|“||You must love me! You must want me! You must love me!||„|
Dracula was a 2002 Italian television mini-series adapting the original novel Dracula written by Bram Stoker in 1897. The film is alternately known as Dracula's Curse, The Kiss of Dracula and its original Italian title, Il Bacio di Dracula. Set in modern day Budapest, director Roger Young provides a treatment that is satisfactorily faithful to the original story, albeit with a modernized approach.
|Giancarlo Giannini||Enrico Valenzi|
|Hardy Krüger, Jr.||Jonathan Harker|
|Kai Wiesinger||Doctor Seward|
|Alessio Boni||Quincy Morris|
|Conrad Hornby||Arthur Holmwood|
|Alessia Merz||Fair woman|
|Piroska Kiss||Dark woman|
|István Göz||Male nurse|
|Barna Illyés||Border guard|
|Csaba Pethes||Captain of the Tug|
|Balázs Tardy||Tug crew member|
Jonathan Harker is a wealthy, entitled yuppie who attends a party at a ballroom in Budapest. He's in love with a woman named Mina, and is friends with a woman named Lucy Western, Lucy's aloof boyfriend, Quincy Morris and the metrosexual Arthur Holmwood. Jonathan wants to marry Mina, but Mina has reservations about getting married in Budapest.
Before long, Jonathan meets a dark-haired, well-dressed man named Vladislav Tepes (Patrick Bergen). Vlad represents his uncle, the first Vladislav Tepes, and old Romanian Count. He tells Jonathan that Vladislav is interested in relocating to Budapest and wants to buy the old Carfax House next to the sanitarium. Vlad reveals that his uncle is quite eccentric and would rather not deal with the bureaucracy of the real estate world. He agrees to award Jonathan a 10% tax-free commission on the value of Carfax if he were to help his uncle make the proper arrangements. Since Jonathan wants to be able to offer his fiancée Mina more than just a modest income, he agrees.
That night, Jonathan tells Arthur and Quincy about the strange offer and agrees to go to Romania to meet Uncle Vlad. Lucy meanwhile, is upstairs suffering from a sleepwalking episode. She takes a fall down the stairs and Mina has to rush to help her up.
The following evening, the group goes to dinner where they meet Vladislav. Vlad charms Lucy with vague allusions to the supernatural. Mina however, doesn't seem to care for the distinguished Romanian.
That evening, Jonathan gets into his sports car and takes off for Romania. He blazes through the hills and canyons, nearly getting into an accident on several occasions. He finally gets to the Romanian border where he argues with a pair of rude border patrol guards. On top of that, Jonathan swerves off the road and runs afoul of some angry gypsies. He tries to get them to help him, but instead they attack with a shovel. Jonathan eventually revives and slowly makes his way towards the castle. He meets up with the aging uncle Vlad (Patrick Bergen again) who looks just like his nephew except that he has long gray hair and a beard.
Vlad shows Jonathan around his castle and the two talk business. He invites him to stay the evening and Jonathan accepts Jonathan tries to go to sleep and when three golden skinned vampire women come floating into his room. They rub up on Jonathan, but their evening fun is spoiled with Vlad enters the room behind them. He actually wants Jonathan for himself and begins to tell him about how much he wants Jonathan to love him.
Later in the morning, Jonathan goes down into the cellar where he finds Vlad sleeping in a coffin. Vlad opens his eyes and Jonathan shrikes. He jumps out the window, gets into his sports car and takes off.
Uncle Vlad is happy that all of the proper arrangements have been made and he spends the rest of the day. He charters a passage on a boat to bring him to Budapest (which is incongruous, since Romania borders Hungary and there are no oceans between them). The Captain of the boat begins sifting around through Vlad's coffin and discovers that it is filled with soil. The vampire rises up out of the soil, transforms into a wolf and kills everybody on the boat.
Meanwhile, Mina has been growing agitated because Jonathan hasn't returned her telephone calls. She drags Lucy outside with her and the two begin scouring around, looking for him. Jonathan eventually makes his way back to Budapest but speaks nothing of his experiences at Vlad's castle.
