Dracula Untold bites the big one

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First Posted: 10/13/2014

I know you don’t want me to say this, but, it’s something you desperately need to hear. It’s time we took all of the vampires, all of the Draculas, all of the Twilights and put them on top of the fridge and away from Hollywood’s grasping hands. We’ve been talking about this ever since it ate that bottle of Vaseline and remade Fright Night all over the floor of the dining room right in front of your sister and Jeannine. I know how much Hollywood loves its vampires and I know that it’s going to scream, throw itself on the ground and suck the dirt off the carpet once we take it away, but Hollywood needs to learn that its actions have consequences. Otherwise, it could grow up thinking that “Dracula: Untold” is OK. And let me tell you, “Dracula: Untold” is never OK.

Look, I understand that Hollywood has learning disabilities. You know as well as I do that this isn’t about that. This is about Hollywood not trying when it made “Dracula: Untold” and when you’re making a movie that interconnects the fiction of Dracula with the reality of Vlad the Impaler, you don’t have to try all that hard because the concept is pretty foolproof. Just make sure that most of the cast is impaled on a pike every three or four seconds and include a scene where Vladula rips the heart out of somebody’s chest and uses it as a makeshift boxing glove as he punches them in their increasingly pale and lifeless face. It’s not brain science, you just make sure your stupid garbage movie is as stupid and garbage-y as it possibly can be. Unfortunately, that isn’t the case in “Dracula: Untold”. The sleazy potential of this seemingly can’t miss premise is limited by its PG-13 rating as well as the inexplicable decision to portray Vlad the Impaler/Dracula (Luke Evans) as a misunderstood nice guy who really didn’t want to impale all of those good people. Honestly, he didn’t! But what choice do you have when brown people from a weird foreign country with a stupid bird name traipse into your castle and threaten to kidnap and rape your twelve year old son? I think we both know the answer to that one. That’s right! “Dracula: Untold” is very, very racist.

Much more than that, “Dracula: Untold” isn’t a horror movie but a shapeless hodge-podge of whatever is popular at the moment. Like a negligent father buying whatever the clerk at PacSun tells him “the kids like” for his estranged son’s belated birthday, “Dracula: Untold” seems to have foregone a script in favor of market research. It’s like all of the studio notes Peter Jackson ignored while he was making “The Lord of the Rings” trilogy were mashed together and adapted into this movie. “Kids really like those Marvel movies”, you can almost hear the producers say, “Why can’t we make Dracula more like Batman or Thor or whoever? He could communicate with bats, silver could be his Kryptonite, he could stuff people’s bodies on pikes super-fast. Oh, and could you make this a little more ‘Game of Thrones-y’? Everything needs to be at least 30 percent more ‘Game of Thrones-y’ from now on”, they might add.

“Dracula: Untold” is a bland, studio product at its most disposable. A murkily shot, frenetically edited misfire that only confirms the necessity of placing all of the vampires on top of the fridge and far away from Hollywood’s sticky little fingers. Besides, if it wants to play with something, it can play with all of those mummies and creatures from the black lagoons its grandfather gave it last Christmas. It’s the only way Hollywood will learn.