After his girlfriend Julia (Kerry Dustin) died in a water-skiing accident on their vacation, Steven Hillman (Denny Sachen) decides the best thing to do is to take a load off and vacation in the most exotic, relaxing place in all of Europe.
Moravia – Center of the Czech firearm industry.
Of course, not before seeing some shooting star or flying comet, whatever, and making a wish that his girlfriend was still alive.
While traveling the region, he stumbles upon a local inn where he meets Carla (Kerry Dustin), the innkeeper’s daughter who recently died and came back to life for no reason at all, and – wait for it.
LOOKS. EXACTLY. LIKE… JULIA.
No reason at all, you say? Bull shit. Jiminy Cricket was right. Anything your heart desires will come true.
Meanwhile, the same can’t be said for whatever unlucky village got completely wiped out by whatever kinda flaming ball of gas Steven used to make his wish.
There were no survivors.
Steven is naturally elated. Thanks to the power of God and the screenwriter’s pen, he gets his gal back, or – well, close enough. But there’s an evil lurking within the village by the name of Count Dracula (Ernest M. Garcia/Chaba Hrotko/Tom McGowan), and it’ll be up to All-American boy Steven and Doctor Van Helsing (Bruce Glover) to put an end to Dracula’s hunt for blood and destroy him once and for all.
Contrary to what you all might have been hoping for, this has nothing to do with Dracula leading a group of terrorists in taking over the Nakatomi Plaza and attempting to steal $640 million in bearer bank bonds.
I’m not one to toot my own horn, but I like to think that I’m a moderately intelligent person. Have a found the cure for cancer? No, but I do know how to tie my shoes, brush my teeth and that drinking bleach is probably not a good idea, so I got that going for me. However, I think I’ve finally met a challenge that just might be too strong to figure out, and that’s whether Die Hard Dracula was trying to be a serious vampire horror film, or a spoof of the genre. As inexplicably pieced together as it all is, attempting to decide if it was one or the other nearly led to my head exploding.
So here’s probably what happened. Writer/director/producer Peter Horak and his cast and crew were in the midst of making a straightforward vampire movie. Then, somewhere in between the flying coffin and Czechs that speak American accented English better than most Americans (well, except for the one s-s-s-s-st-st-stut-stuttering Stanley), everyone realized the movie sucked, so they figured they’d do a knee-jerk U-turn and turn it into a comedy. That would be all fine and dandy; however, the jokes are so forced that the argument just presented seems more and more legit, and that the filmmakers threw in a few cheap gags to somehow convince us they were in on the joke the whole time.
If the comical add-ons didn’t create such a neck-snapping whiplash tone shift from the horror elements, and the ending didn’t feel so jarringly half-assed and thrown in, Horak might’ve been able to succeed in fooling us all.
Even if it was edited flawlessly, and the special effects such as Dracula rising out of a lake were even just a slight pay grade above the actor popping up out of an obviously green screened image of a lake, this still wouldn’t work as a comedy ’cause it normally helps to have a cast that has at least some sense of comic timing.
Ironically, their failure in making it a comedy has unwittingly made it funnier than if they were able to make it work.
So here are the primary reasons Die Hard Dracula falls apart, and it starts with Denny Sachen as Steven, the young man vacationing in the Czech Republic of all places. Amidst all the hamming it up, Sachen plays it comatose dull, save for the few times he tries to be a badass by standing up to Dracula and warning him to step off ’cause he’s an American.
“I’m an American… and we’re tough!”
That is actually a quote in the movie.
Yes, Steven, American’s are, in fact, tough. Bram Stoker also believed in that noble toughness, and rewarded Quincey Morris’s red, white and blue machismo by having him be the hero who makes Dracula his bowie knife’s bitch.
That’s right, Dracula. That’s how we roll in the States… and if you don’t like it, you can giiiiiiiiiiiiiiiit out!
Then again, one of Dracula’s loyal Szgany gypsy’s made Morris his knife’s bitch as well. Sooo close. Oh well, the effort was admirable. Take it away, Lee Greenwood.
“… Aaaand I’m proud to be an American, where at least I know I’m free!!!!”
Steven must’ve been doing something right, though. He does get to bone the hot innkeeper’s daughter in one of the most bizarre sex scenes, second only to Tommy Wiseau’s naval fucking in The Room. What starts as slow and steamy and sensuous then switches gears at the snap of a finger when Tchaikovsky’s “Russian Dance” starts blasting away while the bed bounces up and down so furiously I’d be surprised if Steven and (or) Carla didn’t have their pelvises shattered into dust.
The Benny Hill theme would’ve been a better fit.
Then there’s Bruce Glover (Crispin’s dad who starred in Chinatown, the original Walking Tall and was Mr. Wint in the Bond film Diamonds Are Forever) as Doctor Van Helsing, the second most iconic character – behind Dracula of course – from Stoker’s novel. It’s clear that Bruce appears to be the only one who sees the utter ridiculousness of the material and hams it up because of it. But although you can’t blame him for lacking self-awareness, it doesn’t help that his hamminess butts heads with Sachen’s lack thereof. It also doesn’t help that the material has turned the legendary professor into a moron who assumes Dracula’s weakness is silver bullets.
You’re in the wrong monster flick, Van Helsing.
So what’s his excuse when the silver bullets don’t work? Dracula’s heart must be floating around aimlessly inside his body.
That scientific epiphany there proves that anyone in Europe can become a doctor and not just the ones that have stayed at a Holiday Inn Express last night. Obtaining a medical license must be as easy as obtaining a fishing license at Wal-Mart for the Dutch.
Lastly we have Dracula, who has the power of Force lightning (when not forsaking God, he must be performing double-duty as a Sith Lord), and magic flaming balls that, in true Stormtrooper fashion (might as well stick with the Star Wars comparison), he can’t hit the broad side of a barn with. It’s with this character where Horak really drops the ball. I can overlook a Dracula that is able to walk around in broad daylight without even disguising the fact that he’s a vampire. As stupid as Van Helsing’s proven himself to be, it’s must be a cakewalk for the vampire king to fly under the radar. I mean, if the doctor’s that stupid, I can’t imagine the lowly villagers having any higher of an IQ. I can overlook a Dracula that looks like a puppet on a string when flying. I can even overlook a Dracula who needs a voice actor to dub in the vampire’s voice, which sounds an awfully lot like the creepy, chain-smoking, alcoholic child molester you usually see sitting by himself at the bus stop, and sounds 10x louder than the rest of the film’s audio.
What cannot be overlooked are the three different actors used to play Dracula. Why three different actors? Beats the shit out of me. The only reason I can think of is it’s doing something similar to the different stages of appearance Gary Oldman’s Dracula had in Francis Ford Coppola’s version. But it was always Gary Oldman playing each transformation, and each transformation still resembled the other in some way or another. Whoever did the makeup here made no effort to bring any consistency to the character’s look. You don’t need 20/20 vision to see just how noticeable the differences are. I mean, imagine Francis Ford Coppola having Gary Oldman play one appearance of Dracula, and then having Eddie Griffin and Chris Farley play the other two. It’s that noticeable.
Hell, come to think of it, you don’t even need eyesight for that.
If Bram Stoker’s mind was riddled with the worst case of ADHD known to man, his literary masterpiece would kinda resemble Die Hard Dracula, just slightly more competent, though. The plot makes no sense and having three polar-opposite looking actors play one Dracula makes even less sense. But it’s got its own flying coffin, and despite the poor acting, lousy effects and humorless jokes (at least the intentional ones), how many other films can honestly say they have the benefit of featuring one of those?