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12.26.04 // Updated some of the ratings. Have now seen the Lost Boys Special Edition, so I have likewise updated my earlier LB review. Have also added my review of Blade: Trinity.

Title: Bram Stoker's Dracula

Cast: Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes
MPAA Rating: Rated R for sexuality and horror violence.
My Rating:
Tagline: Love Never Dies
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0103874
Released: 1992

Summary: Loosely based on Bram Stoker's classic novel of the same name. A young lawyer (Jonathan Harker) is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker's betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina's closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy's friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away.

Review: [...coming soon...]

Title: Dracula

Cast: Bela Lugosi, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan, David Manners, Helen Chandler
MPAA Rating: N/A
My Rating:
Tagline: The story of the strangest passion the world has ever known!
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0021814/
Released: 1931

Summary: After a harrowing ride through the Carpathian mountains in eastern Europe, Renfield enters castle Dracula to finalize the transferral of Carfax Abbey in London to Count Dracula, who is in actuality a vampire. Renfield is drugged by the eerily hypnotic count, and turned into one of his thralls, protecting him during his sea voyage to London. After sucking the blood and turning the young Lucy Weston into a vampire, Dracula turns his attention to her friend Mina Seward, daughter of Dr. Seward who then calls in a specialist, Dr. Van Helsing, to diagnose the sudden deterioration of Mina's health. Van Helsing, realizing that Dracula is indeed a vampire, tries to prepare Mina's fiance, John Harker, and Dr. Seward for what is to come and the measures that will have to be taken to prevent Mina from becoming one of the undead.

Review: Obviously, the classic vampire movie! As you may already know, several famous elements often associated with Dracula are not visible in this film (i.e. no fangs or vampire neck mark). Other cliche items are visible though: the cape, suave brooding man, etc. Though not true to Bram Stoker's version (due to the Depression, Universal did not have enough money for an epic and opted to adapt the Hamilton Deane stage play), this movie set the scene for the quiessential vampire, as different from Murnow's version of Nosferatu as a character could get.

Title: Dracula: The Dark Prince

Cast: Rudolph Martin, Roger Daltrey, Christopher Brand, Peter Weller, Michael Sutton, Jane March
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence
My Rating:
Tagline: More Vicious Than The Myth
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0240793/
Released: 2000

Summary: A warlord must fight a bloody battle in order to regain his kingdom.

Review: The cover is misleading; this is not your classic vampire movie - doesn't really deal with vampires, other than a few allusions and references. The plot centers around the life & exploits of Vlad Tepes (the Impaler). Though it did not have the prerequisite vampires running around, I REALLY dug this movie. Maybe it was because I was impressed that a made for TV movie was so well researched and directed. Maybe it was because I am a romantic kind of girl & liked the romance, as well as the eye candy (Rudolph Martin, Michael Sutton, etc) that the lead actors provided (for any fan of long-haired men, this movie is a must see!).

The story was actually fairly well written and more or less historically accurate. The costumes were great & the battle scenes well created. As to Vlad's true character, some is left to the viewer's imagination, but that is to be expected when dealing with a man who has amassed such a mythos in popular culture. I would say that this is a movie for any fan of the vamp genre, more entertaining for a fan of history and the vampire subculture in general...not a typical "vampire" movie, just a bio, but it remains one of the best portrayals of "Vlad Tepes".

Title: Dracula 2000

Cast: Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Gerard Butler, Shane West, Omar Eps, Jeri Ryan, Sean Patrick Thomas, Danny Masterson, Jennifer Esposito, Colleen Fitzpatrick
MPAA Rating: Rated R for violence, sexuality and gore.
My Rating:
Tagline: The Most Seductive Evil Of All Time Has Now Been Unleashed In Ours
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0219653/
Released: 2000

Summary: In the millenium version of this classic Gothic horror we find Abraham Van Helsing (Plummer), who has tangled with Count Dracula (Butler) in the past, working as an English antiques dealer. Simon (Miller) is a vampire hunter in training under his apprenticeship. Van Helsing and Simon travel from London to New Orleans to rescue Van Helsing's daughter Mary (Waddell) from the family's life long nemesis - Dracula.

