I can’t stand them, there are few and far between that I can actually watch, let alone love.
But I decided to review the sequel to Friday the 13th on Friday the 13th. And to take that one step further, I’ll be reviewing a sequel to horror films that spanned sequels and influenced the horror genre. First one:
You all know that I love Alfred Hitchcock:
And how much I love Psycho.
So I thought I would give this a watch when it came up on AMC‘s Fear Friday. This film takes place 22 years after the original, Norman having been receiving help that whole time has finished the program and will be released to society and the Bates Motel.
Norman thinks he is ready to live his life again, but there are many others who are not. One of which is Marion’s sister Lila Loomis (she and Sam ended up getting married).
Lila Loomis: What about his victims? I have a petition here signed by 743 people against Norman Bates’ release, including the relatives of the seven people he murdered.
Norman sets about living a normal life as much as he can, hopeful that life will be better.
Dr. Raymond: You don’t have to stay. I could find you a place in town.
Norman Bates: No, no. I… I want to stay here.
Dr. Raymond: As long as you realize the memories are more likely to reoccur here. But you know how to handle that now, don’t you?
Norman Bates: Sure.
He discovers the person placed in charge of the motel while Norman was sent away was using the motel as an hourly one and to deal drugs. Norman kicks him out, takes a job at the local diner run by Mrs. Spool, and things seem to be going well. He even befriends a young waitress, Mary Samuels.
Things start going downhill fast when Norman is given mysterious notes and phone calls from Mrs. Bates.
Then a womanly figure in black is seen running around the complex and bodies are piling up.
Norman is trying to keep it together, but is feeling the pressure and unraveling with every attack. Objects in blood are found in the house, he starts forgetting what he was doing and where he was, items of his mother’s he thought were given/thrown away all end up back in the house.
Mary feels bad for him as he is trying so hard, she ends up moving in with him to help him keep it together. And when the sheriff comes to question him about an incident, she outright lies to protect him.
Sheriff John Hunt: Are you sure neither one of you heard anything between four to five this afternoon?
Norman Bates: No, I was…
Mary: [cutting Norman off] He was with me all afternoon. We were walking in the fields behind the house around that time.
Sheriff John Hunt: Okay. Nice to see you again, Norman. [the sheriff and his deputy walk out. Mary closes the front door and watches them walk away]
Norman Bates: [to Mary; bewildered] Why did you do THAT?
Mary: Do what?
Norman Bates: Lie to the sheriff. You weren’t with me all afternoon!
Mary: I had to do something! He was going to arrest you! [Norman suddenly holds his head in pain, and slumps down into a nearby armchair] Norman, what’s wrong?
Norman Bates: It’s starting again.
Is someone trying to make Norman go crazy? Has Mrs. Bates risen from the grave? Or is Norman starting to kill again?
I have mixed feelings about this movie.
Let’s start with the negative:
So this movie was made in the ’80s and they decided that the classy way the original film was made wasn’t going to fly with modern viewers. So there is a lot of blood, gore, sex, etc.
Now what was positive:
I like this
I loved that they had the original actors reprise their roles. Anthony Perkins is just sheer perfection at playing a sweet innocent man you just feel sympathy and empathy for-and at the same time flip and be frightening.
I liked that the director really concentrated on trying to copy Alfred Hitchcock’s style and use the same angles and lighting he did.
The story line had a few issues, but for the most part they tried hard to be suspenseful like the original and have an ending you weren’t expecting.
So last year, I did a ’80s film to start off Horrorfest V, so I decided that I needed to review a ’70s film to start us off. So the first post, I feel, is one of the most important ones during Horrorfest. I need a film I absolutely love to watch-
So I tried to think what horror, thriller, mystery, etc.; that I absolutely love. What’s one of my favorite ’70s horror films?
Oh wait, I already reviewed that one.
What’s another ’70s film I absolutely love? Oh, I know!
The Stepford Wives!
Wait I reviewed that one too.
So what to do? I started looking through what films came out in the ’70s, but nothing stood out at me until I saw this:
AMC, back when it was an actual movie channel instead of giving in to being just like any other network, used to do something special called Fear Fridays.
Originally they started showing films at 7, then it was moved back to 8, then 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1, and finally 2. Yes, 2 in the morning!
And they still called it Fear Friday! Even though it was on Saturday! Fear Friday on a Saturday???!!!
Sorry, I digress. So they would just show horror films all night, and I saw some fantastic ones and some pretty rotten ones-but either way it made Friday fun.
One night at 12 this film came on and it immediately captured my attention with its fantastic beginning. We don’t start by showing actors’ names, or anything like that. Instead we start with this:
This film is a detective story – in which you are the detective. The question is not “Who is the murderer?”, but “Who is the werewolf?” After all the clues have been shown, you will get a chance to give your answer. Watch for The Werewolf Break.
You know how much I love a mystery!!
Ready for any case
So millionaire Tom Newcliffe (Calvin Lockhart) has spent his time training to be the best hunter, building the most unescapable housing complex, etc. Why? He wants to capture a werewolf.
He has hunted everything possible in the world, and this is the last one on his list.
But there is only one problem: a werewolf only manifests at night with the moon. How will he find a werewolf when most of the day they appear as a regular person.
He has that covered. He has been tracking people and invited four people to his mansion for the weekend-five that he believes are possible werewolves. His plan is to wait until they transform and then kill them.
Here are his suspects:
1) Arthur Bennington (Charles Gray): Diplomat who had members of his cabinet disappear suspiciously.
2) Jan Gilmore (Michael Gambon): A famous pianist who while on tour, the cities he played in had horrible killings where their throats were slashed.
3) Davina Gilmore (Ciaran Madden): Jan’s wife in who travels with him, but on a separate occasion a dinner party she attended had a horrifying murder.
4) Paul Foote (Tom Chadbon): An artist who has recently been released from prison. He started out as a medical student, but was involved with a group that each ate a piece of human flesh.
5) Professor Lundgren (Peter Cushing): A professor of archeology and Lycanthropy. Is he so knowledgeable because he’s interested or because he is one.
Which one could it be? That’s up to Tom, his assistant Pavel, and you to determine. Will you figure it out?
I loved this movie so much, I can’t say anything more. In fact, I was told to go to bed, pretended I did, and snuck out to finish watching and see if I had guessed the werewolf correctly.
I thought it was a great time and even went on to searching the internet to add it to my collection. Definitely worth watching for Halloween.
So you know how I do a banner for every movie for my personal facebook, none for this one. I couldn’t find a big enough picture that captured the film.
Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.
A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.
Why did it end?
This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.
My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.
Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like
She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…
But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.
Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.
I HATED IT!
I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)
The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.
But something terrible lurks inside.
When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.
The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.
Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!” Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]
He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.
Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.
[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]
When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.
Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.
Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.
I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.
She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.
So What Was Good?
There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.
Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.
Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.
Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.
The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.
I like it!
So What Was Bad?
Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.
1) Too Many Stars
Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.
2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.
Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.
He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.
I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on,DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.
3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring
Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!
4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire
In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.
5) Dracula is Judas
Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.
Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.
I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.
So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.
And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response: