Friday, May 14, 2010

Duelling Draculas

They always come in pairs. Cinema history is littered with cases where movies about volcanoes (Dante's Peak / Volcano), asteroids (Deep Impact / Armageddon), strippers (Showgirls / Striptease), battling insects (Antz / A Bug's Life), siblings with issues about their disabled brother (Clubland / The Black Balloon) and sadistic horror shows based on works of fiction (The Passion of the Christ / Shrek 2). I could go on and on, but I won't. One is usually much better than the other (as for that last example, they're both as bad as each other) and one usually does much better than the other at the box office.

Somehow these movies get the greenlight at precisely the same moment in time and end up being released mere months or so apart. Such is the way Hollywood rolls, I guess.

Now we're set for the battle of duelling Draculas in two new films being filmed soon. First we have Alex Proyas' Dracula Year One that was announced a while back and is set to star Sam Worthington. Today then came news that horror legend Dario Argento is set to wade into the pool of Dracula blood with Dracula 3D. The latter has been quoted as being "a faithful translation of the Bram Stoker novel." If you say so.

Do we really need two more retellings of Bram Stoker's Dracula tale? I'm not so sure about "need", but these two both have things going for them that, for instance, Blade Trinity or Underworld 17, which features vampire and lycans battling each other for supremacy against an army of rampaging mummies, because I imagine that's the only unexplored option for that horrible franchise. In the corner for Dracula Year One will be that we finally get director Alex Proyas returning to the Gothic nature of his fest films The Crow and Dark City. None of this silly Knowing nonsense anymore please, Mr Proyas. You're better than that.

As for Dracula 3D? Well, if the idea of a Dracula movie in 3D as directed by Dario Argento doesn't interest you then nothing else I can say will. Let's just hope that this "faithful" retelling is as opulent as Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula. I know that 1992 film wasn't "faithful" at all, but if ever a movie was made that made me want to experience nothing more than the sets and costumes in 3D then that was it.

Sadie is not impressed.

Of course, one has to wonder why these have both been greenlit. Studios are apparently still under the silly idea that just because the Twilight "saga" is popular then so will anything with vampires. Not the case. Daybreakers, 30 Days of Night and others can attest to that. And since none of these films, particularly the latter, will actually be aimed at the audience of Twilight then I can't imagine the studio is expecting anything more than mid-century grosses like the Underworld films or the last Blade film. And as Alex Proyas has proven, he can't get a hit movie unless it's braindead (like a vampire?) and bombastic (I, Robot and Knowing being examples) so I don't hold out hope.

It will be interesting to see how Let Me In, the American remake of Swedish vampire film Let the Right One In (which grossed $2mil, that's right - where were the Pan's Labyrinth audiences for that culty flick?) goes. I can't imagine it will do well enough to crack the upper echelon of highest grossing vampire flicks. As for Dracula 3D. As long as there's a moment where Dracula bites through the screen and blood appears to poor down the exterior of the 3D glasses I will be happy!


Simon said...

I fear for the future of Argento films. This better blow my mind.

Craig said...

I'm sorry Thirst did not find an audience in the U.S. A real gem of a horror film chock full of inventive plot twists tinged with humour, the film also showcased a superb performance by Ok-bin Kim. Hopefully it will reach cult status through DVD sales/rentals and Netflix.