of good films with a connected theme (aside from Tarantino week). The whole vampire myth has generated so many films that I was tempted to turn this into two weeks of Vampire films. I’m convinced that even with an additional week of movies, I would have managed to avoid watching a turkey of a movie. Yes, with this many movies to choose from, there would be no reason to watch Twilight, or anything like it.
Hell, I think a second Vampire Week should be planned! In fact, why don’t you send me your suggestions (good or crappy) for the next Vampire Week.
Send those suggestions by clicking HERE
So, here we are, with the seventh and last movie of our Vampire movie week. With this movie, 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, we have in a away returned to the beginning. Our first movie of our Vampire week, 1979’s Dracula starring Frank Langella, and tonight’s movie, Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), are both retellings of the classic Dracula story.
Starring the great Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, and taking place primarily in 1897 (with some important scenes happening in 1462). Count Dracula has decided to purchase several properties in London, England and his case has been handed to a new solicitor (like a lawyer), Jonathan Harker (played by Keanu Reeves, with the absolutely worse English accent I have heard in I don’t know how long). Harker has taken on Dracula’s portfolio from a Mr Renfield (played extremely well by Tom Waits), who has since gone completely insane. Harker must travel to Transylvania to meet with Count Dracula to discuss his plan to purchase Carfax Abbey. Once in the hands of Dracula, he soon finds that he is a prisoner. While there are some perks (there are some pretty sexy vampire chicks), he escapes, a changed man, and heads back to London. Dracula, himself changed from a decrepit, creepy old man, to a now dashing young gentleman, has put a spell on Harker’s fiancé, Mina (played by Winona Rider who also struggles with her accent… though nothing like Keanu’s). Oh… He also seduces, rapes and drains Lucy, Mina’s friend. Yeah, this is Dracula – he does stuff like that. Enter Van Helsing, (portrayed by Anthony Hopkins) everybody’s favourite Vampire hunter.
Okay – this is the classic Dracula story, retold in 1992 with a good cast and a big budget. Director Francis Ford Coppola did a good job bringing the story back to the screen in this very watchable retelling. Is it better than the 1979 version? I wouldn’t say so, but it is good enough to watch and enjoy. Also, it’s good enough to forgive that awful accent of Reeve’s. Check out the trailer below:
George A. Romero’s 1976 (or 1977 or even 1978 depending on your source), film, Martin, tells the tale of a man, Martin, who may or may not be a vampire…
Martin is a weird film. John Amplas played the title role, a weird, young looking man who has come to live with his great uncle, Tateh Cuda, an Old World Man who accuses Martin of being a Vampire – referring to him as Nosferatu. It doesn’t help that in the opening minutes of the film, we witness Martin drug, rape and bleed a woman on the train he took to get to said Uncle’s house. Once at the house, his uncle instructs Martin forcefully not to speak to Christine (a cousin I believe), and then goes about trying various traditional Vampire repellents (you know, like garlic and crucifixes), but Martin let’s him know that there’s no real magic. Martin starts working at Tateh’s butcher shop and meets local women while making deliveries – these woman later become his victims (or meals, if you will). One of these women eventually becomes Martin’s lover (she’s cheating on her husband). She finds herself attracted to Martin’s quietness, and lack of opinions and judgements. Martin, at first, runs from her advances, but after talking over the phone (and on air), with a local late night DJ, he decides to give into her advances. At the same time, while speaking to the DJ, he tries to remove the mystery from Vampirism . The DJ’s audience just eats this stuff up, and Martin is a hit. Martin’s relationship with this woman changes his feeding habits, and the fact that his uncle forbade him from feeding on anyone from their already dying town, so he soon finds himself in Pittsburgh looking for victims. There he manages to feed well, but took chances that almost got him caught twice. Sated, he returns home only to find his love interest has taken her own life. And that event triggers… another major event.
