Mitch Powell, Saint Dracula (Dracula The Dark Lord) (2012)
Officially a United Arab Emirates production, this was mostly made in the UK (with a British cast) by Indian writer-director Rupesh Paul.
Dracula (Mitch Powell) is a romantic swain looking for the reincarnation of his lost love (again!), who turns out to be novice nun Clara (Patricia Duarte). Whispering monk Benjamin (Daniel Shyler) is out to impale Dracula for his connection with a string of murders committed by a female vampire who might be one of his cast-offs. Powell, dressed in a red ruffle shirt, talks about love and God, while Benjamin and Clara exchange Bible quotations which consistently seem beside the point. In a long, colour-desaturated flashback, all the principles appear as mediaeval characters analogous to their modern roles. It seems the thwarting of Dracula’s original love thanks to a jealous sister (Suzanne Roche) had something to do with his transformation into a blood-drinking immortal.
About an hour in, Paul includes a sedate musical number (in the Bollywood manner?) with Dracula striding through a pack of ballet dancers in black goth outfits. They return in white under the end credits, suggesting this might once have been a full-on musical (Clara’s singing is talked about but never heard). Just as Clara and Dracula are about to marry, Benjamin appears to throw a large crucifix-handled spear through the vampire’s heart – but Dracula has enough time to deliver a perhaps-blasphemous soliloquy to the figure of Christ on the cross before dying. A Welsh castle and churches and municipal buildings in Liverpool and Manchester add production value and the cast strike poses which are impressive until they have to spout terrible dialogue in deadly earnest. One of the odder Dracula movies, it’s still sluggish, monotonously acted and theologically dubious.
Extract from Kim Newman’s Video Dungeon.
Isolation as mind enhancer? Is this any good? Thinking of Vertigo as a ‘vampire’ movie. (You’ve got Vampire, ‘Vampire’, vampire and ‘vampire’ movies, right? And of course VAMPIRE, and therefore ‘VAMPIRE’ movies. I won’t abuse your hospitality here, suffice to say, Drac Prince of Darkness is a Vampire movie, The Addiction is a ‘Vampire’ movie, get my drift?) Not a canonical pronouncement, more an organisational option – more a pedal bin with specialised compartment … After Hours and Taxi driver can be seen as ‘vampire’ flicks (lower case) … This pedal bin comes with an instruction sheet that in faltering english (by way of Latverian) pleads the case that the Count casts his shadow (but not reflection) across a large chunk of cinema, Cinema, with it’s permanent darkness, was an environment predisposed to accomodate the vampire. Indeed, the vampire has given your culture much. Much if not all ‘Life’-by-night owes a debt to the vampire.
In the age of the agregate, ‘Great’ becomes mediocre, since ‘Greatness’ resides in whatever a majority of us can agree on. If the idea of an ‘elite’ of expert tastemakers is discredited, there is no other option – other than a balkanised network of competing worldviews and opinions, which sometimes overlap and form alliances.
I don’t know about you, but I enjoyed Vertigo more when it had a taint of the unsavoury about it. I’m a Catholic, and I can derive more enjoyment from feeling like I’m committing a small sin by going along with Scotty on his mad obsession. Kim Novak’s hair drawn tightly, the back of her neck, gazed upon predatorily, as the vampire would, cannot be assimilated into the neutral pretences of Arcadia
(I don’t know what that means)