Review: The main thing I like about this movie is that is caters to FEMALES; yes, there is T&A for the guys, but the writers also realized their female audiece, which has *thankfully* begun to be a trend in the last decade or so (Queen of the Damned, Interview with the Vampire, etc). Even after all of the sexy vampire characters I have watched in movies, Gerard Butler is definately one of the SEXIEST, and most convincing! And Jonny Lee Miller is not bad on the eyes either, though not a vampire. The film does use up every vampire cliche known to man: the vamps are repelled at the sight of crosses, holy ground, & bibles; the female vamps are pretty trite (slutty & oversexed); biting the neck; & the usual coffins & stakes... clearly, Wes Craven did not go out of his way to bring innovation to this picture in the respect of popular myth.

The soundtrack was pretty good (mainly rock) & I liked the story of the leeches (Van Helsing stays alive through the bood of Dracula drained via leeches), Mary's dream man/blood kin & Judas Iscariot: I thought them very original. I do not remember watching a movie with the Judas take on the vampire mythos - though there are traces of it in global folklore. I did not like the ending of the movie as much, but I suppose the plot had to culminate the way it eventually did. All in all, a nice movie to add to the vampire fan's collection!

Title: John Carpenter's Vampires: Los Muertos

Cast: Jon Bon Jovi, Diego Luna, Arly Jover, Cristian de la Fuente, Darius McCrary, Natasha Gregson Wagner
MPAA Rating: Rated R for vampire violence, language and brief sexuality.
My Rating:
Tagline: N/A
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0272147/
Released: 2002

Summary: Semi-sequel to 'John Carpenter's Vampires' . In Mexico, another vampire slayer, Derek Bliss (Jon Bon Jovi), is hired by a shady priest and aided by a group of fellow slayers in finding a large nest of 'suckers' and their powerful leader, a vampire princess (Arly Jover). She is seeking a legendary black crucifix -- the same crucifix used unsuccessfully in the first movie to perform a ritual which will enable vampires to walk in sunlight and be invulnerable.

Review: Definately not one of Carpenter's (who I am not a huge fan of anyway) best; it was written very lazily & directed (and acted) badly. Maybe it was the stupid/lame title, or maybe the boring plot. Either way, I didn't take much with me except the setting...and Bon Jovi & Diego Luna's prettiness. You know a movie isn't all that good when all that stands out are the looks of the main characters!

Title: Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens)

Cast: Max Schrek, Gustav von Wangenheim, Greta Schröder
MPAA Rating: N/A
My Rating:
Tagline: N/A
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/
Released: 1922

Summary: Not the original Dracula movie (but close enough for most people), this unauthorized version follows the familiar story of Count Orloc moving from his ruined castle to the city of Wisborg, after the visit of one Jonathan Harker. Once there he becomes involved with Jonathan's fiancée Nina, who alone holds the power to destroy him.
[Summary written by David Carroll]

Review: One of the best vampire films, made all the more haunting due to its silent nature: F.W. Murnau was a true pioneer of his time. I have the DVD version with Type O Negative performing the soundtrack (as well as the video from their song "Black No.1") & David Carradine providing a pretty cool Introduction. While I have seen both the completely silent & soundtracked versions of the film, I prefer the latter. The music was selected well, though odd in certain places, and adds nostalgia and drama into the mostly visual performance. Given the silent nature of the film and the slower pace, this movie is not for everyone (especially those who like the "sexy charismatic vampire" ideal), but it is a great piece of vampire cinema history nonetheless.

Title: Queen of the Damned

Cast: Stuart Townsend, Aaliyah, Lena Olin, Vincent Perez, Christian Manon, Paul McGann, Claudia Black, Marguerite Moreau
MPAA Rating: Rated R for Vampire violence.
My Rating:
Tagline: All She Wants Is Hell On Earth
IMDb Site: http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0238546/
Released: 2002

Summary: After many years of sleeping in his coffin, the vampire Lestat awakens only to find that the world has changed and he wants to be a part of it. He gathers a following and becomes a rock star only to find that his music awakens the ancient Queen Akasha and she wants him to become her king...

