Dracula Part 3, Review by Case Wright (The spoilers you deserve!)


Happy Horrorthon! Part 3!!! Drac is back…..ALRIGHT!!!! So, I decided to break this up and give Part 3 its very own post! Dracula needs to face his inner-self and see what makes him tick and fear. Dracula is in the 21st century in an underground secret lab because…why not?! It kept the story fresh and there’s nothing fresher than seeing a private industry emulate bloated government spending.

He’s not there as long as you’d think because Drac got lawyered up and he fed on Agatha’s descendent, BUT she has cancer and it is poisonous to Old Drac. This creates a good plot twist and has a great payoff at the story’s end. This episode tries to plug in the ideas from the book into this modern twist. However, it wasn’t flawless; the Renfield character never really worked for me because the actor kept playing it for comic relief and thought he was in a Benny Hill sketch. Nina played it well. She represented the Information Age: the veneer of sophistication, but really it is just narcissism with an iPhone.

Nina gets into Drac and claims to not fear age or death, but that’s easy to say when you’re young, hot, and everyone wants to get into your britches. Then, once she got turned into a vampire and was burned into a horrible crisp, she couldn’t get staked fast enough! Nina does do more than just become the world’s greatest Roomba achievement; Nina allows Drac to have a mental breakthrough.

Even though Nina was not really as intrepid about death as she claimed, her purported fearlessness attracted Drac for a reason and Agatha 2.0 was going to find out why! Drac is a Veteran. He wanted to die in battle with honor, but he wasn’t able to do so. His continued existence is his shame. Instead of dying in battle, he feared death, forcing him to live as a monster coward. Therefore, his final act of forgiving himself was to drink the poisoned blood of Agatha 2.0.

Her blood, her love, her life, gave Dracula what he needed- Death. Dracula gave Agatha what she needed: to touch the mystical and, by doing so, she touched the face of God. See, I told you it was a love story.

Dracula Part 2 (Netflix), Review by Case Wright


Happy Horrorthon! Dracula is saaaaaaailing, sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be and he’s eating every one the boaaaat. This episode was almost a bottle episode. Dracula REALLY wants to go to England. I love meat pies too; I can relate! Drac spends the episode eating …. EVERYONE!!! Dracula, Food does not equal love!

Mmmmm Talking Fudge!!!

I enjoyed the episode, but it was kinda rediculous. Dracula was eating everyone and NO ONE really suspected him until the end? Really? Nah, couldn’t be the weird Eastern European guy whose cabin smells like rotting flesh. Really, just look at the guy! No suspicions?!

Dramatization:

SEE WHAT I MEAN!!!!

There are some interesting people on board, but really I just felt like they were kind of a distraction from the much more Frost/Nixon style debate between Dracula and Agatha. Their dialogue was masterful. It pulled you in and it was SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY – Enlightenment Vs Reason! We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the EDGE!!!!

It turns out that Agatha is Dinner. When Agatha awakens, she and the remaining snacks manage to blow up the ship and Dracula is off the coast of England. He’s next to a hole, a hole, a hole at the bottom of the sea! When he wakes, he walks ashore and it’s MODERN DAY with helicopters! I didn’t see that coming, but why not? This was fun!

Dracula (Netflix) Review By Case Wright


Happy Horrorthon fellow travelers. It’s been a awhile. I’ve been struggling with engineering classes and it’s been hard to set time aside for this essential part of my life. How does this relate to Dracula? Dracula at its core is an unrequited love story. It drips with sanguine hopes and failed dreams (pun intended). Really, we’ve all that relationship that we really wanted, but it was always doomed, doomed, doomed.

I got to enjoy this mini-series the best way possible: a live tweet with the TSL staff. Back to Dracula, this series was originally broadcast on the BBC. It took Dracula from the past to the present. I have read most of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s kinda boring, which is why the first episode was uneven in terms of excitement because it held close to the book, which was b o r i n g. Part I established Dracula at home. As in the book, he wanted to see the World, meet new and interesting people in England, and eat them.

To whet his appetite and get waaaaay younger, he decided to feast on a lawyer- Jonathan Harker. This Dracula gets all the memories and knowledge from the people he feeds on, which begs the question: Why travel anywhere? Just hang out at a train station and snack on people. Come on, Drac! I did like how the first episode set up the Courtly Love Interest – Agatha Van Helsing; she’s a Nun with ice water in her veins.

Sister Agatha (Van Helsing) gets a visitor at her convent – Jonathan Harker. He looks dead…well undead. He even has a fly crawl across his eyeball without him noticing. Flies buzzing and crawling about eyeballs is a big theme in this mini-series; you just have to get used to it.

Jonathan describes meeting the Count under the presumption of a land holding trans… sorry I dozed off there. The book was a lot like that too. It would have exciting moments and then BAM… Back to the real estate transactions! As Jonathan stays at the Count’s castle, the Count gets younger and he gets older. His lifeforce is drained away. In fact, all of his memories get drained away as well to the Count after one feeding ah ah ah and then two feedings ah ah ah.. Jonathan appears to succumb to the Count and feel nothing, but his resignation is all an act. DUN DUN DUN!

