Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
Dario Argento's 'Dracula' opens with a CGI fly through an old village.  The level of CGI on this scene was something that would've have owners of the PSOne complaining about how subpar it this was.  I'm a little concerned.  And around the time Dracula (Thomas Kretchsman) turned into a giant praying mantis and lopped off a dudes dome, my concern was validated as it was clear that Dario stopped giving a damn about his movie and just let the chips fall where they may.  And this is the way one should approach 'Dracula' as it is fairly horrible as a movie, but in the right frame of mind, it is still campy fun.  Is that what Argento was shooting for?  I don't know, but that's what we got.

It's the night of the darkness in gothic era Italy, I guess, and all the doors and all the windows must be shuttered because evil lurks about.  However Tania (Miriam Giovanelli) is feeling a little randy and needs to head out visit her man.  I imagine somewhere in this town a less shapely, more homely young woman might also be feeling randy, but where's the fun in filming that?  So my man handles his business, but doesn't even have the common decency to walk the girl home.  Jerk.  Next thing you know, Dracula and his amazing powers of shape shifting swoop down on poor Tania and now the world is short one crazy hot, overdeveloped young woman of questionable moral value.  At least for a little while.

Now say hello to Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) who has just gotten the plum gig as Count Dracula's personal librarian.  And odd job to be sure, but the count does have a lot of books.  At the castle there are some strange things about The Count that have him a little concerned.  He never comes out during the day, he doesn't eat, and he doesn't seem to cast
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a reflection.  Odd.  And Tania's back and becoming a vampire has sapped what little moral value she used to have.  The strangest thing however, even stranger than the count not casting a reflection, is his fascination with Harker's wife Mina (Marta Gastini) who hasn't even gotten into town yet.  Sadly, Jonathan Harker will learn that being Dracula's librarian… worst gig ever.

And now Mina is in town, greeted by her best friend Lucy (Asia Argento).  Mina just wants to see her husband, but it seems everybody in town is trying to divert her from this simple desire.  Well, not everybody in town.  Apparently some people in town have grown weary of Dracula and the deal they made with him.  Note to self, do not try to alter a deal with Dracula on the fly.  He doesn't like that.  But he does like Mina.  A lot.  Mina however fears the worse for her poor husband and on the advice of a local priest summons the mysterious Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer) to help investigate.  The situation, as it shakes out, is worse than anything Mina could've ever imagined.  Because there's a dude walking around looking like a giant praying mantis lopping dudes heads off.  And this dude loves her.  Why a praying mantis?  Hell if I know.  Ask Dario Argento.

As a bad B-Movie, 'Dracula 3D' has crossed its T's and dotted its I's.  Suspect digital effects, stiff acting, a choppy narrative, and an over flow of bloody goop and gratuitous nudity… including yet more shots of Dario shooting his nude daughter which makes me a little uncomfortable.  I know that Asia has never been the shyest girl in town, and as a true professional, once she steps on set she stops being your daughter and just becomes another actor… but still.  But back on point, if you had a check list of things you wanted to see in a bad movie, including an increasingly haggard and bored looking Rutger Hauer and a man behind the camera who had to be equally as bored, 'Dracula 3D' is your movie.

But of course, in our warped universe, it is this mix of substandard elements which do have the proper mix to make this movie, at least to me, somewhat entertaining.  Thomas Kretschman did his darndest to make Dracula cool and sexy.  He didn't always pull it off, with more times than not his version of The Count seeming bored and detached, but I think that's just my man's acting style.  The dubbing in this movie was so bad that all by itself provided this movie with unintended humor, and while this film was erratically paced, the director did err on the side of speed as opposed to latency.  We appreciate that.  And somebody getting decapitated, scorched, gored, axed in the back or having their head split open was never far away. 

We understand that Dario Argento is considered a legend and as such there were some grand expectations for this film, but that legend hasn't been on display in quite a while so we here at the FCU weren't as upset with this junk as most others.  Yes, it's terrible.  But the terribleness would've been a tad bit more forgivable is the name Argento wasn't attached to the film.  Not recommended for purist of the genre, Oh hell no, but if you like bad movies that entertain, this happens to be one of them.  If you were to ask me.
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