"Dracula III: Legacy"
by Kevin Carr
|| MOVIE: **1/2 (out of 5 stars)
DVD EXPERIENCE: ***1/2 (out of 5 stars)
Jason Scott Lee as FATHER UFFIZI
Jason London as LUKE
Alexandra Wescourt as JULIA HUGHES
Diane Neal as ELIZABETH
Roy Scheider as CARDINAL SIQUEROS
Rutger Hauer as DRACULA
Directed by: Patrick Lussier
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I have to laugh at the direct-to-DVD movie “Dracula III.” There’s just something funny about a sequel to “Dracula.”
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Now I know they’ve been making sequels to “Dracula” and “Frankenstein” ever since the 1940s. I’ve seen most of them from the old Universal vault. The sequels for “Dracula” were always bad. Both “Dracula’s Daughter” and “Son of Dracula” were some of the weaker horror films of the day. But the difference between these films and the Dimension “Dracula” franchise is that these weren’t labeled II or III.
I just have this image of Bram Stoker fighting with the studio over what they’re doing to his original character. That brings a smile to my face.
I never saw Wes Craven’s “Dracula 2000” or the follow up, “Dracula II.” So I’m coming into this whole series as a newbie. It’s not terribly hard to pick things up, and the story isn’t all that complex. Father Uffizi (Jason Scott Lee) is traveling through Eastern Europe with Luke (Jason London) in search of Dracula (Rutger Hauer).
Luke is searching for his lover that was taken in “Dracula II.” Uffizi, however, has darker motives. He’s been infected with the vampire virus and is fighting its power. Much like Blade from his own movie series, Uffizi has superhuman powers that help him battle the vampires themselves.
Like the recent “Hellraiser” sequels, the iconic figure that symbolizes the movies has very little screen time. We do get to see Dracula eventually, but not until the end, and even then he’s somewhat peripheral to the scene. It felt more like the filmmakers just gave up and realized that they needed to put Dracula in the movie somewhere and chose this particular place to do so.
At least in the cinematic morass that is modern movies, “Dracula III” is better than the wimpy vampire lore pioneered by Anne Rice. These vampires have teeth and don’t mope around as much as others I’ve seen. With the focus on the vampire hunters, the filmmakers have a chance to portray the vampires as actual evil, less sympathetic beings.
The DVD comes with a nice array of special features, including a commentary track, movie trailers, an alternate ending and deleted scenes. There’s also video clips of auditions from cast member, which is always fun to see the hopeful actors trying to get the part. Finally, there are two featured documentaries, one with make-up effects artist Gary J. Tunnicliffe and the other with director Patrick Lussier on the legends of vampires.
These “Dracula” movies fall in line with Dimension’s other horror franchises, like “Hellraiser,” “The Prophecy” and “The Crow.” In comparison, “Dracula III” falls somewhere below “Hellraiser” but above “The Crow” sequels. It’s not a grand placement, but there’s always a market for vampire movies.
Specifications: Dolby Digital 5.1 Surround Sound. Widescreen (2.35:1), enhanced for 16x9 televisions. French and Spanish subtitles; English language subtitles for the hearing impaired.