Dracula Untold

draculauntold (3)

Vampire Owl :: Do we need extra horror after Annabelle?

Vampire Bat :: No, its Dracula special. We made a promise to Uncle Dracula. Remember?

Vampire Owl :: But we will end up with an overdose of horror here.

Vampire Bat :: There is nothing like an overdose of horror. It is part of our daily lives. And this one won’t scare us at all, as the genre is different.

Vampire Owl :: I hope we can recommend this to Uncle Dracula.

Vampire Bat :: We have to watch it whatever happens. It is the only English movie in the local theatres now.

Vampire Owl :: I wish they had released these movies on different dates. This is more of a collision which will damage both these movies.

Vampire Bat :: Only if there was no stupid Bang Bang! last weekend. Annabelle might have come earlier.

Vampire Owl :: See, this Bollywood is the source of all evil.

Vampire Bat :: I have known it since Dhoom 2 and Besharam made me certain about it with enough support from Dhoom 3 and Krrish 3.

[Gets the tickets].

What is it about? :: The tale of the vampire begins with the man, a prince of Transylvania who is ruling his world in peace as a kingdom giving tribute to the Ottoman Empire. But things change as the Sultan asks for thousand boys from his kingdom as a tribute to be part of their slave army so as to conquer the whole of Europe. Vlad the Impaler (Luke Evans) cannot agree to his demand, and as requested by his wife Mirena (Sarah Gadon), decides to save the boys from doom as he takes up arms against the huge Turkish army. As he understands the stupidity behind his own decision, climbs a mountain which is supposed to have ancient evil within it, and asks the creature inside the cave which had killed a number of Turkish scouts for help. The creature is actually one of the most evil emperors of all time turned vampire, Caligula (Charles Dance), grants him vampirism for three days during which he will have the vampiric abilities and certain weaknesses, but have to control his thirst for blood; in failing to do so will turn him into a vampire forever.

Positives and Negatives :: Dracula is our favourite vampire, at least for most of us, and here we have an origin tale rather than the usual bloodsucker story. Unlike what some people were expecting, Dracula Untold is not packed with horror – one has to wonder why were people so sure about the same? Even the director himself had said that this was more of a drama with elements of action and adventure. The last battle is a little overdone with vampirism, but other than that, the special effects are amazing, especially the effects of bats, dark clouds, impalings, transformations and the Gothic atmosphere that has been successfully created. May be they could have added more innovation and removed the predictability factor, as we know what would happen to the prince already. There have been many types of vampires and Dracula, and there is Luke Evans. It is he who controls this movie with a brilliant performance. Sarah Gadon is also stunningly good in her character of faith and hope, while Dominic Cooper makes a nice villain.

Soul exploration I :: Dracula, the hero against the empire :: The age of empires does sound awesome as a computer game, but otherwise, it is a bloody case of cruelty and brutal subjugation, which doesn’t end in just a conquest. The case of one country extending its domain over another through war is nothing less than a permanent ill-treatment of a future generation, as what the Ottoman Empire does in this movie is nothing different, and there is no empire on Earth which is not built on the blood of the innocent. Here, Dracula is a man of the people, and even as a prince of his small kingdom, he has known the life of someone worse than a common man, as he was taken by the Turks at his early age to be part of the Janissary – an elite infantry unit made of slaves recruited by the Sultan from the Other. He stands up against the ill-treatment of his people in a desire for equal value of human life. He automatically becomes the symbol against imperialism and brutal power.

Soul exploration II :: Dracula, the superhero of the grey side :: Going back to the origins, our villain is still the hero, who has made one fatal decision which would make him a tragic hero, as he ponders over that question which have haunted Hamlet for such a long time, to be or not be (or to drink or not to drink) as he is caught in those stages of transformation into a vampire where he could be immortal in one of the two ways possible. He is neither good or evil there, and in that situation of the grey, he stumbles upon that incident which would turn him into dark grey. He is a man caught in a world of good and evil, where the grey has no position, or has to forcibly embrace the black, or the evil. Dracula is a man of our age, and we know that he could have survived better if lived a long time after his time of existence, and he was not the hero whom his world deserved. History rarely keeps grey characters as it praises only the victors, but we know that there would have been an abundance of them.