So we have a guy that may or may not be a vampire who is becoming a bit of an anonymous pop icon, sleeping with a local, married woman, living in a home with a Great Uncle who is trying to ward you off, as he is convinced Martin is none other than Nosferatu. This is pretty interesting stuff here and it’s all put together by one of the Horror genre’s greats, George A. Romero (Night of the Living Dead, anyone?). You never really know if you’re watching a vampire or just a crazy guy who believes he’s a vampire. We see scenes in black and white of events that would have to happen a long time in the past, but we’re never told whether or not these are Martin’s memories or figments of his imagination. Add that to the fact that he tells Christine, in passing, that he is 84 years old. What… What is going on here. A good movie – that, my friends, is what is going on here.
Check out the trailer below, and if you get a chance, check out the movie too.
Vampire Week Movie 5 – Shadow of the Vampire (2000)–The Troubles of Casting a Vampire – In Your Vampire Movie
Set during the shooting of the iconic 1922 Vampire film, Nosferatu, Shadow of the Vampire tells the tale of the dangers that can face you when you look for too much realism in your films. Staring John Malkovich as famous German Director, Frederich Wilhelm Murnau, during his filming of the above mentioned Nosferatu. Taking his cast and crew to film on location in Czechoslovakia, where he instroduces the rest of the crew to the star of the film, Max Schreck, whom, Murnau explains, will be in character for the entire time of the filming, and will only be seen at night. Schreck is played masterfully by Willem Dafoe. When members of the crew start to disappear, we see interesting back and forth between Murnau and the Vampire, in which we find out that Murnau has made a very interesting and questionable bargain with the Vampire: His good behaviour for the life of one of his cast. Shame it’s so difficult to deal with the undead.
Shadow of the Vampire puts a new twist to the Vampire movie: it’s a movie about the making of a vampire movie – wherein the Director of said movie chose to hire a real Vampire to play the title role. The cast is composed of a lot of “A” Listers and they all do an amazing job in this unusual film. The story is gripping, and the switch between regular filming, and the representation of what Murnau is capturing on his cameras is a great way to capture the dualism of the story. After watching this, I was compelled to watch the original, 1922 Nosferatu the very next day. If you enjoy horror movies, plot twists and damn good acting then you owe it to yourself to watch this film. Check out the trailer below:
If you like horror parodies like the Scary Movie series, but haven’t seen 1979’s comedic horror classic, Love at First Bite, then you owe it to your self to do so. Starring George Hamilton as Count Dracula, who is forced from his home in Transylvania when the communist government decides to take his castle and convert it to a gymnastics training ground. Taking this as an opportunity to meet the woman he believes he is in love with (from afar), model Cindy Sondheim (Susan Saint James). Setting himself and his bungling bug eating servant Renfield (Arte Johnson) in a New York hotel, and goes about trying to meet Cindy. While in the Big Apple, Dracula learns of the wonders of the blood bank (“We are here to make a withdrawal”), and the dangers of drinking the blood of winos among other things. While winning over Cindy is a cinch for the master of persuasion, Count Dracula, he soon finds himself in a silly, on going battle with Cindy’s psychiatrist and non-committal sometimes lover, Jeffrey Rosenberg (Richard Benjamin), Grandson of Dracula’s nemesis, Van Helsing. Fortunately for Dracula, Rosenberg is nowhere near the Vampire hunter his Grandfather was, and his attempts to out or attack Dracula are absolutely hysterical.
This is a silly silly movie that I absolutely adore. I have watched this movie many times and will watch it again – It’s just plain fun. I say watch this movie.
30 Days of Night tells the tale of a Vampire outbreak in the little Alaskan town of Barrow, during the 30 day polar Night (in the Arctic, there is a period each Winter where the sun sets and does not rise again for 30 days, due to the axial tilt of the planet Earth). A great time for light fearing creatures of the night. Just before the beginning of the long night, strange things start to happen. Peoples cell phones are going missing, and all means of escape from town are either vandalized or destroyed (including dog sled). Once the night hits, it gets weirder when the town’s power is cut. Investigating, the Sheriff, Eben Oleson (Josh Hartnett), discovers that the crew at the power plant have been brutally murdered and the plant vandalized. You see, the Vampires have planned for this night… This is going to be a gory, un-dead versus the unsuspecting soft, humans. Of course there is the hiding to stay safe while one by one the survivors numbers shrink situation – like there is in almost all these movies.
