Monday, October 26, 2015

Honourable Mention: Dracula AD 2015

Dracula Ad 2015 was a Joshua Kennedy directed vehicle, released 2015, that was an unashamed homage to the Hammer films. As it is available to view for free it is getting an Honourable Mention.

the first victim
We open with the “Dracula theme” from the Hammer movies and then see a janitor, Thorley Ripper (Jeremy Kreuzer), walking through Pace University, NY, whistling a tune. He goes into a corridor and sees (pink) blood – the blood is a particularly rubbish colour in this, purposefully I think, though Hammer used vividly red blood – and cleans it. A shoe drops and then a second. He looks up and sees a woman hanging over the balcony… how the shoes fell, when it is her head and upper torso over the balcony, will remain a mystery of physics.

Terence and Jennifer
Professor Terence Fordyce (Joshua Kennedy) has travelled to New York to lecture at Pace and meet his sister, Jennifer (Kat Kennedy), who studies there. He believes strongly that Count Dracula (Xander Pretorius) was an actual being and lectures before Ingrid Stensgaard’s class. Stensgaard (Bessie Nellis) is named after the first two Hammer actresses who played Carmilla. The basic premise follows Dracula Ad 1972 with Jennifer’s group tricked into resurrecting Dracula and Jennifer becoming the focus of Dracula’s machinations and Terence having to save her.

summoning Dracula
Stensgaard takes the Johnny Alucard role – though Dracula is called Johnny Alucard by Thorley Ripper, who in turn takes a Renfield role. The opening credits suggests special participation by Caroline Munro (Dracula AD 1972, Captain Kronos Vampire Hunter, Night Owl, Absence of Light, Midsomer Murders: Death and the Divas & Flesh for the Beast). She isn’t in the end credits but I assume she was the voice of Caroline Monlaur’s mother as Monlaur (Hannah Rose Ammon) took Munro’s role in the resurrection ceremony and was told (on the phone) not to do anything her mother wouldn’t do.

to cushing (v)... to make a cross
If AD 1972 had a madcap carriage chase at the head of the film, this has one at the end and an actual ending that apes Dracula (1958). The cast clearly had a whale of a time making the film and that comes across in spades. Special mention to actor Jake Williams, who managed to show some excellent comic timing and expressiveness that really stood out. Xander Pretorius looked tall and dark in distance shots but was, perhaps, just a tad too young to be Dracula. All in all this was fun… the Hammer fan will have double the fun spotting all the references.

The imdb page is here and the facebook page is here.

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