Jonathan is searching for a way out of the castle and it works….kinda. I mean he ends up at a convent and we learn that he’s undead and under the power of Dracula. This is gleaned from Sister Agatha who relentlessly interrogates …well everyone. I wish she were my best friend. She attracts a lot of monsters, but nobody’s perfect.

Unfortunately, Dracula can sense Jonathan and he has pursued him to the convent. This is where Dracula meets the true love of his life Sister Agatha. She’s fearless, smart, and scientific; the opposite of everyone else whom Dracula encounters. Agatha is a force of reason like Dracula is a force of nature. He represents feudalism and magic, she enlightenment and technocratic future. She is what he aspires to be, but cannot. She hopes that in solving the mystery of Dracula she will understand the mystical and develop her elusive affinity with God.

Of course, by getting close to understand Dracula, Agatha inadvertently allows Dracula to enter the convent and eat everyone, including……her and he does it by wearing a dead man’s face. That was awesome! Gotta see it again!

Two and three will post tomorrow!!!!

Film Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (dir by Burr Steers)


Pride_and_Prejudice_and_Zombies_poster

I had high hopes for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the just-released film which, like the novel upon which it is based, attempts to combine Jane Austen and The Walking Dead.  The source material was good.  The cast — with Lilly James as Elizabeth Bennet, Jack Huston as Wickham, and Matt Smith as Parson Collins — was impressive.  The trailers looked great, promising a combination of zombies, ornate costumes, and a very British sense of humor.  Sadly, however, the ultimate film is a bit of disappointment.

Actually, it’s more than just a bit of a disappointment.  It is a HUGE disappointment.  To have so much promise and then to turn out so bland — well, it’s enough to make you wonder if maybe zombies have become so common place in popular culture that they’re no longer as interesting as they once were.  Don’t get me wrong, as a symbol of the impossibility of escaping death, zombies are great nightmare fuel.  But, when you see them in a relatively bloodless PG-13 film like this, you realize that it takes more than just a few random zombies to make an effective horror film.

Plotwise, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is exactly what it says it is.  It tells the same basic story as Pride and Prejudice, with the exception being that England is now under siege from zombies, the Bennet sisters have now been trained in how to kill zombies, Mr. Darcy (played by Sam Riley) is now Col. Darcy and he’s an expert at tracking down zombies and killing them, and Wickham is now more than just a cad, he’s a cad who wants to help the undead overthrow the living.  As I typed all that out, I realized I was probably making the film sound a lot more fun than it actually is.  And really, the movie should be fun but it’s not.

Director Burr Steers never manages to capture the proper tone for telling this story.  The satire is never as sharp as it needs to be.  The scenes that are meant to pay homage to Austen try a bit too hard to capture Austen’s style without contributing any of her insight and the romance between Elizabeth and Darcy is sabotaged by the fact that Sam Riley and Lilly James had absolutely no chemistry together.  The scenes with the zombies are bland, largely because this is a PG-13 rated film and bloodless zombies aren’t particularly scary.  A typical episode of The Walking Dead is more graphic than anything you’ll see in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.

Which is not to say that there aren’t a few moments when Pride and Prejudice and Zombies kind of works.  It has moments but they’re isolated and they never really come together to build any sort of narrative momentum for the film as a whole.  Sam Riley is a bit of a dud as Darcy but Lilly James, Jack Huston, and especially Matt Smith all give good performance.  (Smith, in particular, is so good as Collins that I would like to see him play the role in an actual adaptation of Pride and Prejudice.)  Early on in the film, there’s a fun scene where the Bennet sisters destroy a horde of zombies and it actually strikes the right balance between comedy and horror.  Before that, we get the traditional scene that we get in all Austen adaptations, of the Bennet sisters preparing for a ball and, in between lacing up corsets and discussing whether they will all be able find husbands, they also carefully conceal the daggers and knives that they will be carrying just in case they happen to run into any of the undead.  It’s one of the few scenes that suggests what Pride and Prejudice and Zombies could have been if it had only found a consistent tone.

For that matter, I also liked the animated opening credits, which wittily explained how the zombies first appeared in England and, not surprisingly, suggested that it was all the fault of the French.  And the film also had a fairly effective scene that shows up in the middle of the end credits and suggested what would might happen if Pride and Prejudice and Zombies 2 is ever put into production.

But ultimately, even those moments that worked only left me frustrated that the rest of the film did not.  For all of its potential, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies disappoints.

Horror Trailer: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies


PrideAndPrejudiceAndZombies

It looks like they’ve actually gone ahead and made the damn thing. I remember writing about news of the Seth Grahame-Smith horror mash-up novel being green-lit for the big-screen all the way back in 2010. Yet, nothing much ever came of it. Directors were hired and the cast was set, but each passing year something would derail the project and things would go back to square one.

Now, over five years since that initial announcement back in 2011 we finally have proof that Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has actually completed filming and will soon be up on the big-screen this February 16, 2016.