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THE SINS OF DRACULA (2014)
Published by David Carter on 2015/6/28 (807 reads)
Directed by Richard Griffin
Review by David Carter
Released by MVD Visual
Running Time: 81 minutes
Rating: Not Rated
Color format: Color
Audio/Subtitles: 2.0 Stereo English
Region Code: 1, NTSC
Aspect Ratio: 1.33:1
16:9 Enhanced: Yes
Special Features: Two commentary tracks, short film “They Stole the Pope’s Blood!”
Trailer Online: Yes
For most of his cinematic life, Dracula has prowled the cities and countryside of Europe in time periods ranging from the 18th to the early 20th century. Even dedicated fang-heads might have forgotten that Hammer brought the good Count into the modern day with DRACULA AD 1972 and THE SATANIC RITES OF DRACULA. Neither film is particularly well remembered, but along with films like COUNT YORGA, they helped establish that Dracula was as threatening hiding in the shadows of the modern neon-lit city as he was skulking around in Eastern European castles. Richard Griffin’s latest DVD THE SINS OF DRACULA borrows a page or two from the Hammer Dracula films but puts a unique twist on the concept of a revived Count. SINS is now available from MVD Visual.
Choirboy Billy is being pressured by his girlfriend Shannon to expand his horizons and bring his singing talents to her theatre group. Billy reluctantly agrees, unaware that the other members of the troupe are everything he’d been taught to avoid: a druggie, a homosexual, a “new waver,” and a gamer. Theatre head Lou Perdition is eager to have Billy’s voice in the group so he convinces him to stay for a starring role in “Jonestown Jubilee,” an original show about the Jonestown massacre.
Unbeknownst to him at the time, Billy’s reluctance was well founded. Lou and girlfriend Kimberly are hardcore Satanists determined to resurrect Count Dracula. Religious Billy’s pure blood is the final ingredient they need to restore the Count to his full power, but Lou decides that the other theatre kids would make nice appetizers for Dracula in the meantime. Billy realizes who and what he’s up against only after it is too late when Lou and Dracula kidnap Shannon. He seeks counsel from his minister, who helps Billy lead an all-out assault on the theatre and the newly-fanged theatre kids.
THE SINS OF DRACULA is definitely one of the most enjoyable out of the recent resurgence of Dracula films that have hit screens. Echoes of the Hammer films and of 80’s stand out FRIGHT NIGHT will be especially appreciated by horror fans. As in his other films, Griffin does an excellent job of employing subtle homage, never outright copying or making the references annoyingly obvious. Although a horror-comedy, SINS successfully strikes a balance between the two and, while darkly funny at times, leans more toward the horror end of that spectrum than some of Griffin’s recent works.
Dracula has historically been used as a symbol of sexual desire, and SINS builds upon that symbolism to incorporate Dracula into the 80s’ cycle of anti-promiscuity horror films and the social satanic panic. It’s a clever device and film shows a good deal more intelligence than one typically expects out of low budget horror cinema. Griffin uses a troupe of regular actors in his films, all of whom do an excellent job here as usual. Samantha Acampora is especially gifted at stealing a scene even when chewing on scenery is the standard for all the performances. SINS will be most appreciated by those of you who remember being a horror fan (or any other ostracized group) in the 1980s, but there are more than enough entertaining moments for everyone here.
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