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Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D: Three Dimensions of Dumb   Leave a comment

Legendary horror maestro Dario Argento tries to recapture the feel of classic Hammer Studios flicks.

Legendary horror maestro Dario Argento tries to recapture the feel of classic Hammer Studios flicks.

By C. Michael Forsyth

When I saw a poster for Dario Argento’s Dracula 3-D, which had the look of an old Hammer Studio’s movie, I was skeptical. There have been so many versions of the original novel, including Francis Ford Coppola’s big-budget Bram Stoker’s Dracula, was there any point in trying another lavish costume epic? Hasn’t the story been drained dry? But Italian director Argento is a legend in the horror genre, the creator of such masterpieces as the atmospheric and suspenseful Susperia. How bad could it be?

Pretty darned bad, it turns out. I should have taken that “3-D” in the title as a warning.

This stinker received a well-deserved 11 % rating on Rotten Tomatoes. One reviewer put it so succinctly I’ll just quote him: “Argento’s Dracula 3-D is an absolute travesty of a film completely devoid of creativity or imagination. It’s like taking your favorite folklore, stripping it of everything you love, making it as dull as possible, and then lighting it on fire,” wrote Chris Swann of Examiner.com

plays a rather unenergetic Dracula.

Thomas Kretschmann plays a rather unenergetic Dracula.

The best that can be said is that Argento does not simply retell the tale we all know so well. He revamps it with the main elements intact, but details changed in unexpected ways. The problem is that in almost every case, the changes are for the worse. Jonathan Harker does not escape from the castle; instead he’s killed almost immediately — robbing the movie of its logical hero. Instead of Dracula crossing the ocean and menacing Mina in England, all the action takes place in Transylvania. Instead of three brides, Dracula only has one. But three was better, right? Dracula turns into unexpected animals in addition to the usual bat and wolf. Unfortunately, the critters are absurd, especially a giant praying mantis rendered in unconvincing CGI!

AMPLY endowed vampire Tania bares more than fangs.

AMPLY endowed vampire Tania bares more than fangs.

Among the movie’s other glaring flaws: The budget did not seem to allow for set decoration. In scene after scene, whether it be a tavern or a room of a mansion, there is literally nothing on the walls.

German actor Thomas Kretschmann is a lackluster Dracula, injecting the same amount of passion into the role as if he were standing in line at Starbucks waiting to order a latte. Initially, his staid and dignified manner works, when he plays the “old” Dracula Jonathan Harker first meets in the castle. The trouble is that low-energy approach continues throughout the entire film.

The actress playing Lucy is so homely you wonder how she got the part. Oh wait, she’s Asia Argento, the director’s daughter. Which makes the gratuitous nude scene where she’s bathed by Mina a little creepy.

There are a few good things about the movie. Rutger Hauer plays Dr. Van Helsing, though he appears late in the film, has little to do and is not nearly as good as you’d hope he’d be. And Miriam Gionvanelli does an admirable job as the buxom beauty Tania who becomes Dracula’s sole bride, petulant and jealous with the impressive cleavage that brings back fond memories of the great Hammer films. Making one of Dracula’s brides a speaking role was one of the few interesting choices.

THE DOCTOR is in. Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing.

THE DOCTOR is in. Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing.

I did like the twist that the villagers are actually Dracula’s protectors. In exchange for their not heading up the hill to the castle with pitchforks and torches he’s made them wealthy – and even built a school for the kids. The scene in which the town fathers plot against the aristocratic vampire and Drac takes bloody vengeance is just about the only good one in the movie. But sadly, overall I can only give the movie a one out five stake rating.

IN A RELATED STORY…

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women's prison.

PRISON life becomes even more hellish when a vampire epidemic erupts in a women’s prison.


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I’m excited to announce the launch of my first graphic novel, Night Cage! The premise of the horror story is simple: Vampires take over a women’s prison. Just imagine Orange is the New Black meets Salem’s Lot.

The project is being funded through Kickstarter. Folks who jump on the bandwagon will get a boatload of goodies and rewards, ranging from advance copies of the book and exclusive art, posters and T-shirts to a chance to be drawn into the graphic novel as a character!

Please check out the video out HERE, and share the news with all your social media friends!

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

PRISONERS fight for survival against a bloodthirsty army of the undead in the graphic novel Night Cage.

Speaking of horror, if you want a good scare check out my horror novel Hour of the Beast.

In Hour of the Beast, a young bride is raped by a werewolf on her wedding night. When her sons grow up and head to college, things REALLY get out of hand.

In Hour of the Beast, a young bride is raped by a werewolf on her wedding night. When her sons grow up and head to college, things REALLY get out of hand.

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Wrong Turns of Events: Good Ol’ Boys Mistaken for Killers in “Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil”   Leave a comment

BURLY Dale (Tyler Labine) and shifty-eyed Tucker (Alan Tudyk) may look like bloodthirsty, banjo-playing backwoods cannibals, but they’re just misunderstood.

By C. Michael Forsyth

“Tucker and Dale Vs. Evil” is one of the best horror comedies ever! It would certainly have made my list of top ten films in the subgenre if it was available on DVD when I made my picks a while back.

In the movie, a car-load of dimwitted college students on a camping trip encounter two guys they fear are killer hillbillies – but are actually harmless good ol’ boys fixing up their summer house. What ensues is a wild comedy of errors with plenty of over-the-top gore.

Although I’m a fan of the “Scary Movie” series, I found it refreshing that this is not an “Airplane”-type spoof like that, but instead a classic screwball comedy. The humor flows from goofy but basically realistic characters responding to a situation that keeps going from bad to worse. The physical gags – often involving the idiotic college kids accidentally killing themselves in gruesome ways – are handled so deftly that however improbable, you buy them.

I like the reversal of stereotypes. Although Tucker and Dale aren’t the sharpest knives in the drawer, they’re rocket scientists compared to the college kids, who have the survival instincts of barnyard turkeys. There is a sweet love story between one of the coeds and hulking, bearded Dale, played with charm by Tyler Labine.

The heart of the movie is the friendship between backwoods buddies Dale and Tucker (Alan Tudyk). The actors’ timing and chemistry makes them a great screen duo. I’d love to see a series of Tucker and Dale pictures, like the old Abbot and Costello comedies — perhaps battling vampires, zombies or other things that go bump in the night.

NUBILE coed Allison (Katrina Bowden) picks a bad time to go skinnydipping.

The author of this review penned Hour of the Beast , hailed by Horror Fiction Review as “a fast-paced, rip-snorting, action-packed, sexy college romp.” The book is available in hardcover and softcover at Amazon.com. But you can save $4 by clicking HERE! The Kindle version is just $7 and the eBbook is a measly $5. Be the first on your block to read this bone-chilling tale — before the movie comes out.

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