Soul exploration III :: Dracula, the villain of the night and darkness :: Dracula’s situation and his descend in forced upon him, but his voluntary decision to choose what he thought was necessary evil against pure evil would become the ultimate evil in more than one way. He becomes a lot like Faustus by selling his soul to the devil, and another Faustian tragic hero has his roots. But with the scope left for a sequel, and those words “let the games begin” reveal to us that we haven’t seen the final shade of this man to which Luke Evans has given another life. Even in his worst situation, Dracula is just dark grey, and his further passing down to the darkness hasn’t occured, which should not be interesting for a lot of people, but my request for such people would be to wait. Dracula is immortal, and this is just the beginning – you have a lot to look out for, and the ending does seems to connect with the style of the 1992 movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Yes, this is a good re-telling, and not another copy of whatever you see everywhere these days.

How it finishes :: Dracula Untold is not your typical vampire story, and neither is it something that will give you scares every night. Those who wish to see the fangs of terror riding high, as well as those who were hoping for the eternal Twilight style fake love story are going to be disappointed. This was never a horror movie in its core, and this origin story of the greatest vampire of all time, is rather what you can call Dracula Begins, and will work just like Batman Begins as a beginning and a pillar to bring on something like The Dark Knight. This is not a vampire attack tale either, but a preface to the vampire world to which we are to enter. So, if you needed a lot of blood sucking and marks on lots of necks, you would need to check one of those earlier movies which are closer to the Bram Stoker work, rather than going for this. It should be why the word “untold” is added to the title, not to look for those usual bloodsucker tales here. This is highly recommended for the fans of vampire mythology, and I doubt about its effect on normal people; work your intellect and think differently, may be this can work better.

Release date: 10th October 2014
Running time: 92 minutes
Directed by: Gary Shore
Starring: Luke Evans, Sarah Gadon, Samantha Barks, Dominic Cooper, Art Parkinson, Charles Dance, Charlie Cox, William Houston, Ferdinand Kingsley, Noah Huntley, Dilan Gwyn, Zach McGowan, Ronan Vibert, Diarmaid Murtagh, Thor Kristjansson, Joseph Long, Damien Kivlehan

draculauntold

@ Cemetery Watch
✠ The Vampire Bat.

Stoker

stokerr

The legend of Stoker :: The first idea image that comes to one’s mind with the name “Stoker” is that of a vampire, if not exactly that of the primary antagonist of a 1897 Gothic horror novel. Thanks to Bram Stoker, the legend of Dracula has been something that continues to be synonymous with vampirism itself. But, there is nothing directly related to Bram Stoker here, and lets not make any guesses about it being something about the life of the creator of the world’s most well-known vampire (one of the few English writers whose name I have known since childhood). Stoker gives you no blood sucker, and even when there are murders, there is no such behaviour of not wasting the blood. The Vampire Bat has been historically against wastage of blood, and is certain to have been sad about his own idea about this movie being wrong, but that feeling never stood strong till the end of the movie. Stoker was never supposed to be about vampires, and it was not meant to be the usual horror movie; it had to be different.

What is it about? :: India Stoker (Mia Wasikowska) is not going through a good period of time after her father Richard (Dermot Mulroney) dies in a car accident. Her mentally unstable mother Evelyn (Nicole Kidman) and India doesn’t seem to get along well. Richard’s brother Charlie (Matthew Goode) comes to the scene at that time, and keeps talking about his life which was mostly spent traveling all around the world. His stay at the house turns out to be longer than expected, and even as Evelyn likes that, India is mostly indifferent to his presence and on some occasions, rather not happy with his existence. She continues to keep away from him despite the fact that he seems to be trying quite hard to be very friendly with her. But as almost everyone who has an argument with Charlie disappears, India begins to feel that there is more to him than what meets the eye. Later, she even finds one of the dead bodies in the freezer. But she won’t be able to tell that to her mother who seems to have developed some intense feelings for his charms.

