Dracula's Widow

Starring: Sylvia Kristel, Marc Coppola and Josef Sommer
Momentum Pictures
RRP: 12.99
Certificate: 18
Available 24 October 2005

Raymond is the young creator and owner of a new chamber of horrors-type waxworks museum in Hollywood, who receives one too many crates containing valuable Romanian antiques. In the odd chest sleeps Vanessa, widow of the infamous Count Dracula. On the first night she rises and attacks Raymond, making him her servant. Then she wanders the town looking for blood. A police superintendent is investigating a recent series of brutal mutilation killings. A terrified man arrives at the station and claims his accomplice was attacked and murdered at the waxworks while they were attempting to rob it. The superintendent has no idea he is looking for a real life vampire until he is warned by a descendent of Helsing, the man who laid Dracula to rest. Meanwhile Raymond is going through a gradual change. He realises there is only one way to save himself and his girlfriend but, under her thrall, he cannot quite bring himself to kill Vanessa...

Imagine a cross between House of Wax and a vampire film and you have the essence of Dracula's Widow. Right, next review. [A little bit more would be nice - Ed].

Okay, this film does deserve a plaudit, because it might very well be the worst vampire film I've ever seen. And I've seen a few, believe me! Sylvia Kristel was possibly cast as Vanessa because of her supposed sex appeal (Emmanuelle, etc.), but the truth is in this portrayal she emits about as much sex appeal as a road accident.

The movie is classified certificate 18, not because of any sensual or sexual references (because there aren't any), but due to the monster make-up effects. There must have been an excess of latex at the warehouse, because the object here seems to have been to slap far too much on Kristel's face, throw around some offal made to look like people's innards, and splash buckets of theatre blood up the walls.

Gore doesn't necessarily make a good horror flick, and this is one of the best examples of that opinion you'll see. Kristel is not at all frightening as a vampire, and Raymond simply doesn't look scared until the scene when he's in the ambulance watching the carnage outside.

Not so much a missed opportunity as a pointless exercise. Avoid it like the plague. For great vampire films seek out Nosferatu, the 1920s silent film; Bela Lugosi's Dracula from the 1930's; Christopher Lee's Horror of Dracula; and for great-weighted black humour there's Fright Night.

Ty Power

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