Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Die Hard Dracula

Directed by Peter Horak.
1998. Not Rated, 90 minutes.
Bruce Glover
Denny Sachen
Kerry Dustin
Ernest M. Garcia
Chaba Hrotko
Tom McGowan
Nathalie Huot
Talia Botane
Peter Horak
John Slavic
Art Vanik

In case you didn’t get the full impact, let’s start by talking about that title. Die Hard is one of the most beloved action franchises of all time. Bruce Willis built an entire career on the success of that series. Without doing any research to substantiate this, I believe there have been more incarnations of Dracula than any other character in cinematic history. Even if you’ve somehow never seen a Die Hard movie or a vampire flick you still can’t possibly go into a movie named Die Hard Dracula expecting it will be any good. I didn’t. I went in wanting to see just how bad it would be.

To kick things off we’re given a brief history of Vlad Dracul AKA Vlad the Impaler. This little portion ends with fast forwarding 300 years from his death late in the 16th century. Here’s where we get our first hilariously bad moment. Vlad…ahem…Dracula wakes up, grumbles about not being able to take it anymore and his coffin lifts off the floor, busts out of his tomb and takes off flying across the countryside while “Ride of the Valkyries” blares from the speakers. Oh my, this might even be worse than I’d imagined. Yes!

The coffin lands in a vacant castle in Moravia. The king chase some random chick there and stabs her right on top of the coffin. Dracula wakes up again, kills the guy and brings the girl back by turning her into a vampire. We fast forward again to “present day” California. We meet Steve. The first thing we realize it that he’s played by a really bad actor (Denny Sachen). He’s the worst of the three very bad actors in this scene. Of course, this means he has the biggest part of the trio. Anyhoo, Steve loses his girlfriend to a water-skiiing accident. Distraught over her death, he decides to go to Europe on a little vacay. After a few drunken nights he wanders around and somehow finds himself in…Dun dun dun DUUUNNNN...Moravia. He meets Carla (Dustin) which totally freaks him out because she looks exactly like his dead girlfriend. Even creepier, Carla also drowned. It just so happens that the falling star Steve saw and wished upon when he was back home struck Carla’s casket and brought her back to life. Uh-huh. This has nothing to do with anything else in the movie, but I’d thought I’d mention it. Well, it has a little relevance. Apparently, her resemblance to his girlfriend helps the two fall quickly and madly in love.

So the locals have figured out that Dracula is slinking around, munching on peasant girls. I almost forgot to mention that for some unexplained reason he appears in three different guises in human form. One is normal looking, one like a walking corpse and one even worse than that. No, there is no rhyme or reason for which way he’ll look during a given scene. Of course, they do the same thing everyone else in movies seems to do. They call in Dr. Van Helsing (Glover). Since the actual locals are too chicken to help the doc out, he recruits Steve. What follows is Van Helsing and Steve making repeated attempts to kill the vampire and failing miserably.

We have to forgive our would-be heroes for their lack of success. These boys have a lot to overcome. We’re told Dracula can go out in daytime so long as he’s not struck by direct sunlight, but we find out the sun seems to have no effect on him at all. We’re told he can be killed by silver bullets, but we find out that doesn’t actually work (I thought that was werewolves, anyway). Anytime they stick something in his chest he just pulls it out and keeps going. The thing that seems to hurt him the most is the dentist yanking out one of his fangs. Yup, Dracula actually makes and goes to an appointment with the dentist just like us regular folk. I wish I was making this up. Well, yanking out a fang doesn’t kill him, only pisses him off. He’s invincible. They even chop his head off, which we’re also told will kill him. No problem. He just screws the damn thing back on. I guess Die Hard Dracula is a good title after all.

Through all the shenanigans we’re blessed with some of the worst dialogue you’ll ever hear. To say it’s cheesy is an insult to cheesy dialogue. I’m talking stuff my 11 year old daughter would write then ball up the paper and throw it in the trash for being too corny. It doesn’t help that the acting is all over the place. Glover as Van Helsing and the three guys that play Dracula ham it up pretty good, delightfully overacting. Yes, they actually use a different guy for each of Dracula’s looks. Why? Who knows. I’m pretty sure it has nothing to do with anything you actually see on the screen. Oops. It’s actually four guys. They have another guy that does the voice. One more thing: Glover is actually the father of Crispin Glover. He’s got a list of credits longer than my arm that includes some of the most beloved TV shows of all time (The Six Million Dollar Man, The Dukes of Hazard, Mission: Impossible and Kojak to name a few) and a few well known movies (Chinatown and Diamonds Are Forever among them). I’m not sure how he ended up here. I have three theories I’m deciding between: 1) he was desperately in need of money (but can’t imagine he made any on this) 2) he was friends with the director and 3) someone had pictures of him naked with farm animals.

The rest of the cast ranges from really bad to Steve’s nearly catatonic reading of lines. He makes Keanu Reeves look like James Cagney. As far as other production values go, well, I’ll just say that I could tell they used several different types of cameras during camcording…er…filming. If you’re a lover of bad movies this one should be on your must-see list. It’s so bad, it’s awesome!


  1. This guy seems just like Jason Voorhees but worst. I think I'll avoid this one.

    1. Oh, please avoid this. Sane people shouldn't. Since I am obviously not, it's cool for me.