Dario Argento made Bird With Crystal Plumage, Cat O’Nine Tails, Suspira, and Deep Red. Argento was involved with Leone’s Once Upon A Time In The West and Romero’s Dawn of the Dead. Throw in writing Demons and Demons 2, and Dario has a solid resume.

What would he bring to the Dracula table? Could he compete with Coppola? Would he harken back to the Hammer films of the 1960s? I even like Dracula 2000, so I’m an easy mark.

Alas, Argento went thematic-literal and made his version of Dracula suck. Watching it reduced my frontal lobe to runny oatmeal. Perhaps taking a critical look at this dud will exercise my little gray cells back into some form of organization.

Fun artwork to make suckers believe this is a fun movie. Check!

I Vant To Suck

The movie starts with a font straight from a 1990s Douglas Prescott/Lincoln Child novel. The CGI village onscreen looks like it was stolen from leftover Resident Evil 4 game files, if Resident Evil 4 was rendered on a Turbografx 16.

Research reveals Argento’s Dracula was made in 3D. That explains the opening credits and makes them sadder at the same time – sad to the point Sally Struthers should do a commercial to raise money for those involved with Argento’s Dracula. These folks clearly made the film in a state of creative poverty where they bathed in the same water animals used for a toilet, metaphorically.

The movie starts out with a mother and daughter puttering about their cottage. Right away it is apparent that this movie had to be shot on VHS. The image is soulless, and the lighting is about as flattering as the fluorescent light in the changing room of a bikini store called “You Look Fat And Get Some Clearasil For Your Thighs.”

The daughter sneaks out of the house for a midnight rendezvous with a man in a barn. I wonder how she got into this movie? I feel like a boob for asking it, but was she bosom buddies with the producer? Her first name is Miriam. Is that short for Miriamammaries? Her audition was likely pretty impressive and showed that she was abreast of all of the latest acting techniques.

Why do I have a sudden urge to play the bongos?

Miriamammaries starts home after the tryst and is attacked by a CGI owl that was also rendered on a Turbografx 16. The owl transforms into a vampire and chomps her.

You know how The Howling and American Werewolf In London have amazing transformation sequences? Imagine if those transformation sequences were created by a kindergarten student in between a gender-identity test and crapping their pants. That gives you an idea of the level of technical achievement in Argento’s Dracula.

The next day a train arrives and Not-Keanu de-boards. In an effort to impress the audience with some life-like 3D, the movie puts a CGI bug onscreen for Not-Keanu to shoo away. This is the saddest CGI bug I have ever seen, and I’ve seen the butterfly in Lawnmower Man.

I wish I was watching Lawnmower Man right now. Do you think Ben Stiller based Simple Jack on Jeff Fahey’s portrayal of Job in Lawnmower Man? We have the freedom to ponder these things because Argento’s Dracula demands nothing more of the viewer than the ability to sit in front of their TV and smell their own gas, which should have been the tagline on the poster.

That night, yokels dig up the grave of Miriamammaries. A taxidermist crashes the exhumation and cleaves the skull of a yokel with a shovel. Taxidermist also bites the ear off a guy. He has a crush on Miriamammaries and is distraught that she did not live longer to reject him more times.

Nepotism appears in Argento’s Dracula. Dario’s daughter, Asia, plays Lucy so pure that the character probably feeds wild deer by hand. This does not work, as the essence of Asia is basically a cross between Michelle Rodriguez and Evil-Lyn. She belongs in Vin Diesel movies as a witch.

Not-Keanu goes to Dracula’s castle to catalog his library. Riveting. Miriamammaries tries to seduce him, and her performance would surely earn a grade of DD from any reputable acting coach. At last, Dracula shows up. He is played by one of my favorite German actors, Thomas Kretchman.

What’s my motivation? Self-loathing for being in this movie? Got it…

You know how filmmakers might try to give their villain a grand entrance? Argento subverts expectations, and Kretchman enters the scene with all the pomp and circumstance of a chambermaid. You can clearly read the thoughts going on in Kretschmann’s head.

“I was in U-571 for Pete’s sake. How did I end up here? Let’s just shoot this scene, so I can get back to my trailer*.”

*Said trailer is a U-Haul with a chemical toilet and a cooler full of bologna.

Children Of The Suck

Mina arrives to join her husband, Not-Keanu. Dracula springs Taxidermist from jail. Miriamammaries’ mom gets axed. Asia gets bitten by Dracula. I’m rushing through all this because I have more important things to do, like lie in bed and try to pinpoint exactly where my life went wrong to understand why I subject myself to movies like this. Who hurt me exactly?

Just when I think Argento’s Dracula can’t sink lower, Mina bathes a nude Asia. This scene would have been directed by Asia’s father, or maybe he had second unit do it. Either way, it’s weird. The scene exists for no other reason than exploitation. I’m sure the spin on it would be that the two women are such good friends that they are comfortable with bathing one another.

