Dracula’s Widow (1988)
directed by:Christopher Coppola
cast:Sylvia Kristel,Lenny Von Dohlen,Josef Sommer
80ies looking and feeling,abundant with gore, comic influenced vampire horror flick that also relies on some film noir influences (Voice over by Josef Sommer) and is drenched in blueish and reddish neon lights .On top of all that we get Sylvia Kristel playing the titular role,but does this thing actually work?
The young owner of a waxworks in Hollywood receives five instead of six ordered chests with Romanian antiques. He does not know that Vanessa, widow of Count Dracula, sleeps in the sixth chest. She rises in the night and walks around craving for blood. A thief witnessing the murder of his accomplice sets the police on the trail of the waxworks. The grandson of Dr. Van Helsing is is hunting the vampire, too…
Dracula’s Widow is a lush production.While it is stylistically accomplished, neatly photographed and it features professional gory effects ,it seems to be a haphazard affair at least in terms of (flawed )narrative . Coppola seems indecisive of what kind of film he wants to direct and while I personally enjoy all those references in the old-school Film noir genre or the fact that Coppola follows the myth of Count Dracula or Nosferatu to a certain extent , the end result is hit n’ miss.
Many fans have questioned the portrayal of Vanessa ,courtesy of Sylvia Kristel .Indeed Kristel’s performance seems heavyhanded,stiff and incomplete in terms of delivery .It is probable though that Vanessa’s rigidity and callousness could be the result of misdirection .It would be most certainly a refreshing change of pace if Kristel could have also added some predatory sexual references to the final mix. Von Dohlen seems genuinely perplexed and unable to define or control his own destiny , but the means he uses to convey those emotions are peculiar and he comes off as another flat character that no one will actually care about .
It may appear as if I actually hated that film.Not the case but I’m obliged to admit that there are tons of better Vampire films out there . There are redeeming values in Coppola’s film ,as the lush setpieces , cool gore and neat 80ies looking photography cannot be ignored , however Dracula’s Widow is a bit undercooked and will only appeal to the curious fans and to the Vampire legend completists.
As for me I enjoyed more the unpretentiously trashy “Nightshift”.