When one acquires a DVD from the distribution company Wild Eye Releasing, it’s always often a toss-up of what they might get, perhaps something nominated for major awards, maybe played at Cannes Film Festival, or it’s lesser known, that its very bad such as Amityville Exorcism (2017) or Shark Exorcist (2015) and there’s their foreign movies, like this one the first released in United States. Emilio Schargorodsky not only directed this production of Apostle of Dracula originally released in 2012, but served as editor, producer, camera department, cinematographer and screenwriter and assisted by Jose Luis Matoso and Javier Caffarena who also perform the duties of editor, composer, producer, and actor. A story based from Bram Stoker’s Dracula and inspired by Edgar Allen Poe’s poem Spirit of the Dead, but spoken in Spanish yet dubbed for this version. Its telling reinforced by the gothic trappings in design and costumes which presents a gloomy representation of a horror soap opera, but nothing like that of Dark Shadows. The storyline does attempt to change the concept of Dracula around a bit, while modernizing, and trying to incorporate the older sexualized European horror of the 70s. Perhaps due to Emilio who worked with Jess Franco and vampire themed flicks Killer Barbys vs. Dracula (2002), Vampire Junction (2001), and Vampire Blues (1999 Video), yet once again explores the bloodsucker desires and needs.
While at a Spanish night club, Lucy (Nathalie Legosles (Evolution )) meets a dark, tall, and handsome gentleman and invites her to his luxurious yacht and spends a romantic night with clips of an erotic shadowy lovemaking and transfer of power and lust showed. By the next morning, she is suffering from memory loss, her past drifts slowly by, as she relaxes in a bath while recalling with fondness the one-night stand. She later finds herself being stalked by people who she at first doesn’t realize who they are, however through her dreams and visions does she remember who she is and what her stalkers are after, Dracula (Javier Caffarena) wants and must have Lucy. Meanwhile, Doctor Van Helsing (Paul Lapidus) who is attempting to save Lucy and to rid the world of evil including old Dracula, with the help of his Seward (Antonio Del Rio, who also served a makeup-artist); head to the castle for the final showdown of good versus evil while appearing as if they were mafia hitman. This all becomes hard to put to screen complete with a gothic style of horror on a limited budget, hence a few modern pieces were incorporated into the flick, however one can understand the movie’s suffering at points. Some question the elements deployed in the film such as the jumbling of the Dracula lore, and a complaint of having the vampire exposed to daylight, however if one might recall in Francis Ford Coppola Dracula (1992) his version of Dracula exists in the daylight hours. Nevertheless, a very cool scene exists of using shadow-play the easily reminds oneself horror film Nosferatu (1922), especially when concern that of Max Schrek’s title role.
Schargorodsky’s film uses wide open landscape shots to make for a larger picture, trying to avoid the tight confines due to his budgetary concerns, while deploying other classic filming styles of using shadows to create more gothic situations. Meanwhile the music sounds at times eerily similar to Wojciech Kilar’s 1992 Dracula score and haunting reminder to that of James Bernard soundtrack of the Hammer Studios. Now a note about the cover art, the woman in the artwork isn’t in the movie, and the scene doesn’t exist. A slight letdown comes from the dubbing issues, the audio is very monotone, the character’s voice never seems to express any emotions regardless of the actions occurring on screen, hence best option watches it as a silent film.
While there’s plenty of variations on the Dracula and vampire lore that’s scattered throughout the horror genre, this one, which also known as Dracula .09, however I have no reason why that’s the alternative title. Nevertheless the film strides to create and capture atmosphere much easier than the hinting at the beginning of the movie for the eroticism found in Jean Rollin or Jess Franco films, which never truly rises to the proper level.
IMDb Rating: 4.6/10
Baron’s Rating: 4.0/10