The defence of Stoker :: The movie successfully brings that creepy environment into play, with a huge house and its surrounding which seem to have more secrets than any normal person can endure, but that would eventually be proved wrong by the two characters, the introvert niece and her uncle whose existence was never known as his presence is more mysterious than the absence. The association of big houses with horror comes as no surprise, as everybody needs room to store some horrible secrets; the movies in most of the languages has the same, and Stoker has used that very well. There are lots of surprises in store too, especially related to the new member of the family, and the youngest member of the same who always had it in her to bring that shock element for which we are made to wait. Is that all about horror? No, it is mostly about horror and rest is about fantasy which follows horror in such a way that both becomes beautifully intertwined. The visuals are so nicely done so that the strange, creepy atmosphere is never out of our mind, even with nothing vicious being tried.

The claws of flaw :: Stoker can disappoint the usual horror lover depending on what he or she is looking for. It doesn’t have anything supernatural or serial killers who comes out of nowhere to create a pool of blood, even as this one does have enough blood and gruesome murders. There are no weird faces coming out of the dark making strange noises and trying to take advantage of that shocking side. This doesn’t go through that path set by Insidious and Sinister, the former needing no introduction and the latter having the most read horror movie review on my blog even as it was written almost an year after it was released, in the honorary movies list. The movie has that uniqueness which might make some audience disinterested. There is also some part of the movie where it might seem that nothing really happens, but that is not really that usual drag. The movie could have still used a little more of the direct horror, and there it might have lost a few fans too. It is also so much mixed in its genre that it can trouble fans of many genres. The grief and feelings in this movie can be highly subjective for the viewers too.

Performers of the soul :: This one comes from the South Korean director of the much admired Oldboy which was voted as one of the best Asian movies, and also Thirst which seems to have also got a similar reception – so that expectations were going to be high and I would say that this one delivers nicely, at least for me. Matthew Goode’s performance comes as real stunner in this one, as he exhibits both sides of being terrifying as well as charming with so much brilliance. Nicole Kidman also does nice with what might be the best someone can give for such a character. The best part of the movie should be Mia Wasikowska though. I mostly remember her from Alice in Wonderland in which she was so good, and she was the best Jane Eyre that most of us had ever known. Here, she takes that into another level as she is presented with a character who might be one of the strangest girls ever. She plays no Carrie, but even this character is so gifted in many ways along with being disturbed that she keeps us with her even as not completely on her side, and there comes the subjectivity of the viewers into play.

Soul exploration :: This is the first time that I have noticed Mia Wasikowska with black hair, and as that seems to suit her so well, it adds to the soul too. Eighteen year old girl and never really smiling in the movie – now that is more than just interesting for a Vampire Bat’s soul. Caught between her innocence and awareness, India doesn’t become like the others; she chooses to be different. But what is to follow when she decides to follow her instincts rather than her innocence? She is a lot like her uncle, and that is something that is proved again and again in the movie. They both have a lot in common, and India always has that invitation into that dark world which she can resist only with her best attempts. But her world has already shattered, and any resistance that she can produce would rather become an illusion which won’t help her a bit. She has always had the dark side with all its strength, and it is only herself that keeps her back, and there will always be a revelation which can turn the whole world upside down.

How it finishes :: Stoker successfully keeps the audience in the movie and doesn’t throw away its logic, even when it slows down in pace, an achievement which not many horror movies can boast about. You can say that with most of the shots of the movie. Stoker has style and it has substance; to add to it, this is a thriller and horror movie with the elements of drama, not something which is easy to achieve. “Don’t disturb the family” is a nice tagline for the movie too, as we do come to know what happens when even the youngest member of the family is disturbed – not a good sign for anyone planning to do the same. You got to love the way they look in the poster too, especially Mia Wasikowska; Barnabas Collins of Dark Shadows shall approve it with an A+. Watch this one as a horror movie, a thriller, a coming-of-age story, a slasher flick, a tale of revenge and even as a strange romantic tragedy. Stoker might be strange to a number of people belonging to the normal audience category, but it has so much in it which makes it a force to be reckoned with.

Release date: 1st March 2013
Running time: 99 minutes
Directed by: Park Chan-wook
Starring: Mia Wasikowska, Matthew Goode, Nicole Kidman, Dermot Mulroney, Jacki Weaver, Lucas Till, Alden Ehrenreich, Phyllis Somerville, Ralph Brown, Judith Godrèche

stoker copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.

