Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Lock Me Up!: Bram Stoker's Way of the Vampire

Are you ready...for a film that's not as good as the other one.  For all the time I spend mocking Asylum films- and it is a lot-, there are some of them that have good moments.  Granted, some of them are great for all the wrong reasons- i.e. The 7 Adventures of Sinbad.  Any film in which a giant, no-eyed Crab attacks someone on the beach is golden.  In terms of actual quality, the best and most accessible is probably Bram Stoker's Dracula's Curse.  It's not great, but it has some good moments and is never dull.  As it turns out, this movie is a bit of an anomaly.  Most of the same cast and crew would appear in King of the Lost World and The Beast of Bray Road, neither of which was as good.  In addition, the film was essentially remade as Wolvesbayne.  That or the film is a sequel...but I don't really know.  Could anyone please clear this up for me?  What's the point of this tangent?  Well, this film came before it, apparently setting up Ghiles' Van Helsing.  By that, of course, I mean that he just also plays Van Helsing here in a film that doesn't set up anything.  Yea?  The plot involves a sad, sappy back-story and some cheap, present day Vampire action.  To see just how disappointing this, read on...
The film begins in the past with Van Helsing going off to kill some Vampires, leaving his wife alone with one of the Vampire hunters.  Dig this 'Day for Night' bullshit!
 Paul Logan has a cameo as Dracula.  Why?  It was his Screen Test for Mega-Piranha and The Terminators.  He dies...and never shows up again.

Yes, Dracula is relegated to a cameo in a film featuring Van Helsing.
In the Present day, the lone surviving vampire from the battle struggles to survive.  She works for a new Dark Prince, but he's weak and sad.
Leave it to some implied, blood-soaked, four-way action to renew his, um, vigor.  Yes, this scene exists.
 Now empowered, he leads the vampires on a random killing spree.  Van Helsing, meanwhile, is a Doctor...under his own name.  Yes, you're not famous and supposedly died 100+ years ago.  Good cover!
Van Helsing raises a small group of Church members to battle the Vampires.  They're pure cannon fodder, so let me just skip to the final fight.
The whole thing boils down to a Chekhov's Gun in the form of Holy Water, which our hero's girlfriend drinks earlier.  Dracula ingests it, weakening him for the kill.  In fact, it does this so much that...
The orange filter on the film suddenly disappears.  Seriously, was that intentional?  If so, I can't imagine why.

One Vampire escapes, leading Van Helsing to remain alive further to kill all of them.  Did I mention that he was Immortal?  Probably should have, huh?  The End.
This bites.  I'm sorry for the bad pun- not really- but I can't help but feel that this movie is being helped back by it's backers.  The Asylum can make good use of their low-budgets at times, making very focused films.  Even when a whole city is under siege in Battle of Los Angeles, you only really see a dozen people.  This film, however, constantly tries to be bigger than what it could be given.  For example, the titles are played over a montage showing that Van Helsing has been battling vampires between the 1890's and Present Day.  Why isn't that a movie?!?  Van Helsing fighting Vampires during WWI.  Van Helsing battling Vampires during the Mexican-American War.  Van Helsing fighting Vampire Hitler.  That plot has only been relegated into a random dream sequence/flashback in Bloodrayne 3.  To the filmmaker's credit, they try to spice the whole thing up with filters and odd flashback scenes.  Ultimately though, these do nothing to distract you from realizing that you're watching a cheap, no frills Vampire film.  Seriously, why is Dracula only in the intro and the plot actually about this True Blood-looking dude?  Take us away, stupid Van Helsing moment...
Next up, a Review in Pictures for an Asylum film with an all-star cast.  Just kidding- it's Brooke Hogan and Charlie O'Connell!  Stay tuned...

1 comment:

  1. thanks for your review... i directed this film with my eXhusband... it was really tough for all of us on this $50K Asylum feature film.
    see why here~> http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JfdijeMVQXY & director's commentary here http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iZtiBqKdlEI