Friday, December 05, 2014

The Sins of Dracula – review

Director: Richard Griffin

Release date: 2014

Contains spoilers

I mentioned this film back in May, as the producers had a crowd-sourcing campaign online. I also backed the campaign myself and just the other day my perk of a digital download of the film arrived (and perhaps other producers who have gone down the crowd-sourcing route could learn a lot from the prompt actions of this campaign, it shows respect for those who put their money forward to help complete their project). It was only when I had a quick flick through the downloaded file and noticed actress Sarah Nicklin that I started to put two and two together.

You see Sarah Nicklin also starred in the wonderful, if altogether hokey, the Disco Exorcist a film also directed by Griffin. Griffin also codirected the film Necroville, which was a film I also rather enjoyed. In short I actually know some of Griffin's back catalogue and they are films of which I approve. So, what about this one... Especially when I had pre-purchased the film, so to speak, in the crowd-sourcing.

Billy and Shannon
Before I start to look at the film, however, I need to draw attention to the wonderful film poster posted at the head of the review. This is a full on 70s or 80s Euro-horror and whilst no film should be judged by a poster, it is damned cool. Anyway, we begin in a theatre. It seems deserted except for Scott (Johnny Sederquist) who has come for a callback. He wanders backstage and eventually sees a shadowy figure with an axe. Scott assumes it is a prop until it is buried deep within his midriff.

Billy in the choir
In the local church a choir is in rehearsal, with Pastor Johnson (Carmine Capobianco) directing them. At the end of the song the Pastor dismisses the group but asks lead male vocalist Billy (Jamie Dufault) to stay back. Johnson is concerned that Billy seems distracted. Billy admits that, whilst he loves the choir, he has been thinking about spreading his wings. His girlfriend, Shannon (Sarah Nicklin), has suggested he join the community theatre. At first Johnson is aghast but then gives Billy his blessing.

NuWave and Shannon
At the theatre Billy is introduced to Shannon's theatre friends. This starts with Bandilli (Derek Laurendeau) a drug fiend, and then NuWave (Jesse Dufault) who is a music snob, Lance (Aaron Peaslee) who is gay and Traci (Samantha Acampora) who is a Dungeons & Dragons player. Obviously the highly religious Billy has some difficulties with some lifestyles, but Shannon encourages him to rise above them. If you think the cast of characters a little (80s) clichéd, the film recognises this and indeed Traci suggests that the group had only been missing the "religious one".

Steven O'Broin as Lou
Theatre director Lou Perdition (Steven O'Broin) appears with theatre diva Kimberly (Elyssa Baldassarri). Asked where Scott is, he suggests the young man has gone to Peru. He gives out the new play, an original about Jim Jones, and the cast decide to get a pizza and do a read through. Bandilli realises he has dropped his drugs and says that he'll meet the gang after he's found them. For some reason he goes into the bowels of the theatre and sees Lou and Kimberly at it. Suddenly he realises that Scott's corpse is in the corner and they are using his detached hand as a sex toy.

Dracula's revival
After sex Lou and Kimberly have a discussion about why Scott's blood was not enough for *the revival*. Lou suggests that, because Scott was killed upstairs, the blood was less fresh when he got it downstairs. Plus, the bigger the sin committed by the victim the better the blood. They open a coffin to reveal dusty contents. Lou removes Kimberly's head with his axe and pours blood, from the severed neck, over the dust. Dracula (Michael Thurber) is revived. We cut to Bandilli who phones Traci but, given his drug use, will anyone believe him?

Michael Thurber as Dracula
Griffin has created a wonderful homage to the grand old age of horror. Yes, the blood is too red but that is the point. All the cast play the parts well but special mention has to go to Steven O'Broin whose manic performances as Lou is superb. Thurber looks brilliant as Dracula and, I would suggest in homage to Christopher Lee, spends the film silent (until the penultimate line of the movie). There is a brilliant nod towards the iconic "Let me in" scene from Salem's Lot with a nice twist on the invitation lore.

staked in the forehead!
It is not a spoiler to reveal that Pastor Johnson is a descendant of Van Helsing, however his staking method leaves a lot to be desired. The first vampire he stakes is got in the forehead and a liberal dose of holy water is needed to finish off the job. The main other lore to mention is that Dracula is most definitely a favoured minion of Satan in this and thus religion – and sin – play a big part.

fangs at the ready
Most definitely a film worth catching if you like your classic horror... as suggested this takes slices of 70s and 80s horror movie sensibilities. The DVD can be bought directly from Scorpio film releasing or you can rent and buy the digital version at Vimeo on Demand. 7 out of 10.

The imdb page is here.


TGTR0660 said...

This blog is getting to be too expensive. Another movie I had to buy :P

Taliesin_ttlg said...

sorry about that :D

Unknown said...

I was planning to skip this film, because of several bad comments, until I read your review. Great fun, with many interesting, quirky characters and plenty of funny moments

Taliesin_ttlg said...

Glad you enjoyed it :)