At a film festival dominated by subtitled deep-think, you sometimes need a break. You need a meal, or a drink, or a nap. Or, just maybe, you need a movie like Dario Argento’s Dracula. I’ve never been the biggest fan of this schlock-operatic Italian splatter maven, but after such fevered orgies of gore as Suspiria and Unsane, the thought of him going back to the source — going back to Dracula — sounded appealing. Dracula turns out to be ripely entertaining in a kitschy-sincere old-fashioned way. (The kitsch is in how sincere it is.) It’s true, to a far greater degree than I expected, to Bram Stoker’s novel — much truer than Francis Coppola’s version — and the feel is pure Christopher Lee Hammer horror: the fleshy writhing bosoms (though in this case, they’re uncorseted), the blood smeared like tomato sauce across the mouth of Dracula — played, in a very straight 1960s haircut but with a lot of zest, by Thomas Kretschman. In an age of designer vampires, the movie rekindles the grandeur of Dracula. In this movie, he’s the vampire as aristocratic pimp, and when he sinks his fangs into necks, he really acts out the hunger; you can taste how good it tastes to him. Most of the acting is cardboard-hammy-inept (Asia Argento, who of course strips down for her dad, is better than usual — but then, she always sounds like she’s from Transylvania), and the director, who’s now 71, stages his gruesome effects in a way that’s so primitive that they’ve acquired a novel tactility. You can’t skewer eyeballs, lop off heads, and uncork geysers of blood with this much junky ingenuity unless you believe, in your showman’s heart, in the deep sensuality of violence. READ FULL STORY
Tag: Dario Argento's Dracula (1-1 of 1)
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