These are dark, dirty, evil vampires. They seem much closer to a complete, separate species than just turned, ancient humans. That said, these Vampires can turn humans into Vampires also, but I did get the feeling that some of them may have been old, greasy dirty powerful killer hominids. I thought it was an interesting take (especially the use of a separate Vampire language). This is not a perfect movie, but it is an enjoyable, action and gore filled bloodfest that I thoroughly enjoyed. Have I seen better Vampire movies? Sure, but I would watch this again and not feel like I wasted my time. Check out the trailer below and decide for yourself if this movie is for you:
A gritty, dark Vampire movie that tells the tale of Caleb Colson (Adrian Pasdar), a small town young man who meets an attractive woman one night and offers her a ride home one late night. Along t he way, insisting on a kiss from her before he drives her home. She kisses him, but also leaves him with a bite on his neck, shortly before she jumps out of his truck and takes off running (home, I guess).
Soon Caleb is struggling , stumbling home in the early daylight hours, smoke billowing from his exposed skin. Spotted by his little sister and father before he arrives at their home, all of a sudden a blacked out recreational vehicle (and RV) drives up and someone quickly scoops him up. Who’s inside the RV but a bunch of bad ass vampires, debating on how to kill Caleb… until the girl that bit him reveals that while she bit him, she did not bleed him, meaning that he too, is now a Vampire, and pleads for his life. They vamps decide to give him a little time to prove himself. Unfortunately he’s not a killer at heart and has trouble doing the deeds that a Vampire must do. The girl that turned him feeds him to keep him alive, though this is something that cannot go on… Failing test after test, the other Vampires want to get rid of Caleb, though he does manage to buy himself a little time by orchestrating a daring escape while the crew of Vamps are holed up and under fire from the police. An incident later leaves Caleb with a decision between the Vampires and his own family… A choice Caleb has no real trouble deciding. Of course the Vampires won’t let someone leave quietly, right?
This is a dam fine Vampire movie. Unfortunately whit was released around the time of the Lost Boys (also a good Vampire movie – but not as good), and did poorly at the box office, despite good reviews. Great performances from leathery tough guy, Lance Henriksen and then up and comer Bill Paxton are just the cherry on the top. If you haven’t seen this movie (and are into Vampire movies), then you must, and if it’s been a while since you have seen it, then it deserves a re-watch.
Check out the trailer below:
There are a lot of movies about Dracula and Vampires over the years and many if not most are pretty damned crappy. Well it is my pleasure to say that the 1979 release of Dracula is a great telling of the Dracula story.
Staring staring Frank Langella in the title role of Dracula, the movie tells the story of the infamous count after relocating to Victorian England. Shipwrecked on the shores of the town he was moving to, Dracula is found on the shore by Mina Van Helsing (portrayed by Jan Francis). Later, to thank Mina for saving his life, Dracula visits the house of Doctor Jack Seward (Donald Pleasance), where Mina is staying while visiting the Doctor’s daughter, Lucy Seward (Kate Nelligan). While visiting Mina has a spell, and while Doctor Seward is quick to suggest a dose of Laudanum, the Count suggests he try to help her, and quickly puts Mina under a hypnotic spell. While under, he commands that she listens to him, and tells her she’ll fell no pain upon waking. Releasing her from the trance, Mina wakes feeling fantastic. Later that night, while Lucy and her lover (and Dracula’s lawyer), Jonathan Harker (Trevor Eve) are fooling around, Dracula appears to Mina in her room, revealing himself to be that Vampire that he is, and drains her of her blood. The following morning Mina passes away while struggling for breath. While everyone is upset, Mina was known to be sickly. Doctor Seward calls for Mina’s Father, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (the great Sir Laurence Olivier), so as to attend her funeral. Upon arriving, Doctor Seward fills in Professor Van Helsing on the nature of his daughter’s death – a great loss of blood. Investigating, Van Helsing starts to suspect a Vampire is the culprit in his death, and does his best to convince Doctor Seward and Jonathan of this also. Meanwhile, Dracula is now casting his spell on Jonathan’s love interest and Doctor Seward’s daughter, Lucy.
