Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Tales of Dracula (2015)

Tales of Dracula (2015)

A fond, fan-made tribute to the Universal monster rallies of the 1940s, this is brief enough (75 minutes) not to become an ordeal – though amateur performances, lack of action (the Dracula vs Monster fight is a matter of mutual shoving), makeshift direction and incoherent scripting eventually wear thin.  Originally conceived as separate short films, it cuts between sort-of sequels to unmade versions of the Dracula, Frankenstein and Wolf Man stories before loosely tying strands together.

The effect is closer to Al Adamson’s piecemeal Dracula vs Frankenstein than avowed models House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula.  Distinctly different traditions are evoked by its main monsters: werewolf Creighton Reed (Tom Delillo) is a Lon Chaney Jr lookalike, the Frankenstein Monster (writer-director Joe DeMuro) resembles the Karloffian slapdash of Hammer’s Evil of Frankenstein and the stringy-haired Dracula (Wayne W. Johnson) has a dissipated rock star look which has never really worked for the character (cf: Van Helsing, Dracula The Dark Prince).  Holding the thin story together is feminist mad scientist Victoria Frankenstein (Courtney Bennett), who uses a smear of Dracula’s blood to make the Monster even more indestructible.  She foolishly explains what she’s done at length to the Count, who snaps her neck to prompt the final, inconclusive monster battle.

Delillo sports excellent Jack Pierce look make-up, applied in nostalgic lap-dissolves, though his hapless Wolf Man Reed never quite finds a place in the story.  In sub-plots, farmer’s daughter Ilona (Greta Volkova) turns vampire and Professor Von Helsing (Mickey Ray) – the name harks back to Dracula’s Daughter (1936) – broods about not destroying Dracula properly.  Oddly absent from the mix are a hunchbacked assistant and a uniformed police captain.  Made in black and white.

Extract from Kim Newman’s Video Dungeon.


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