Review: Okay, so the tagline is stupid, but the movie is not! Two things stuck out for me about the film: the inherent sexiness that typifies the modern vampire (especially the Anne Rice versions) and the INCREDIBLE soundtrack. Between Stuart Townsend (one of my favorite cinema vamps next to Gerard Butler of "Dracula 2000" fame), Paul McGann (of "Horatio Hornblower"), and Vincent Perez ("The Crow: City of Angels", I was in heaven! The sets were great, the costumes awesome, and the actors pretty good. I've always like the gothic/vamp rock subculture (i.e. Cradle of Filth, Type O Negative, etc), so the idea of a vamp musician was a pretty easy segue for me.

Yes, I do realize how different this movie is from the Rice books, but I like it regardless. While I LOVE Rice's flair for description/detail in writing, I think that much of her work is repetitive and overrated. This movie, I believe, is BETTER than the books. It is more of a work of fanfiction (banned by Rice, btw) than anything else: a love of characters in a setting that would flourish. It really does not matter whether or not you are a fan of Anne Rice - this movie doesn't need a precendent. It is what it is: an entertaining, romantic movie aimed at a gothic female audience. One of my all-time favorite movies (and soundtracks).

Title: Underworld

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Scott Speedman, Shane Brolly, Michael Sheen, Bill Nighy
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence/gore and some language.
My Rating:
Tagline: An Immortal Battle For Supremacy
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0320691/
Released: 2003

Summary: Underworld reimagines Vampires as a secretive clan of modern, aristocratic sophisticates whose mortal enemies are the Lycans (werewolves), a shrewd gang of street thugs who prowl the city's underbelly. The balance of power is upset when a beautiful young Vampire and a newly made Lycan (Vampires and Lycans being deadly rivals for centuries) fall in love.

Review: There were many things that made this movie great (and highly underrated). The soundtrack & special effects were fairly good, the fight scenes nice but reminiscent of the Matrix, the acting was decent - if a little trite. The plot was unique - not many movies out there have vampires VS werewolves (in this movie known as the "Lycans", for Lycanthropes: an incorrect term anyway, but it works) as their plotline, other than the old B-movies. The men (Speedman, Brolly & Sheen) and women are gorgeous: you should watch this movie if for nothing else than eye candy alone!

One of the main things I liked about this movie was its originality. Bullets invested with silver nitrate, the idea of "death dealers", the mixed bloodlines & all it entailed, the costumes (especially the vamp ones: Amelia's outfit was excellent), the realistic feel. Some of the movie could have been more developed - Beckinsale's relationship with Kraven and Michael, Marcus' character/role, etc. Fans of the comic (pretty true to the screen version) are given a little more info & the sequel is in production, complete with more Marcus info. Highly recommended!

Title: Van Helsing

Cast: Kate Beckinsale, Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh, Will Kemp, Shuler Hensley
MPAA Rating: Rated PG-13 for sensuality, creature action violence and frightening images.
My Rating:
Tagline: Adventure Lives Forever
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0338526/
Released: 2004

Summary: During the late 19th century, famed monster hunter Dr. Gabriel Van Helsing (Jackman) heads to Eastern Europe to battle with Count Dracula (Roxburgh), the Wolf Man (Kemp), and Frankenstein's Monster (Hensley). By his side is the ravishing Anna (Beckinsale), a member of a family committed to ridding the world of evil.

Review: My feelings about this movie are mixed. On the one hand, I think that the accents/acting were a bit too much. The vampire brides, while looking pretty cool, were as annoying to me as Star Wars' Jar Jar Binks. I liked the special effects & soundtrack, as well as the blending of classics in a homage to movie monsters (Frankenstein, Hyde, Dracula, Wolfman, etc). The plot was decent, the characters overblown, & Hugh Jackman makes a very convincing hero as always. Kate's character was a bit too over the top, though I do think she is normally a good actor...maybe it was just that her accent that was a little too thick & hollywood-ish.

