I really like 3D movies. We lost our 3D tv in the big earthquake of 2018 and it took us a few months and a lot of money to replace with the massive 86′ 4k 3D monster we have now. Most streaming services don’t provide 3D content which means I have to curate my own 3D library. I’ve made a point to watch a 3D horror movie during the October marathons and this year the distinction went to a Dracula 3D. I expected a lot from a movie with the combined pedigree of Dario Argento, Rutger Hauer, and IFC Films but I was dead wrong.
Dario Argento’s created a handful of classics over his career. I’m partial to The Bird With the Crystal Plumage and Susperia but Dracula 3D? That’s a bloody mess. Dracula 3D starts out with one of the best versions of the cliched horror scene of a young couple sneaking out to make love in the woods only to be attacked by a monster. It’s on par with the gold standard of that trope from 2005’s Man-Thing.
After that scene Dracula 3D feels like a Sci-Fi channel original film. Stagnant dialogue scenes lazily drift to high energy action complete with copious fake blood and cheap special effects like you’d expect from The Asylum. They’re the production company that makes knockoff versions of big budget studio films like Atlantic Rim and Ape vs. Monster and their finished CGI looks little better than 2004 animatics.
The best part of Dracula 3D is the scene when Dracula transforms into a giant praying mantis before attacking his victim. Was that in the novel? This is the first time I’ve seen a vampire transform into a giant bug but maybe it’s a previously established part of the lore (Was Kafka a vampire?).
The worst part was Asia Argento’s topless scenes. Yep, that’s the same last name as the director and no, they’re not married… because she’s his daughter. That’s the kind of information that takes me out of a movie. Now I’m imagining the awkwardness of Dario directing his daughter in a nude scene and missed the last 15 minutes of Dracula 3D. Where’d that giant praying mantis come from!?
They don’t even make appropriate use of the 3D! It’s a travesty, horror films have more license to use 3D gimmicks than any other genre but here we are without a single memorable effect. In My Bloody Valentine 3D an ax flys right into the camera and a skeletal arm reaches towards your face in The Creature From the Black Lagoon! I remember those moments because they were effective uses of the medium. I can only speculate on the reason Argento’s left the set satisfied with this work but at the end of the day Dracula 3D falls flat.