Thursday, May 24, 2012

Terror of Dracula (2012) Review

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a tale of Terror and Horror.  The original Vampire, Count Dracula, was neither sparkly, romantic, nor even erotic in any way.  Dracula was a true Monster in every sense of the word.  He fed on the blood, or life force of his victims.  He crept into the bedrooms of his victims, not to merely watch them sleep, but to drain them of blood.  He would entrance them in a spell so that they were unable to break free of his hold.  Like any supernatural Monster, he is extremely difficult to kill and must be staked through the heart and then be-headed.

Most of us know the story of Dracula very well, Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to secure a real estate deal for his law firm.  He arrives at Dracula's Castle and has a meal with Dracula that night.  Harker ends up being seduced and almost killed by Dracula's Brides, before escaping and ending up in a Hospital.  Count Dracula hires a ship to take him to Englund, but when the ship arrives it has no one still alive on board.  Dracula then entrances and turns Lucy into a vampire and then turns his attention towards Mina, Jonathan Harker's fiance.  Dr. Van Helsing is called in to save Mina from the clutches of the Vampire, Count Dracula.

Independent Canadian Filmmaker and Actor Anthony D.P. Mann grew up watching and appreciating the classic Gothic Films from Hammer Studios and Jess Franco Films from the 60s and 70s.  After filming Sherlock Holmes and the Shadow Watchers,  Mann was presented with an opportunity to make the movie he has always wanted to make…Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Being a lifelong fan of the productions from Hammer, he wanted to recreate the look and feel of a Dracula film from that time period.
Terror of Dracula accurately tells the story from Bram Stoker’s novel in loving detail.  Any parts of the story that were left out, were done so because of budgetary constraints.  There are no CGI special FX or even exceptional practical FX or Make-up to be found in Terror of Dracula.  It was filmed on a very small budget of less than $20,000  in Kingston, Ontario.  Most of the sets and backdrops are of the historic Fort Henry in Kingston, Ontario.  Which is a large military fortress built in 1832 to protect Canada from the threat of invasion by the United States after the War of 1812.    Fort Henry made a very nice version of Dracula's castle with it's stone walls and large Gothic doors.   Terror of Dracula made it's world premiere at Shock Stock in London Ontario.   What makes the film stand out are the exceptional performances by the cast.   Anthony Mann stars as the Prince of Darkness himself, Count Dracula and the lovely Denise Wedge as Mina.

Being a fan of the Classic Gothic Horror films from the 60s and 70s myself, I can really appreciate the way Anthony Mann tried to reproduce the look and feel of Hammer on his limited budget.  I think he succeeded in creating a great film that honours the original films.  Terror of Dracula has the makings to become a cult film in the future.  I am looking forward to seeing what he does next…Perhaps Frankenstein or the Phantom of the Opera would be great choices.

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