Well, I just realized that if I continue as I was above, I would just tell you the entire movie and there would be no need for you to watch it (yeah, right – I don’t write that well). So let me say that I have no problem saying that I think that this is one of the best re-telling of the classic Dracula story. Frank Langella is masterful in his portrayal of the Count. In fact all the actors do a great job in all their roles. Director John Badham does a great job creating moods through lighting and colour – just fantastic.
I think you get the point: I like this movie. Check out the trailer below, and then go find a copy on Blu-ray (or whatever you watch movies on in your dwelling).
1931’s Spanish version of Universal’s Dracula is simply a masterpiece.
Filmed on the same set as the iconic Bela Lugosi led Dracula, but at night when the main shooting was done, the makers of this version had a big advantage: They watched the original being shot and were able to improve any shots that may not have been optimum in the English cut. The acting is top notch, and the sets… well the sets are Dracula sets. The film, being in Spanish was watched with subtitles, and Spanish is a language that I sometimes find too fast for subtitles – but not this time. The pace was perfect.
Apparently the use of the sets of big, English titles to film Spanish films for Universal was pretty normal (hell, it’s a great cost cutting measure), and I am sure there must have been some abominations created this way, but as stated, this is not one. I know that Lugosi’s Dracula is a masterpiece, and I don’t mean to take anything away from that, but I would think that this is better. Significantly better.
Want an interesting look at the classic tale of Dracula? Watch this movie. HEll, watch it here, in full:
Wow… This movie was simply awesome. A slasher/horror flick from 1980, Fade to Black is a real surprise.
Eric Binford (Dennis Christopher), is a movie loving loser, living with his aunt and working at a film distributor. You might say he’s almost a savant when it comes to classic movie knowledge. When he’s not being harassed by his bitchy, wheelchair bound aunt Stella, bullied by co-worker Richie (played by a young, pre-plastic surgery Mickey Rourke) or harassed by his ass-hole, stress-case boss Mr. Berger (Norman Burton), he watches classic movies in his room or attends midnight screenings of classic movies.
Eric makes by chance meets Marilyn O’Connor, an Australian want to be model who looks like… well, Marilyn Munroe. She takes a shine to Eric, and agrees to meet him for a date. Unfortunately, she accidentally stands him up, which shatters Eric’s already tenuous hold on reality. Drowning in pity, Eric goes home and plunges into old movies and depression. His aunt, always the bitch gets to scolding him about his lifestyle and sends his projector crashing to the floor, enraging Eric. Eric, taking a scene directly from the movie Kiss of Death, causes his Aunt and her wheel chair to go careening down a flight a stairs, causing her to die in what appears to others as an accident. Hell, he even attends the funeral dressed as a character from the same film. This sets off a series of murders that Eric perpetrates against people that have wronged him. With each murder, Eric effects a different movie characters, including Dracula, The Mummy, Hopalong Cassidy and Norman Bates (though, as Norman Bates, he doesn’t murder anyone, but the scene is a masterful recreation of the shower scene from Psycho).
While this is going on, the police are trying to track down Eric. Helping them is criminal psychologist Dr. Jerry Moriarty (played by consummate “That Guy” actor, Tim Thomerson), who’s looking for a pattern for these killing (classic movies, Captain Obvious), and getting no support from the police (aside from a female officer who’s doing him). Moriarty’s main road block is Police Captain Gallagher who has no respect for psychology in police work.
The film culminates with Eric luring Marilyn to a modelling job, which is interrupted when the police arrive. Fleeing with a now drugged Marilyn they are chased to the famous Grauman’s Chinese theatre, where in a replay of the final scene from the James Cagney classic, White Heat, he dies in a hail of bullets while sending out a hail of classic cheezy movie dialogue
That, in a nutshell is Fade to Black. If you enjoy horror movies then you owe it to yourself to watch this film.
Here is the Trailer: