Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Dracula 3D

DRACULA 3D Directed by Dario Argento. Starring Asia Argento, Rutger Hauer. (2012)BY GRAHAM RAE

Ah, the perils of boredom, eh? I subjected myself to Dario Argento’s World of Incest tonight with…(listens to whisper in ear)…hold on a second…(checks notes for name of film)…sorry, Dracula 3D, because I was/am recovering from having half a wisdom tooth removed this afternoon and needed something to do. This film was an Official Selection at the Cannes Film Festival. Not that that means much, of course, but it’s just more proof that cinematic standards everywhere are going to hell and never coming back.   Figuring that sitting with a mouthful of blood and pain might give me a better-than-usual empathetic perspective on the bloodsucker material at hand (and I’m genuinely right now eating tomato soup to continue the theme)(all my mouth can handle right now), I started it on my laptop…and became mesmerized by just how utterly appalling the film is from start to finish. The Danny Elfman-Ed-Wood-soundaliketrack right at the start didn’t help any, and neither did the monochrome tracking-over-miniatures shot exactly like the one at the start of Tim Burton’s film either.

    I chuckled. Not good omens. It was only after I finished watching the whole slow, boring film that I realized: wee Dario had just finally confessed to us that he is now a shitty hack(nslash) filmmaker, even if only subliminally, and was just inviting us to sit back and enjoy the turgid waste of expensive 3D film that this is. He doesn’t even pull anything from his bag of patented slinky showoff camera tricks to try and distract us from the crap on display: he just lets it all hang out without shame or camouflage or interest. When Coppola made a crappy Drac film, which this effort resembles in some ways, he at least made it look good.   So yeah, Incestula, eh, I mean Dracula, right, right. You all know the Bram Stoker story, right? Then we don’t even need to discuss the script for this film, because it’s just lifted pretty much straight from the book, using a by-the-numbers template invented when they first started making films about the vampire’s ire. I couldn’t believe that Argento would just do an absolutely straight-faced remake (cos that’s all it basically constitutes, a remake) of a film that Universal Pictures could have stuck out during the very early 1930s, only making it seem even vaguely contemporary by making it in 3D, by the inclusion of some heaving naked breasts, and some gore (from seasoned slimeslinger Sergio Stivaletti) ranging from dodgy to passable.

Now break out those whoppers for papa
   Doing an old-fashioned film that belongs to the early part of the 20th century during the early part of the 21st is one of the most utterly redundant things I have ever seen done by a (once) major director, I confess, and as such made it an all the more fascinatingly fucked-up waste of time and effort and energy by all involved. The Giallo Meister takes horror cinema back to the 20th century! Using a film based on a done-to-death-and-beyond book from the 19th! Yay! I must admit, if I was a filmmaker I wouldn’t want to be the one to be known as taking the genre backwards, ignoring nearly a century of vampsuck fangflicks, from 1922’s Nosferatu onwards, but hey – each to their own, eh?   
   I mean, forget all the other innovative vampire films done over the decades and the exciting and interesting things they have done, and just bring out your own, chunky, clunky, utterly outdated (per)version of something that countless other people have done so far, far better than you. Box office dynamite! You could only consider it career suicide if anybody cared much about Argento anymore. Cos well, let’s face it, who does these days?
   I really enjoyed not enjoying this film, which I confess, unfortunately, is my viewing agenda for pretty much any film (with the exception of the stunningly deranged and hilarious FDR: American Badass, a relatively recent discovery I keep coming back to) I watch these days: expect nothing and you’ll always be disappointed. The modern viewing experience is a metaphor for masochism at its most virulent and hopeful-hopeless.
   I admit, I have never been a huge Argento fan anyway, with the sole exception of Inferno, which I thought was great; I have not even seen a film of his made in the last 20 years, and from what I hear I am not missing much. So I felt no real sense of disappointment or betrayal when this hogwash and balderdash (20th century insults for a 20th century film!) hemorrhaged across the undeserving laptop monitor. I guess I should publicly apologize to my much-trash-abused machine, but I don’t want to admit the depth of my sickness to it, or indeed to myself.
Curse you Rae, for revealing my acting secrets!
   Performances? Uniformly bad. I must admit to enjoying Rutger Hauer as Van Helsing. Last shite I saw him in was Hobo With A Shotgun, and his method(one) acting methodology in that nonsense was the same as in this: just furrow his brow a lot in confusion, speak….halt…ingly…hestit…atingly…and just generally come off like somebody with early onset dementia trying to remember where he had put his car keys that morning (in his yogurt in the fridge, no doubt), or if he had left the oven on sometime in 1963. And no, dementia is not funny, but when you watch such a stinky howler monkey as this film you have to try and lighten and brighten the mood as you sit with a gone-tooth coppery bloodtang in your mouth that is not anywhere near as foul as the one the movie left.   If you’re wondering why I have been making incest jokes occasionally during this review, well, it’s very simple. Daddy Dario has naughty daughter Asia get naked a couple of times. The first is during a sex scene when we see her breast popping out of her gown and being massaged by a man from an overhead shot. You start to cringe. Then, later, he gets her totally naked, complete with more up-close-and-personal-interest tittyshots, as she stands in a bath. He films part of her ass from behind, then has her sit down, and has a long slow tracking shot where the voyeur camera creeps closer-closer-closer-to-close-up to her as she sits with her legs crossed and knees up.

We're working on it in daughter/father therapy OK??

   You can’t help but wince at this keep-it-in-the-family Italian (non)sensibility. Still, at least he isn’t brutally raping her, as he did in The Stendahl Syndrome (a film I have never seen for that very reason – an Argento fan friend of mine, Scanny, saw it back in Scotland when it came out, and told me about it), so maybe he’s worked a few issues out with his therapist, or through killing real women, or trampling puppies, or shooting liquid eyeliner or something.   As usual, watching a 3D film in 2D is kind of funny, as you don’t get anywhere near the full effect of things like stakes driven through hearts plunging gorily towards the camera, or eyeballs popping out a la Fulci when a head is driven onto a metal spike, but, well, really…who cares? This stuff is shite in two dimensions, who cares about a whole other dimension of Cash Flaggery? You think Jaws 3D was any better in its original audience-assailing form, or Friday the 13th 3D, or Parasite 3D for that matter?

I rest my case.
No, rest your head on these!
   Well, nearly. The sole redeeming factor in this film is the sumptuous, voluptuous, perfect breasts of the gorgeous Miriam Giovanelli (whoever the hell she is) as Tanja. Objectifying her? Absolutely. But only after she did it to herself, and we can all be thankful that she did. Otherwise we’d have had to make do with nothing but a comic smorgasbord of stuff like a clichéd priest screaming “EEEEEVVVVIIILLLL!!!”; a Dracula who looks like a Liam Neeson who cannot act; a crap CGI werewolf; a hilariously cheesy CGI killer giant praying mantis; 1970s vampire meltdowns; constant bad fading-out scenes; rubbish CGI flies buzzing boredly; a whimpering emo Renfield; lines like Drac whining piteously “I am nothing but an out-of-tune chord in the divine symphony!”; an annoying endlessly fainting Mina Harker; shots of rats done to a theremin soundtrack (more Ed Wood patter!); Claudio Simonetti’s epic emo goth failure end-theme tune “Kiss Me Dracula” (with the full clichéd soundtrack available from ‘Deep Red Records,’ apparently)…I could go on, but why bother? We all have lives to lead and other things to do.   Well, okay, I watched it. I’m not proud, what can I say? I waste a lot of time sometimes. As do you, which you just proved by reading this review. Argento’s career is dead and buried, c’est la vie, no-one lives forever. Nothing more to see here, move along, move along…

Wait! Not so fast Graham, coming soon.......

1 comment:

  1. "Claudio Simonetti’s epic emo goth failure end-theme tune Kiss Me Dracula" Can't wait to hear that!!!


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