Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Steve Marriott, Dracula (2011).

Your Daily Dracula – Steve Marriott, Dracula (2011).

A 55-minute ‘fan made production’ – with actors greenscreened into backgrounds, odd semi-animated bits (sometimes a bit Gilliam-Python), a lot of Northern accents, a pretty good score and soundtrack, and a cobbled-together script that mostly draws on Jimmy Sangster’s 1958 version with a few lines from the Lugosi film, one plot device from Nosferatu, and yet another rearrangement of how Bram Stoker’s characters relate to each other – indeed, this doesn’t quite settle on whether Lucy is Mina’s sister or sister-in-law.

Jonathan (Arran Green) is sent by Renfield & Sons Estate Agents to Transylvania, where he is bitten at Castle Dracula and turned into a vampire.  Van Helsing (Christopher Bexton) is sent by Jonathan’s friends to find him, and he puts the vampire estate agent out of his misery by staking him after he’s seen to the Valerie Gaunt-like single bride of Dracula.  Dracula travels by sea to England – we get a rainswept Demeter and a Captain’s log narration – and starts feeding off Jonathan’s blonde fiancee Lucy (Victoria Elizabeth Fitz), then we rush through the rest of the plot – transfusion, funeral, Renfield (Louis Ayre) mad, Renfield dead, Lucy biting children, Arthur (Neil Green) useless, Lucy destroyed, Mina (Roxanne Louise) bitten and abducted – before a tussle in Carfax Abbey between Van Helsing, who wears slim shades after dark, and the Count, who is simultaneously stricken by sunrise and staked.

Steve Marriott, who also scripted and co-directed with Bexton and producer Arran Green, is a red-shirted, cloaked, almost underplayed Dracula – but hisses and dribbles blood from time to time.  The collagey look is best used in ambitious visualisations – the Count crawling down the wall then leering with fangs in close-ups, a flash of wolfhead, a Lucy-in-a-spiderweb bit riffing on the John Badham version – but there are some crudities like shots that seem to be stretched or squeezed.


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