My first experience with Italian horror was Dario Argento’s Suspiria back in college at East Carolina University. I asked the girl working the counter at the indie video rental store, East Coast Video, for a horror suggestion and that was what she picked. While my friends watched the bright red blood flow in horror, I watched in excitement at the new world I had entered.
When I was offered a preview of Argento’s new film, Dracula 3D, available on Blu-ray and DVD this week, I jumped at the opportunity. His films are fun and over the top and oozing with the reddest paint-like blood you’ve ever seen. Argento is great at concocting the most elaborate and creative deaths, sometimes stomach turning. Why would I expect any less from a film all about an undead man who survives by drinking blood?
Argento severely strays from Bram Stoker’s original story of Dracula. Instead of Harker (Unax Ugalde) traveling to Transylvania to work with Count Dracula (Thomas Kretschmann), he doesn’t travel much further than the town Lucy (Asia Argento) lives in, which is not in England as Stoker had intended.
Instead of slowly going insane in Dracula’s castle over a period of months, Harker is quickly bitten and turned into a vampire. Lucy, instead of the wealthy and well chased beauty she was written to be, Asia portrays her as more humble and warm. Now, I love Asia Argento, but I like her as the dark bitch character she normally plays.
This “normal” thing is just uncharacteristic.
The blood is sparse and the deaths are anything but creative. The use of cheap CGI on Dracula’s transformations take the film from the Hammer Horror feel to that of the film Van Helsing. There is a giant CGI praying mantis.
Why? Can someone please find where Stoker wrote about a giant praying mantis?
The film seems to exist only to show copious amounts of boobs. While this doesn’t sound too bad, those boobs do include Argento’s own daughter. Again, not complaining about the boobs themselves, but I do find it strange that he films his daughter in the nude.
The best part about the film: Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing. Name me one movie, no matter how bad, that Rutger was not good in. Really, I can wait. Unfortunately, he isn’t in the film long enough to save the whole thing. What he does do is make the second half more tolerable.
I still love Dario Argento and I will forever be a fan of his work, but I was not a fan of Dracula 3D. Next time, I’ll settle for an Argento film or a Dracula film, but never again the two combined.