The Legend Rises
Directed by #dario argento.
Written by Dario Argento, Enrique Cerezo, Stefano Piani, Bram Stoker and Antonio Tentori.
UK: Argento’s Dracula
The film starts on Walpurgis Night and Tanja (Miriam Giovanelli) ventures out through the woods to meet her lover Milos (Christian Burruano). After a spot of rumpy pumpy, Milos refuses to walk Tanja home for fear of being seen. She throws away the cross he gave her in anger. As she returns through the woods she is attacked by Dracula (Thomas Kretschmann) who first appears in the form of an owl.
Jonathan Harker (Unax Ugalde) arrives by train and hires a horse as no coach is available. He is chased by wolves as he rides through the woods. He arrives at a guest house where he spends the night.
Tanja rises from her grave and joins Dracula as one of the undead.
The next day Jonathan visits the Kisslinger house and meets Lucy (Asia Argento). He tells Lucy that Mina (Marta Gastini), his wife and Lucy’s friend, has been delayed. He also meets Andrej Kisslinger (Augusto Zucchi), Lucy’s father, before continuing to the castle where he is to work for Dracula.
At the castle, he first meets Tanja and then Count Dracula himself.
“Listen to them, the children of the night, what music they make.”
Tanja is about to bite Jonathan when an angry Dracula enters and bites Jonathan himself. Trapped in a nightmare, Jonathan tries to escape but is again attacked by Dracula, this time in the form of a wolf.
Mina Harker arrives and is met by Lucy at the station.
Dracula visits Lucy in the night and bites her. Lucy starts feeling ill. Mina gives a man called Zoran (Giuseppe Lo Console), who makes deliveries to Dracula’s castle, a letter for Jonathan. Later when Mina is bathing Lucy she notices marks on the back of Lucy’s leg. Lucy convinces Mina to go to the castle where she meets Count Dracula who tells her that he has sent Jonathan on an errand to the city. When Mina returns to the Kisslinger house she learns of Lucy’s death.
Enter Van Helsing (Rutger Hauer).
The story is very familiar, this being a traditional version of Dracula. Personally, I like it. Some of the effects are a bit ropey I can’t deny, the wolf transforming into Dracula looks fakey, while others are perfectly fine, particularly when it gets gory. And this is a fairly violent and gory version of Dracula. It’s distinctly small-scale compared to Francis Ford Coppola’s film which I still think is the best version of Dracula. I liked Thomas Kretschmann as Count Dracula and the rest of the cast too; Asia Argento stood out in a couple of places as Lucy. The music by Claudio Simonetti is a bit over-the-top, sounding like something from a 50s science fiction film possibly. Overall, I think it’s an enjoyable film, I’ve watched it several times now, but it’s certainly not one of Argento’s best. Another retelling of a classic tale directed by Argento is The Phantom of the Opera (1998) which I think is a far better film than this but both have their problems.
Also stars Giovanni Franzoni as Renfield, Maria Cristina Heller as Jarmila and Alma Noce as Marika.