Cinema/TV, Dracula

Your Daily Dracula – The Batman vs Dracula (2005)

Peter Stormare, The Batman vs Dracula (2005)

‘I thank you for carrying on my legacy in its absence, but now there is room for only one bat-man in Gotham.’

A feature spin-off from the animated series The Batman (2004-8), this is one of those ideas which had to happen sooner or later.

A youngish Bruce Wayne (voiced by Rino Romano) is pitted against an arrogant Dracula (nicely voiced by Peter Stormare), and Batman’s just-starting legend is in danger of being eclipsed by the well-established image of the bat-man from Transylvania.  Duane Capizzi’s script works classic bat-villains into a Dracula story: searching for mob treasure in a Gotham City graveyard, the Penguin (Tom Kenny) discovers the vampire’s staked and chained skeleton (transported from Transylvania) and bleeds on it, then becomes a Renfield-like minion; Dracula turns various Gothamites (‘the Lost Ones’) into semi-vampires, and the Joker (Kevin Michael Richardson) becomes an even-loonier, fanged, wall-walking albino.  Assuming the pseudonym ‘Dr Alucard’, Dracula crashes high society, intent on ritually draining Lois Lane knock-off Vicky Vale (Tara Strong) to revivify his vampire soulmate, Carmilla Karnstein (hauled in from J. Sheridan LeFanu).  Batman synthesises a cure so he can restore humanity to recently-turned vampires, but uses a sunlight generator to dust the Count (overcoming his superheroic reluctance to kill by reasoning Dracula isn’t alive).

Though it has effective, spooky action and is decently-scripted, the film is hampered by blocky, manga-look character designs carried over from The Batman, a less pleasing take on the comics material than the earlier Batman: The Animated Series or the later Batman: The Brave and the Bold.  Directed by Michael Goguen.

Extract from Kim Newman’s Video Dungeon.


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