Dracula’s Curse (2006) – By James L. Neibaur

 Ever since Max Schreck stalked his way through F.W. Murnau’s Nosferatu in 1922, Bram Stoker’s tale of Dracula has seen countless cinematic variations. From the eeriness of Bela Lugosi at Universal, to the gothic Hammer presentation by Christopher Lee, all the way to the bloated literary pretensions of Francis Ford Coppola’s opus, Dracula has enjoyed a myriad of cinematic perspectives.

This brings us to Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Curse, currently available on DVD from The Asylum. Writer-director Leigh Slawner (credited in this film and henceforth refered to in this review as Leigh Scott) offers yet another successful blend of action, horror, and comedy, and gets the most out of a comparatively low budget and a gaggle of solid, hard working actors who seem genuinely committed to the material, especially Rhett Giles, Tom Downey, and Eliza Swenson.

What is impressive about this film is how it confronts a well-used cinematic franchise and offers enough new ideas to make it palatable for those of us whose senses have been dulled by the utter sameness of so many Dracula incarnations. And Leigh Scott shows a real ingenuity in that he is working within the parameters of a low budget, yet still offers enough special effects prowess to enhance the many violent action sequences that help pace the film. It is easy to fault a lower budget film’s special effects, and often reviewers do not take into account the budget limitations by which some filmmakers are forced to adhere. When a filmmaker like Scott manages to make the effects look this good with a budget far beneath the noisy, effects-addled misfires from the bigger studios, his work should be commended. Scott’s penchant for adding an underlying humorous base to to the proceedings works nicely as well.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula’s Curse also includes a number of interesting Special Features, including cast and crew commentary tracks, behind-the-scenes footage, bloopers, outtakes, and a music video.

This DVD is recommended for those who need to be introduced to the films coming from The Asylum, as well as the work of Leigh Scott and the actors contained therein. This may be Scott’s best film thus far.