An occasional series where I write about works inspired by Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel Dracula…
These reviews reveal plot twists.
Setting: Other than short scenes at a train station in Germany and Cardinal Siqueros’s mansion in fuck-knows-where, the story takes place in Romania. It’s the modern day.
Faithful to the novel? Being the third film in the Dracula 2000 series, it begins with a vague recap of the previous movie’s plot. Since then, Dracula has headed home to the Carpathian Mountains, so Father Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee) and Luke (Jason London) are now on the hunt. Luke calls his new friend DG (“Damaged Goods… It was either that or Buffy…”) because Uffizi has been tainted by the vampire curse. They go to Romania, which is suffering from a civil war. NATO have been called in and everything, but there are hints that the government forces are actually vampires. Uffizi and Luke find British journalist Julia (Alexandra Wescourt), and eventually they end up at Dracula’s castle, where they find priests impaled on stakes (a neat nod to the Vlad Tepes myth). Julia soon gets drained of blood by Dracula, who finally appears at the 65-minute mark and is now played by Rutger Hauer. ‘Dracula’ is said to be a conceit, a name used simply because it inspires terror. The creature actually goes back as far as Ancient Egypt – which rather contradicts the backstory laid out in Dracula 2000 – and has corrupted all the world’s religions. His castle is full of often-naked women used for their blood supplies. One of them (with clothes) is Luke’s friend Elizabeth from the previous film. Uffizi has a showdown with Dracula and, with Elizabeth’s help, kills him. But then Luke has to behead Elizabeth for her own good, while infected Uffizi takes his place as the king of the vampires.
Best performance: It is shame that they could only afford Roy Sheider for a day’s work. His scene as Cardinal Siqueros shows what a classy presence he could be.
Best bit: Dracula’s first appearance is pretty trippy with staccato editing and double-exposures.
Review: Like the first two films in the series, this is passable hokum. There’s a gag or two, some scary bits, some well-mounted action. But it’s not subtle: English characters talk in Americanisms, Uffizi’s virus has no effect until the plot requires it, Uffizi and Luke stumbles across the next story point whenever they need one, and the middle act is an exercise in killing time until the climax.
Six EBC cameramen out of 10