Tonight has been Bad Vampire Movie night. We started with Dario Argento’s Dracula (2012), starring Rutger Hauer, who apparently got lost on the way to the movie and only showed up about a half-hour before the end. This was a more or less straight adaptation of Dracula, but I could not shake the feeling that it was a spoof of badly-dubbed Italian horror movies. The worst thing I can say about it is that it’s just kind of dull. It’s not too bad, though: I have certainly seen far worse vampire movies.
The second movie was Dracula’s Widow (1988), starring no one. This was a late-1980s feature, filmed in widescreen, which is unusual for this kind of movie from that era. This, too, almost felt like a spoof, but it wasn’t. I bet Larry Blamire and cohorts could make a fantastic movie in this vein (so to speak). Again, it’s not a great movie, but I have seen much worse.
The final movie in our Bad Vampire Movie night is Zoltan, Hound Of Dracula (1978), starring a spectacularly well-trained Doberman and Michael Pataki (of Sidehackers fame) and José Ferrer (winner of the Academy Award and numerous Tony Awards, and the first actor to receive the National Medal of Arts). I am not sure how to describe this film. It’s the best-made movie of the three, in my opinion, but the plot is… strange. The first half-hour is literally the dog’s journey from Soviet Romania to Los Angeles (spoiler: he takes a boat). The second half-hour is a relatively uneventful camping trip (certainly no more terrifying than any of the camping trips I’ve been on). But if you like vampire movies, and you like dog movies, this is your movie: in addition to the title character, it features two German shepherds in prominent roles, and a fair number of canines in supporting roles. And you know, it’s nice seeing German Shepherds with healthy hips, before they got so inbred to please dog-show ghouls. Warning, though: a puppy dies about 45 minutes into the film. It’s not gratuitous or sadistic, though: it happens off-screen, and it’s not played for laughs or gore. If a softie like me can cope with it, small children and pregnant women should be able to handle it just fine (spoiler: the puppy shows up again later in the film). Oh, and there is a beautiful late-1960s Oldsmobile Cutlass convertible that José Ferrer drives around Los Angeles. Truly a beautiful classic American car.