Go Goa Gone

gogoagone (1)

In this world touched by the vampires of the last century and dominated by the not-at-all scary pseudo-vampires powered by works like Twilight, zombies have been forced to take the back-seat. Some would say that it is deserving to be so, and that is al they need, but without solid proof. Still, it would not be wrong if one says that this is more of a racist prejudice against a species which is on its very first stages of understanding the new world after being dead and back as a new person with a little brain as big as a vampire fang. We had seen Zombieland, the 2009 zombie comedy movie making enough fun of the poor creatures of the grave who are just trying to listen to their basic instinct of survival, that is to feed. So, what happens is that instead of finding a flesh and blood substitute for them with the use of what is at their hands, the so called heroes just murder them, not always on self-defence, sometimes as a routine thing. In Zombieland, our heroes take an extended road trip across the United States in an attempt to find a place free from the zombies, and Go Goa Gone is also a trip, and it is another zombie comedy, thus starting a number of similarities there. They should end when they both get positive critical reviews and become good commercial success stories – our movie has to go a little more to be sure about it, but for now, and from what it seems to be, it is surely on its way to becoming a success by all means.

Zombies are typically depicted as mindless, re-animated corpses with a never-ceasing hunger for human flesh and at times for the flesh of a few other creatures, with a special liking for human brains which tastes more like fried rice, and with blood added to it, they have enough flavour. A vampire is basically a re-animated corpse that is believed to rise from the grave at night to suck the blood of the unsuspecting humans; this never-ceasing thirst for human blood and at times the blood of some other creatures, with a special liking for fresh blood of beautiful women which tastes more like strawberry shake with a blood topping. Forget the vampires of Twilight, as they don’t count – they are just mutated humans with superpowers which can only be maintained by drinking human blood; a case of just random parasites of the world. The zombies can trace their popularity to Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, while the vampires can trace theirs to Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is basically John Polidori’s 1819 work, The Vampyre that got the vampire into the spotlight, while Mary Shelley’s 1818 work had already got the world’s first official zombie for the common man to understand. Did he eat human brains? No, but he did eat the brains of his own creator, and that is nothing less than cannibalism in an intellectual manner. Thanks to 28 Days Later and the never-ending series of Resident Evil movies and games, the zombies have finally found their address, in a different way, but not by losing their identity as in Twilight – not by choosing to sparkle rather than being what they really are.

It is known that they are both undead supernatural humanoids who hunts humans to please their instincts. In return, both are usually killed by burning or decapitating. They are both originally the creatures of the night and the undisputed rulers of the grave. The infection is spread and more of their kind is created by biting and infecting the wounds. They usually lack souls and are on the side of evil on a long scale which stretches from pure good to pure evil. zombies can walk in sunlight; vampires can only come out at night. But while zombies continue to decay and continues to lose their body parts, even as they won’t really mind it, vampires are preserved with their looks for eternity unless destroyed by an outside force. The zombies work solo even if they come in hordes – they don’t use nature, creatures or other fiends for help. The difference in looks and the food habits is evident. While zombies move slowly, vampires are incredibly fast. The violence in zombies is passive, but disheartening, as in vampires, it is active and still precise enough with the fangs on the neck of the victim. As zombies continue their mindless walk, vampires can use intellect as well as the superpowers, may be even shape-shift into animals like bats. Whatever is said, they are both still dead, but still moving, and they belong to the other side of the mirror, no matter how much Twilight try to make them assimilated.

Considering the movies like I am Legend and 30 Days of Night, there is surely a mixing of the two in history; forget Underworld‘s vampire-werewolf combination, this is more like that feasible undead combination. The origin through the death of the supreme evil men is one theory, but a virus infection seems to be more suitable to the age these days – zombies have been enslaved to this notion for more time than expected, while vampires also got themselves the scientific side with Daybreakers. Zombies are still scarier than vampires for the new age fans, as the latter have been portrayed in a romantic light not only in Twilight, but also in True Blood. Well, everybody needs their own dose of fear, and if vampires and witches can provide them no more, one has to turn to the zombies. There is always more than one side to horror; for more than it scares you, it rather prepares you for the worse which is to come. In the case of a horror comedy, it does the same without the problems of being that much scared. When Evil Dead didn’t release in India, it was a clear lose to the common horror fan. Whatever the reason might be, it is a clear case of absolute cruelty to a movie watcher to which many people should be answerable. Our movie is horror, comedy and the much needed experiment in this field for a movie industry which hasn’t really ventured to such a world before. Therefore, it is my privilege to welcome all of you into this world of zombies which is closer to the world of vampires than Twilight and True Blood.