I know a better way to show the depths of their friendship. One of them could buy Amway products from the other. This scene also strikes me as a potential comedy bit where a director father works with his actor daughter on a 1990s erotic thriller. Can’t you just see it?

“No, keep your clothes on! Get that slattern look off your face! Hey, get your hands off her, buddy!”

Then the director beats up the actor and ends up in jail…

This bath scene also explains where all of the CGI money went. It went toward erasing Asia’s tattoos.

I am chaste and pure, and by chaste, I mean, ‘dirty” and by pure, I also mean ‘dirty.’

After making sure Asia is clean, Mina goes to the castle to visit Not-Keanu. Wolves chase her. The movie occasionally tries to put forth effort, but it is like Minnesota Vikings football. The effort is futile. All it amounts to is the players going back to their mansions and groupies after a loss while the fans go home and try to convince themselves next game will be different.

Not-Keanu is not present when Mina arrives because Dracula ate him. Dracula introduces himself to Mina, and Miriamammaries gets jealous. Mina returns to town and finds Asia dead.

Yokels have a meeting about what to do with Dracula. After carefully weighing the facts, they come to the conclusion he is simply killing too many people. CGI flies enter the room. Somehow, they look worse that the puffed rice used for bees in various 1970s movies. The flies transform into Dracula, and he tears off a head, slits a throat, bites a neck, and throws a sword through a guy.

The last survivor sticks his gun under his chin and pulls the trigger. The bullet travels upward through his open mouth, in slow motion, and then splatters through the top of his head.

I can smell the smoke rising from the Turbografx 16 used to render this effect.

I Never Drink Suck

Rutger Hauer enters the chat as Van Helsing. Is it me, or did Hauer seem to totally give up after Blind Fury (1989). Sure, Nolan coaxed a bit of life out of him for The Dark Knight, but everything I saw Hauer in after Blind Fury seemed like ashes in his mouth.

Rutger goes to Asia’s grave and kills her with CGI fire. This sounds like an important event for a main character, but all of .28 seconds are spent on it. Everything in Argento’s Dracula becomes rushed at this point. Characters die with zero lines and zero choreography. Argento was about 71-years-old when he made this flick. The result gives the impression that he is very tired. I imagine him in the director’s chair, nodding off and occasionally speaking in Biden.

“It’s no joke. The ceiling fans are like bananas. They drove the speed limit. Metamucil.”

Rutger mansplains vampires to Mina. An odd cutaway to Dracula happens where he paces back and forth and yells. It almost looks like Kretschmann was doing warm-up exercises to get into character, and they decided to put it in the movie.

Dracula sends Miriammammaries to kill Rutger. Again, it sounds like an important event for a main character, but Rutger kills Miriamammaries in .28 seconds. Maybe Argento is channeling Ed Wood.

“Bela, I’ve got twenty-five scenes to shoot tonight…”

Just when I think Argento’s Dracula can’t get any stupider, it laughs at my lack of faith. A giant CGI preying mantis creeps into a house and kills another character in .28 seconds.
Am I even watching this movie, or is it all a fever dream as I am strapped down in an asylum somewhere and my brain vomits up the last of its sanity?

Rutger makes silver bullets that may also have garlic in them. I’m not sure, and I don’t care. Rutger goes to Dracula’s castle and kills Not-Keanu in .28 seconds. Not even Not-Keanu, who the movie spent a good chunk of time with, gets a final line. Even something like this is better than nothing…

“Tell Mina… get herself… tested… I lied… it wasn’t just… a cold sore.”

Next, Rutger kills the taxidermist. Of all the characters, taxidermist actually does get a final line, something about his crush on Miriamammaries. Then again, incels are pretty poetic about their unrequited feelings, so this makes sense. Good job, movie.

It all comes down to Dracula putting the moves on Mina. Will she resist or give in? Just when Dracula has her right where he wants her, Rutger shows up. Dracula starts beating him up. Previously, Dracula killed four guys with four blows. Now he punches Rutger roughly 20 times to produce a bloody lip. While Dracula is so engaged, Mina shoots him with garlic bullets.

Rutger and Mina walk off into the night. Dracula’s ashes swirl and coalesce into CGI wolf’s head that snaps at the camera, presumably to put the camcorder operator out of his misery.

Welcome to your new home, the nursing home…

Blah-Blah-Blood Loss

Argento’s Dracula had a budget of $7 million. On opening day in the US, it made $3,085. Its worldwide total was $643,758. What else can one say but…

“My first car was a Buick. It breathed on me like a nurse. You don’t get that personal touch from a duck-hunting vest. One-star. Mentholatum.”

Check back every day for new content at Last Movie Outpost.
To like us on Facebook Click Here
To follow us on Twitter Click Here
See our YouTube channel Click Here