Hello everyone! And welcome back!
Before we get started, a word about vampire movies.
When I was a little girl, the very first horror movie that ever made me desperately want to have an insatiable love for the dead was the 1979 version of Dracula with Frank Langella. On our little black and white television, I watched with eager anticipation as Langella’s version of Dracula seduced every woman within a thousand mile radius of him. It was the first time I’d ever seen a movie where I kind of wanted to be the bad guy’s girlfriend...or be the bad guy, whichever.
That being said, I hold vampire movies to a higher standard than I do most other horror movies. Like, seriously, if you want a jewel from me and you’ve got a vampire movie, you better bring your A game.
I have a whole system to it, of course, but I’m gonna save that for another time because this week’s movie...well...it doesn’t really apply. In fact, I’m not even sure I should be reviewing it on a horror blog. Let’s just get into it.
Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary starring Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni, CindyMarie Small, Johnny A. Wright, Stephane Leonard, Matthew Johnson, Keir Knight, Brent Neale, and Stephanie Ballard.
So, if you’ve seen any movie based on the Brom Stoker version of Dracula, then I don’t have to run down the plot for you. If you haven’t, however, I’m seriously gonna need you to stop right here and go watch any version of the story. Consider it a part of your education into horror. I personally recommend either the 1979 or 1992 Francis Ford Coppola versions.
But essentially, this movie basically follows the same story. Dracula(Zhang) seduces young socialite Lucy(Birtwhistle), then her best friend Mina (Small). Renfield(Neale) is a crazy, bug-eating guy with an insatiable love for the dead, and Dr. Helsing(Moroni) and Lucy’s three suitors(Leonard, Johnson, and Knight) all battle Dracula for the poor young women’s souls. No surprises there.
What is a surprise...well...is this:
Yes. This is not so much a movie as it is a ballet. It’s made up like an old silent movie with a soundtrack and all the lines delivered on title cards. And everyone dances.
But I liked the presentation, a lot actually. The xenophobic theme from the original story is played up considerably with the casting of Zhang as Dracula, who, by the way, is positively smoldering. Despite this essentially being a silent film, Zhang and the entire cast emote passion while conveying the story. It was...well, it was really beautiful.
Which is why I don’t think I can give this one a jewel or anything. I mean, don’t get me wrong. I liked it a lot. This is the kind of thing I would love to see live in a theatre. It’s my idea of an Addam’s Family night out… you know, if they were going to the ballet.
But I don’t feel like this was horror enough for me. I mean, sure, it fits the basic definition in that it’s based on a horror story...but…
It was beautiful. It was artfully crafted. It was as gorgeous of a movie as any of the best Brom Stoker Dracula’s have been...but it just didn’t fall into my criteria of horror.
I did like it, though. And if you’re spending Halloween at your grandparent’s house, you can totally put this one and not have to worry about massive bloody scenes or random boobs.
So, okay, next week’s movie we swing into the “E”s with Eddie the Sleepwalking Cannibal. Sounds like a winner. :)