The movie is the story of three friends, Hardik (Kunal Khemu), Luv (Vir Das), Bunny (Anand Tiwari). The first one needs a break from work, the second one a time away to deal with his break-up, and the third one has a presentation in Goa, which means that the first two accompany the third so that they can utilize all the facilities which are available to the more nerdy of the three as he goes for the presentation. In Goa, the whole scene takes a wrong turn when Luv meets the gorgeous Luna (Puja Gupta) in a violet bikini at the swimming pool and loses his broken heart once again. She introduces herself as one of his many facebook friends whom he rarely knew, and invites him for a special Russian party at an island not too far away. The party is hosted by a supposed-to-be-Russian guy named Boris (Saif Ali Khan) who is launching a special party drug, a prototype from Russia during this bash. The three friends have good time at the party. But what happens is that almost everyone on the island seems to turn into zombies on the very next day. Bunny even ends up telling a zombie girl to brush teeth before they meet up. As they slowly realize the hell that has come down on the island, Luv talks about saving Luna, to which Hardik replies that he will buy him a better Luna; the Kinetic Luna is always memorable isn’t it? They find Luna and are almost killed when Boris arrives in time to save them. Now, they have to survive, kill some dead people and get out of the island.

Kunal Khemu and Vir Das has complimented each other and has done a great job as the extremely lazy guys who argue so much about who will pick up the remote control andchange the television channel. They drink, smoke and run after girls with no interest in their works. They create the major part of fun in the movie, mostly with their lines. The third friend Bunny, played by Anand Tiwary, is just the opposite, as he is the nerd and he never gives an opinion otherwise. Saif Ali Khan steals the show from the moment he makes his first shot at a zombie. The Russian gangster is surely going to be a model for many characters in the future. He says “I kill dead people” and delivers. Along with the two friends in crime, he gets more of the better lines. He is an excellent zombie slayer and I hope he slays Twilight vampires too. Puja Gupta plays the gorgeous lady lead, and her arrival in the violet bikini marks the beginning of the twist, which would be complete on the very next morning. She transforms from the hot girl to the damsel in distress and then to the shotgun-murderer of the zombies by the end. She is undoubtedly a great addition to the beauty of Goa. Look out for the pool scene and when they take refuge in an abandoned house and try to figure out if one of them is really a zombie with question about Uganda and Mathematics. Go Goa Gone is undoubtedly a clever movie, and it is evident in the execution rather than everything else combined.

A week had the movie 3G as the big release, and here, two movies starting with alphabet G – 2Gs were the big releases from Bollywood, and this one would surely eclipse the other – after all, this movie has three Gs while the other has only one. Zombies would approve that it is reason enough for their success, running a full-time of 111-Nelson. The fun begins from the start itself, and it never ends; with the ending it has got, I would be looking forward to a sequel. This movie is what the Malayalam movie Kili Poyi could have been; with the heroes wandering around in Nee Ko Nja Cha style, the zombies add to the fun which is to be expected when the youth goes to Goa after a break-up and work-tension. Go Goa Gone is unlimited fun, and not your logically superior movie, but it still comes up with a strong message against the use of drugs. They have managed all of these and brought them together in such a manner that there is lots of blood and gore, and the zombie terror, still it is incredibly funny. The references to the movie Evil Dead, and the vampires and zombies of Hollywood just adds to the fun. Overall, it is non-stop entertainment without brains – for all the brains have been eaten by those zombies who are as hungry as any of the non-Twilight vampires a.k.a the real vampires.

Release date: 10th May 2013
Running time: 111 minutes
Directed by: Raj Nidimoru & Krishna D.K.
Starring: Saif Ali Khan, Puja Gupta, Kunal Khemu, Vir Das, Anand Tiwari

gogoagone copy

@ Cemetery Watch
✠The Vampire Bat.