Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary


Reviewed by: Angus Wolfe Murray

Inside this pretentious pastiche of a silent movie, an elegant ballet is fluttering at the glass. As an example of an idea too far, you need look no further.

Dracula is played by the Chinese dancer Wei-Qiang Zhang and Lucy, who takes the leading role, by Tara Birtwhistle. Shot in grainy black-and-white, with splashes of luscious red in the obvious places, the look of the film is kitchen basic, with bad lighting and an odd trick of photographing scenes as if through the lens of a telescope.

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Instead of filming Bram Stoker's novel as a dance, which, judging by the brief glimpses allowed here, would have been a thrilling experience, director Guy Maddin decides to go back to the roots and pretend that he is using tools of pioneer moviemakers. By doing so, the ballet is compromised and the film artificially aged.

Although on-one speaks, except with the use of convoluted dialogue boards - "A brave man's blood is the best thing for a woman in trouble" - they cheat on sound effects. The acting is intentionally dramatic in the Henry Irving style of theatrical excess, with the noticable exception of the Asiatic Count, who conducts himself admirably throughout.

Made in Canada, using homegrown dancers in the corps de ballet - nuns, vampire chicks, suitors - this might have been a thing of beauty, personified by Cindy Marie Small as Mina and Johnny A Wright as Jonathan Harker. Instead, someone wanted to be clever and make it look as if Bram himself was behind the camera.

Reviewed on: 11 Dec 2003
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Dracula: Pages From A Virgin's Diary packshot
Vamp tale pastiche lacks bite.
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Director: Guy Maddin

Writer: Mark Godden

Starring: Wei-Qiang Zhang, Tara Birtwhistle, David Moroni, Cindy Marie Small, Johnny A Wright, Brent Weale, Stephane Leonard, Matthew Johnson, Keir Knight

Year: 2002

Runtime: 73 minutes

BBFC: 12A - Adult Supervision

Country: Canada


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