Friday, April 29, 2016

Christmas at Draculas – review

Director: Simon Mckeon

Release date: 2016

Contains spoilers

You might recall that I gave a mention, some time ago, to the Christmas at Draculas: Montage, essentially the (mostly) Black and white prelude to the full film. This then makes the start of this film.

The film was made available to me for review by Simon Mckeon but the director was very quick to stress that the film was made with no budget (according to IMDb an estimated €8000). Given this is a monster mash that might be telling but you can make a film on a budget and absolutely get away with it with the right hook.

opening sequence
So this is a comedy and, after the montage that shows Dracula (Conor Dwane) falling from Prince of Darkness to monster has-been because he saw into the very soul of Mina Harker (Mary Pappin), it is almost fitting that we start in what appears to be a comedy club with the Invisible Man (Dave McGuire) telling his story in an almost noir style. His story is actually Dracula’s story and the film concentrates greatly on Dracula and Igor (Michael O'Dowd).

Igor and the wolfman
Dracula has got wind of the fact that the Grim Reaper (Dave Coon) threw a Halloween bash and seems to have taken the mantle of Prince of Darkness. Having dismissed a few plans to get his title back, Dracula settles on throwing a Halloween party. He invites the Invisible Man, the Wolfman (Lochlainn McKenna), Dr Jekyll (Jerry O'Mullane), Medusa (Noelle Clarke), the Wicked Witch (Lorraine Comiskey) and Frankenstein’s Monster (Jonathan O'Dwyer). Each has issues, the Wolfman has an accent so thick that subtitles are needed – and his makeup is a hirsute pair of cheeks – and Jekyll is an alcoholic. Medusa’s snakes are dead, the witch is a drug addict and the Monster has been disowned by his maker due to his sexuality.

gun play
As the party goes along we get a visit from Lee Harvey Oswald (John Browne) and John Wilkes Booth (Art Kelleher), the Reaper is an uninvited guest and outside the zombie apocalypse has started. The budget means that Mckeon had his work cut out and the all-important hook, I mentioned, was most definitely Conor Dwane’s Dracula. With a Lugosi-esque accent he channelled the great man himself, and to a degree Martin Landau’s performance as Lugosi. Getting the obscenities flowing from his mouth was amusing in itself but it was the timing, the looks, the moments of pathos that made the film.

Vlad and Myra
Dwane kept the viewer focused even when makeup was inconsistent and there is something just so inherently funny about a Lugosi-esque Dracula complaining about Wagon Wheels (the marshmallow and biscuit sandwich snack, not a part of a conveyance). The battle between the Grim Reaper and Dracula was really rather cleverly done as well. I also have to mention, due to the genre connection, the scene that showed various evil souls in a bar in Hell featuring Vlad Ţepeş having a clandestine affair with Myra Hindley.

witch and Dracula
So, this lifted itself up above its budgetary issues (though, as a thought, if you add post-production rain the dry clothes in shot are a dead giveaway) and could find itself becoming a cherished cult classic. If budget flicks aren’t your thing you might struggle but I found it genuinely funny. 7 out of 10. The imdb page is here.

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