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Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Thomas Downey as ‘Rufus King’/Lord Vladimir Drakula, Dracula’s Curse (2007)

My notes on Dracula’s Curse (2007)

Though the title format, and the casting of bland Australian would-be horror star Rhett Giles as a member of the Van Helsing family, suggests this is a sequel to The Asylum’s Way of the Vampire (aka Bram Stoker’s Way of the Vampire), writer-director Leigh Scott actually starts from scratch with this reinvention of the Dracula saga.

Unlike most efforts from The Asylum (home of Snakes on a Plane, Transmorphers, the C. Thomas Howell War of the Worlds and King of the Lost World), it’s not imitative of any specific contemporary blockbuster – though that hardly makes it original as it scrambles elements from Night Watch, Blade: Trinity, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Kindred: The Embraced (and other role-playing games) and, even, Way of the Vampire.  It feels even cheaper than most of the outfit’s product – taking place almost entirely inside a large abandoned warehouse where sneery-looking types put their toy weapons on a plain table and snarl dialogue at each other.

Jacob Van Helsing (Giles), current descendent of Abraham, is in with a cadre of fearless vampire hunters which includes the foxy Gracie Johanssen (Eliza Swenson, who also wrote the music) and mystery man Rufus King (Thomas Downey).  They are approached by a vampire faction headed by ‘the Old One’ (director Scott), who has a top hat and long white hair, and a truce is proposed – vampires will stop preying on the unwilling if the hunters stop killing vampires out of hand, with sceptical (obvious baddie) vampire Rafe (Jeff Denton) put in charge of enforcing the dictate on ‘the clans’.  This works for a while, but the ambitious Countess Bathorly (Christina Rosenberg) won’t get in line, and is hung up on the notion of drinking ‘the pureblood’ (from other vampires).

After the usual betrayals, reversals and double-crosses, it climaxes (spoiler) with a not-unexpected revelation that King is ‘Lord Vladimir Drakulya’.  Here, the vampire has done a deal with the Devil to live as a man (indeed, as a vampire hunter) provided he doesn’t use his powers.  However, he has to turn into a giant bat creature (in a fantasy wood) to impress on Bathorly (famous vampires all get extra letters in their names here) that she’s not a good person, which means his deal is off and he has to go back to being a hissing fangy creature at the wannabe emotional fade-out.

The martial arts fights or shoot-outs all look like rough rehearsals and don’t even get minimal assistance from, say, convincing sound effects, while the no-name actors (Giles is actually the best performer here) all give off a porno/soap stridency as they rattle through reams of nondescript talk.  Its ambitions are mostly in thinking up its new mythology, which extends to two distinct strains of vampires – inhuman, make-up-buried Nosferatu creatures and regular folks with pointed teeth – and a history that never does get sorted out.

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