Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Bloody Nightmares #12: I Dream Of Dracula (2003)

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There are many things painfully wrong with Jim Haggerty's no-budget vampire horror-comedy I Dream Of Dracula, but perhaps the most crippling is that it simply isn't the least bit fun. Technical and performance issues aside (and there are plenty of both), the horror portions have no sense of suspense or tension, and the comedy is almost totally ineffective. Characters are presented as broad caricatures that barely resemble human beings, and the humor is so broad it feels like the audience is being bludgeoned with a shovel. I'm not going to criticize someone for tossing a fart joke into the mix, but the comedy here wouldn't elicit guffaws from even the most simple minded teenager. It's a plodding 75 minutes, occasionally spiced up with nudity, that is totally forgettable.

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The plot centers around Priscilla (Michellina Shaffranski), a young woman who has been having dreams of vampirism and has started to believe that she is a reincarnated vampire named, um, Prunella. Her husband Roger (Jae Mosc) suggests that she see her psychiatrist friend Jeanette, but secretly Jeanette and Roger are having an affair and are hoping these dreams could lead to Priscilla being locked away for good. Eventually some gothy, usually naked vampires show up (while occasionally hanging out with Satan, who apparently spends most of his time in a tent) to kill random folks or talk awkwardly with plastic Halloween fangs in their mouth. Things sputter to a close with Priscilla staring awkwardly with her mouth open for eternity before everyone dies. The world's laziest police investigator decides to close the case and Prunella goes off into the night. Good for her.

Even for fans of low-budget cinema, this one is a little tough to get through and the fault has to be laid at the feet of the director. Haggerty gives one of the film's most amusing performances at the promiscuous Gunner, but as writer and director he's rather lost. Any camera movement is rare, and when it happens it's either shaky hand-held, or irritatingly jerky pans (someone should have greased the tripod a little). There are several scenes with a visibly dirty lens, which is particularly distracting during some of the endless dialogue scenes. I will give Haggerty credit for putting in a judicious amount of nudity, but vampire babes are no substitute for a coherent plot. And, I have to be honest, the female vampires are nasty looking. Even unclothed.

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Acting is pretty poor across the board, though Shaffranski is obviously trying hard in the lead, and Jae Mosc hams it up effectively in a role that consists entirely of having a funny wig. The vampire ladies have to battle against fake teeth when giving any dialogue, so i'll cut them some slack. Anastasia Bosakowski-Chater gets the prize for most irritating actress for playing a bed-ridden Van Helsing who shouts nonsense throughout. She does get a surprisingly long vomit scene however.

Lighting and sound specs are decent, but special effects amount to some fake blood slathered on a few necks. Michael Keller provides a reasonable, though unmemorable, score.

Image quality looks fine, though again there are compression artifacts in any scenes with movement (of which there are few). There are dropped frames and glitches in a few places, but nothing particularly distracting.

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I Dream Of Dracula certainly features dreams (in fact, the opening dream is shown in its entirety twice), but unfortunately Dracula is nowhere to be found. Hopefully Haggerty used this film as a learning experience, as in recent years he's been very productive in indie horror. Few laughs and no scares make for a dire viewing experience, and this one is definitely better ignored.



2 comments:

DEXTER said...

- such is long time i indeed succumbed to life's long boring episodes of sarcastic hellish but uninteresting tales. the man i see on top there resembles who i've been looking for a period time now. last time i captured him on the sdpot when he descended stairs with drac's costume on. anybody know his name?? if not, don't matter anyway. thanks.,

viagra online said...

there's so many thing that I envy from Dracula life style, one the immortality, two the seduction power over the young women, and three he can fly.