Now the younger Vlad begins developing an interest in Lucy. Young Vlad begins creeping around Lucy's bedroom late at night and hypnotizes her into following him to the gates of Carfax House.
Jonathan meanwhile gets married to Mina. He still hasn't told her about his experiences with Dracula or the vampire women that visited his guest room late at night.
Lucy has little memory of her mystical seduction, but she knows that she is constantly filled with terror. She begs Arthur Holmwood to marry her, and he easily agrees. That evening, while Lucy is sleeping, Dracula turns into a mist and sneaks into her room. He bites her on the throat and Lucy falls sick. The next day she is taken to a hospital.
Around this time, the group starts learning of a strange, old man named Enrico Valenzi. Valenzi is a colleague ofh Jack Seward and frequents his sanitarium where they study a lunatic named Renfield. Valenzi figures out what is happening with Lucy and begins making ambiguous statements regarding "things man was not meant to understand."
Lucy recovers slightly and everyone goes out to the opera. At the opera, they meet up with the younger looking Vladislav. Vlad tells Jonathan that his "uncle" has moved into Carfax House. Lucy is all aflutter in his presence and Vlad starts making the moves on her.
That night, Vlad visits Lucy's bedroom. He bites for a third time and Lucy dies. Lucy rises as a vampire and begins haunting the streets of Budapest. She finds a small child and takes off with him. She slices the boy's throat open and drinks his blood.
The following morning, Valenzi reads about the kid's death in the newspaper. He calls Jack Seward and warns him that a vampire is on the loose. He goes to the morgue and discovers that Lucy's body is missing.
Jonathan meanwhile, decides to confess to Arthur and Quincy about everything that happened to him in Romania. Jonathan, Quincy and Arthur go out to Carfax House and find Lucy floating around outside. She tries to seduce them, but Arthur plunges a stake into her, killing her. They break into the house and search the basement. Vladislav the elder appears and it becomes pretty obvious to all that he and the younger Vlad are the same person. Vlad grabs Quincy by the throat and smashes him against a wall, killing him. He then escapes from the house.
That evening, Dracula turns into mist and seeps into Mina's room. He bites Mina, but Jonathan and Arthur arrive and drive him away with holy water. They know that Dracula is going to try and hypnotically summon Mina, so they lie in wait for Dracula to make his next move. Dracula calls out to Mina and she arises from her bed and walks out to greet him. Arthur and Jonathan follow closely behind and track them back to the gates of Carfax House. Dracula envelops Mina in his arms intending on turning her into a vampire, but Mina fights back and shoves a sharpened wooden shaft into Dracula's heart. Dracula falls over dead and dissolves into a pile of sludge.
A few days later, the funeral services are held for Quincy and Jonathan performs the eulogy. After the funeral Jonathan and Mina decide to get married a second time.
Critical reaction to the film has been mixed to negative. David Johnson of DVD Verdict offered a positive review, saying: "Everyone involved commits to doing an okay job, and the production values and general atmosphere help shed the burden of the film stock and sad-sack effects. Bergin's Dracula is effectively crusty and malicious, and Muriel Baumeister has a good time hamming it up as the infected Lucy." Others were less positive: The SF, Horror, and Fantasy Film Review wrote, "While the film does an excellent job in updating Dracula to the midst of New Europe's nouveau riche, director Roger Young lets the show down considerably in the second half. ... The script does get caught up in some pretentious natterings [and] the performances are particularly uneven."
Noel Megahey of DVD Times said, "It's [the] awkwardness in the script and the dialogue that weighs heavily on the film, although the film actually does operate half-way successfully when it moves into the non-verbal action sequences. What really sinks the film in the end, though, is not the weakness of the special effects, but the performances and the delivery of the pan-European cast that struggles through their semi-dubbed English-language lines." David Hall of EatMyBrains.com said, "There have been far worse cinematic incarnations of Stoker's tale than this — but it must rank as one of the dreariest adaptations ever — a toothless bore shorn of any frisson of eroticism, with nary a drop of blood in sight."
Notes & Trivia Edit
- The DVD release for this Italian mini-series is entitled Dracula's Curse. The original title is Il Bacio di Dracula (The Kiss of Dracula). This movie is a modern re-telling of the classic Bram Stoker tale.