Cinema/TV, Dracula, Film Notes

Your Daily Dracula – Jonathan Oldham as Renfield, Bled (2009)

Your Daily Dracula – Jonathan Oldham as Renfield, Bled (2009)

Sai (Sarah Farooqui), a British artist living in Los Angeles, paints gloomy, sexy, weirdo pictures suitable for Rod Serling’s Night Gallery — which attract Renfield Lieb (Jonathan Oldham), a creepy, courtly type just arrived from Europe (‘your use of dark, sensual imagery is a delight to the senses’) who persuades her to try ‘strigoi’, a hallucinogenic bark (its bulbs look like red mistletoe) which gives her a trip that looks like cheap outtakes from The Company of Wolves as she wanders through a small gothic forest in a red dress (and matching lipstick) and encounters a naked veiny vampire fantasy version of her manager Royce (Chris Ivan Cevic).

Sai persuades a bunch of her friends to inhale the drug (it’s cooked like heroin in a spoon and smoked like crack) and they are all trasnported to the sylvan fantasyland – though not all of them enjoy it as much.  Gradually, reality and fantasy meld – with the strigoi-users gaining the piranha-fangs, CGI-augmented pallor with black prominent veins, slobbering bloody drool and grubby clothes they have in the dreamworld.  Renfield – who has been doing all this to bring Sai into his world and juice himself up so he loses the cracked olf-age make-up which signifies his reduced status — shows up again, ticked off that Sai has dared share her drug, and decrees that she should suffer by losing Royce.  She has gained vampire super-powers which she uses to break the neck of a rival before she can kill Royce and whizz about like the Flash (‘that’s the spirit’).  In the climax, a full bodysuit nosferatu-goblin vampire shows up (Ivan L. Moody as ‘Incubus’ – looking a little like the Les Edwards-derived demon from John Hough’s Incubus) and Renfield taps it for more gore, while Sai shoves a branch through herself.

It’s murky and pretentious (art/addiction/vampirism isn’t exactly a fresh mix), with droning music and carefully-enunciated, hissing gloom speeches from all the supernaturally afflicted (‘don’t be afraid to love forever’).  For a cheap effort, it has some ambition – it uses a lot of optical colour effects – but it’s still minor.  Written by Sxv’leithan Essex; directed by Christopher Hutson.


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