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Dario Argentos Dracula: European Exploitation at its Finest

Dario Argento’s Dracula:

argento-dracula (1)Looking through the Netflix instant cue, I came across Dario Argento’s Dracula. Unfourtunatly this is not a 3D version, but I still had to watch.

I have been a fan of Dario Argento’s work since I first saw Deep Red as a teenager. I am also a big fan of his daughter Asia Argento who plays Lucy in this incarnation of Dracula.

The Look of the Film

This film has an amazingly theatrical feel to it. Complete with stiff acting and oddly distracting mattes’. It really reminds me of the 1970’s Hammer films like Taste The Blood of Dracula.

The Story:

argento-dracula-tanja (1)Argentos Dracula moves the whole story to a small German village, but seems to keep it in the 1800’s. The village itself is barely out of the middle ages, and appears to be very happy to be that way. The only signs of the time, are the local law enforcement, and the modern Lucy.

In this version, Lucy has gotten her friend Jonathan Harker a job as a librarian for the local lord Count Dracula. It is a ploy to bring her school friend and BFF Mina (Jonathans wife) out to Hapsburg.

Argento interweaves the source material into his own story and offers a few surprises along the way.

Jonathans early departure from the film lets us know that we are not safe to assume things to follow Bram Stokers material, and allows us to spend some much needed time with Mina and Lucy. (I can’t help to think the Jonathan and Lucy Harker characters resemble the versions of them we saw in Coppala’s infamous big budget take on the tale)

Van Helsing Arrives

dario-argento-dracula (1)What good is a Dracula movie without a Van Helsing? And who better to play the part then Rutger Hauer?

Although he doesn’t show up until the last 30 minutes of the film, Van Helsing is great fun to watch. He does a nice job of dispatching Lucy, but you real feel this film might be better off without him.

*Spoilers Ahead: If Van Helsing hadn’t arrived Dracula would have hooked up with Mina, Jonathan could have hooked up with Tanja, and Lucy could’ve whored it up for eternity… It would have been a Vampire “Friends”… But no, Van Helsing had to come in and do the right thing.

By the time he, and the priest get to the Dracula’s Castle, you really kind of feel like they are the crazy weirdos in the room. But maybe that was just me.