For the girls out there, the eye candy was nice: Hugh Jackman, David Wenham, Richard Roxburgh & Will Kemp (VERY funny!) kept me entertained when the females did not. I liked the costumes, the sets were amazing, and the special features on the DVD are cool - worth a look.

Title: Vampire Journals

Cast: Jonathon Morris, David Gunn, Kirsten Cerre, Starr Andreeff, Ilinca Goia, Mihai Dinvale, Dan Condurache
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong horror violence and gore, and for nudity.
My Rating:
Tagline: The hunt has begun...
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0120428/
Released: 1997

Summary: A 19th century vampire stalks a more powerful vampire lord in his quest to gain revenge over the death of his mistress. In his search for the vampire lord in Eastern Europe he kills many of his servants and fellow vampires while cursing another to vampirism as well.

Review: The FIRST thing I must say is how annoying the main female character (played by Kirsten Cerre) was. Eep! Everytime she yelled or looked horrified I was embarassed for her...pretty bad, especially since she pretty much ruined what may well have been a nice movie. On the other hand, the "head vampire" played by Jonathon Morris was done well. David Gunn, while normally a very handsome guy, looked like he was choking to death on his fangs...they were a bit too big. His voice/accent was not all that convicing, either. I can't recall the soundtrack, so it must not have been that good!

Fans of the Subspecies movies will appreciate this one, but to most others it is just another vampire movie whose plot is pretty much unimaginative: girl enchants vampire #1 (who owns vampire club) while being protected by vampire #2 whose is out to avange his dead bride. Not much there, but the sets & some special effects are nice - better than what you may expect from a low budget movie. The men are handsome (female viewers will be happy) and the plot does run along fairly well, even if the ending is a little too obvious and the "antiquated goth" element overdone. Still, other than Cerre's character, I thought this movie entertaining. I would watch this movie again, so it wasn't that bad. :)

Title: Sleepless Nights

Cast: Jacqueline Anderson, Richard Ryan, Matthew Thomas, Bart Shatto,Duke York
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong vampire violence.
My Rating:
Tagline: Those lips at your throat... may not be your lover's.
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0326635/
Released: 2002

Summary: If you are into "Buffy" or "Angel" or any of the bad guy vs. good guy vampire type shows, you are sure to get a kick out of this movie. The theme we seem to have going in this movie is the guy turned vampire but wants to do good instead of bad. Eventually, Kaitlin Moore (Played by: Jacqueline Anderson) from the "good team" gets a soft spot for Christian Grey; the good Vampire (played by: Matthew Thomas) always keeping him one step ahead of the NCA and ends up wanting to become a vampire after finding out about her health situation.

Review: Given that this was obviously a low buget movie, I thought it pretty well done. The story is more or less cliche: vampire, once a human vamp hunter, seeks revenge and meets woman (a vamire hunter herself who is deathly ill & wants to become immortal) along the way. It is a love story, and a fairly good one. The actors do a decent job (though the main character's dead bride, now a vampire, is a bit annoying) and the special effects are passable...not all that good, but I really didn't expect matrix-quality anyway...

The setting is, naturally, dim and I did roll my eyes at a few blatant scenes and comments. The main male character is gorgeous, which always helps, and there are a few love triangles floating around -- gotta love those! Though they do not like sunlight, the vampires don't need to sleep in coffins & are not perturbed by garlic (or crosses, from what I can remember...though I could be wrong since it's been awhile since I've watched this). Can't recall the songs, but I remember there was no dead silence that ruins most B-movies...I think the soundtrack, instrumental, was pretty much what you'd expect from a vamp movie.

Title: The Forsaken

Cast: Kerr Smith, Izabella Miko, Johnathon Schaech
MPAA Rating: Rated R for strong violence/gore, language and sexuality.
My Rating:
Tagline: The night has an appetite...
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0245120/
Released: 2001

Summary: Sean (Kerr Smith) is driving cross-country to deliver a vintage Mercedes and attend his sister's wedding when he picks up a hitchhiker, Nick (Brendan Fehr), who just happens to be a vampire hunter, tracking down a group of youthful vampires that feed on unwary travelers. As the plot thickens, they run into Megan, (Isabella Miko) who has been left for dead by the vampires. As they use her as a lure for the vampires, Sean becomes attracted to her. Further complications ensue when Sean is infected with the vampire virus. He, Megan and Nick must race against time to kill the vampire leader (Jonathon Schaech) to stop Sean from becoming one of the undead.

