It’s not the Halloween season without a new take on the Dracula legend blighting our nation’s movie theaters. This year’s entry is Dracula Untold, in which were are told the ‘true’ back story of the villainous count, because none of the other eleventy billion Dracula movies has gotten the tale right. Now, Dracula Untold has some things going for it, in so much as those ‘things’ are Luke Evans and his chiseled cheekbones. The movie will be crappy, because it’s a Dracula film, and the ration of ‘good’ to ‘shitty’ Dracula pictures tilts heavily in the favor of ‘this is just really bad’. If you don’t agree that the premise alone predisposes the movie to be terrible, allow me to direct you to this fine review of the film by Mallory Ortberg over on The Toast. Ortberg manages to both sum up the movies short comings (many) and my personal attitude towards watching horror films:
If you think that you are too good for a movie where a man turns into very many bats and then punches a lot of guys with his giant bat-fists, then I don’t know what you’re doing on this website or in my life. You’re not too good for it, I can assure you.
In honor of this year’s Terrible Dracula Movie, let’s take a brief look at some other notable entries in the genre. They are presented in no order of preference or magnitude of awfulness. Nor is this an extensive list. Even if you only limit your criteria to movies in which a character is explicitly called out as Dracula, there are just dozens and dozens to choose from.
Dracula 2000 – 2000
I conducted a brief poll among my Facebook friends asking them for title suggestions for this post. Dracula 2000 was already on the list, but it was also the title that people repeatedly suggested, because it was very no good. Gerald Butler played the Count and Christopher Plummer stepped in as Van Helsing, and the rest of the cast was ‘very hot in 1999’. Inexplicably, this series has several sequels, including Dracula 3000, which has no actual relation to the first film at all.
Zoltan: Hound of Dracula — 1978
Zoltan is a dog possessed by the spirit of Dracula, after being bitten sometime ‘in the olden days’, is awoken to run around in the late 70s. Need I explain further why it makes the list? Look at the amazing poster though! My birthday is coming up, and I’m just saying that this would be a really fantastic present for someone. Me, specifically.
Billy the Kid vs. Dracula – 1966
John Carradine had his own cottage industry appearing in bad Dracula movies. In this one, he plays the titular character who is spending part of his afterlife traveling through the Old West where he runs afoul of Billy the Kid. This was original released as a double feature — the second billing was Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter.
The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires (The Seven Brother’s Meet Dracula) — 1974
Another genre mash-up, this time attempting to blend 70s style kung-fu films with Hammer Horror. Peter Cushing is on board as Van Helsing, which is the nicest thing anyone can say about this film. Sadly, this is the last Hammer Horror film the venerable studio put out until it’s relaunch in 2010 with the fantastic Let Me In, a remake of the Swedish vampire film, Let the Right One In.
Van Helsing – 2004
This Hugh Jackman vehicle could have been campy fun, but no one seemed to let the cast know they shouldn’t have been taking themselves so seriously.
Love at First Bite – 1973
George Hamilton was awfully tan to be playing Dracula. I’m just saying.
I actually have very fond memories of watching this movie repeatedly as a child. I really loved it and it was one of the first vampire movies I’d ever seen.
Vampire Hookers – 1973
Dracula Richmond Reed uses his vampire hookers to lure victims back to his place to feed on, because when you’re an immortal count, why not dabble in a little human sex trafficking? The tagline is ‘Blood is not all they suck.”
Trailer is mildly NSFW.