Review: Your typical modern sexy vampire movie, catering to teen viewers with its multitude of actors from Roswell & Dawson's Creek. I was actually surprised to see Jonathan Schaech in this picture due to it's mainstream MTV audience (anyone who has seen his good performance in Splendor will know what I mean), though I suppose that many can't turn down a starring role. The actors are handsome and sexy, naturally, and a far cry from the dirty nail-infested antiquated coffin vampires of classic movies. Lots of blood, well-paced action scenes and innocent bystanders, virtually no vampire back story or mythos...though there was reference to the Knights Templar. Don't recall the soundtrack, though I think it was also average.

Title: Lost Boys [Special Edition]

Cast: Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Corey Feldman, Kiefer Sutherland, Dianne Wiest, Barnard Hughes, Jamison Newlander, Billy Wirth, Edward Herrmann
MPAA Rating: N/A
My Rating:
Tagline: Sleep all day. Party all night. Never grow old. Never die. It's fun to be a vampire.
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0093437/
Released: 1987

Summary: Financial troubles force a recent divorcee and her teenage sons Mike and Sam to settle down with her father in the California town of Santa Carla. At first, Sam laughs off rumours he hears about vampires who inhabit the small town. But after Mike meets a beautiful girl at the local amusement park, he begins to exhibit the classic signs of vampirism. Fearing for his own safety, Sam recruits two young vampire hunters to save his brother by finding and destroying the head vampire.

Review: Ah, what can I say about the Lost Boys? Comic books & motorcycles. Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, Corey Haim, Billy Wirth, Corey Feldman...oh my! This movie takes the word "classic" to an entirely different level. It even invented the term "vamp off", of Buffy fame...and was Joel Schumacher's great movie (before he went platinum and too hollywood, that is). This movie provided a definitive jumping off point for later vamp films and THAT is one of the reasons why it is so loved.

Got the special edition & the features are freaking incredible. Lots of stuff, including interviews, rare facts, photo galleries (though a bit boring) and a TON of info on the global vampire mythos.

The problem that most critics of this movie have is that it is too "funny": Is that a problem? Not every movie has to be an Anne Rice epic - SOME movies like to poke fun @ the vampire genre while dishing out a helping of pretty men for dessert. Is that a crime? Nope. The special effects are a la Buffy TV, with the ugly concave, slanted eyebrows and broad forehead...and well done. Lot of nostalgia, lots of cliche/cheesy stuff...but that is why it is so great! I will always remember when Kiefer sticks his fangs into the top of someone's head: again, CLASSIC. Big hair, flaskback music...a must see. =)

Title:Blade III: Trinity

Cast: Wesley Snipes, Paul Michael Levesque (aka Triple H), Kris Kristofferson, Ryan Reynolds, Jessica Biel, Parker Posey
MPAA Rating: R
My Rating:
Tagline: The final hunt begins.
IMDb Site: http://imdb.com/title/tt0359013/
Released: 2004

Summary: Wesley Snipes returns as the day-walking vampire hunter in the explosive third and final film in the Blade franchise, Blade: Trinity. When the Vampire Nation hatches a plan to frame Blade in a series of brutal killings, he must join forces with the Nightstalkers, a clan of human vampire hunters, in an extreme battle in which the trail of blood leads directly to the notorious vampire legend, Dracula.

Review: Pretty good! Well worth the price of admission, especially because I am a Ryan Reynolds & HHH fan...though they are the supporting cast. The storyline was unique, and (being a comic book fangirl) it was cool to see the Nightstalkers mentioned on the big screen. The action & soundtrack were awesome (do people still say 'awesome'? Well, I do at least...) and I think the cast was well-chosen: and Reynold's wit was incredible - one of the things that made the movie for me.