Tuesday, March 24, 2015

THE SINS OF DRACULA (2014)

THE SINS OF DRACULA  (2014) 

Label: MVD VIsual 
Region Code: 0 NTSC 
Rating: Unrated 
Duration: 81 Minutes
Audio: English Dolby Digital 2.0 
Video: Anamorphic Widescreen 
Director: Richard Griffin
Cast: Michael Thurber, Jamie Dufault, Sarah Nicklin, Samantha Acampora, Steven O'Broin, Carmine Capobianco, Elyssa Baldassarri, Johnny Sederquist, Derek Laurendea

There are precious few micro-budget film makers out there right now churning out cheapie movies as consistently entertaining as Mr. Richard Griffin, the man has dipped his venerable big toe into softcore exorcism with Disco Exorcist (2011), nunsploitation with Nun of That (2009), vintage sci-fi with Atomic Brain Invasion (2010), Lovecraftian horror Beyond the Dunwich Horror (2008), and campus slashers with Murder University (2012). His body of work is infused with a sharp wit and a charming type of campiness that are immensely watchable, now he returns to vampyrism with The Sins of Dracula (2014), a subject he explored with Pretty Dead Things (2006).

Billy (Jamie Dufault) is a faithful Catholic joins a local theatre group after being cajoled by his girlfriend Samantha (Sarah Nicklin). Billy is a wide-eyed and naive Catholic boy, a good guy but just a a little narrow-minded after a lifetime of dogma and nightly prayer group meetings. The theatre director is Lou Perdition (Steven O'Broin) rus the theater troupe along with his busty partner Kimberly (Elyssa Baldassarri), and the group is made up of a  half dozen weirdos, we have druggie Bandilli (Derek Laurendeau), gamer queen Traci (Samantha Acampora), scenester NuWave (Jesse Dufault) and theater fag Lance (Aaron Peaslee), and given the sexual orientation of Lance we see how uncomfortable Billy is based on his religious beliefs, but he adjusts after a bit of an awkward introduction. Missing from the group is Scott (Johnny Sederquist) who has disappeared under mysterious circumstances a few days earlier. We soon discover that Lou is actually the leader of a Satanic cult bent on resurrecting Count Dracula (Michael Thurber) from beyond the grave, and the small theatre troupe he has amassed are merely food for the undead bloodsucker. There you have it, that's the whole movie in a nutshell, a very simple set-up and a fun cast of characters.

The cast is uniformly good throughout, with the standout going to gamer Samantha Acampora and Jamie Dufault as the naive Catholic, his wide-eyed performance is fantastic and drives the film home. His struggle to reconcile his religious upbringing against this cast of new found friends and his newly throbbing libido make for fun viewing, there's plenty of witty condemnation of the Church but it's playful and not at all malicious. 

In the role of Lou we have Steven O'Broin who has a fun stage affected flair of drama about him, I can absolutely see him as the director of a small town theatre group, every one of his line readings if fun stuff. In the role of the mostly silent bloodsucker we have Michael Thurber recalling a slightly camper (and balder) version of Christopher Lee in Dracula Prince of Darkness (1966).

There's a sweet love story between Billy and Samantha in here among the scenes of vampires being anally staked and beheaded, played for campy laughs the films is quite a bit of fun, not one of my favorite films from Richard Griffin and the Scorpion Film releasing crew but certainly an entertaining romp with homages to the old Hammer vampire movie, '80s classic Fright Night (1985) and Salem's Lot (1979) among others with Griffin's own campy twist.  

The disc from MVD Visual looks good, a solid anamorphic picture that looks micro-budget but definitely on the higher end of the spectrum with some keen cinematography with good use of colored lighting techniques adding loads of atmosphere to the proceedings. The English Dolby Digital 2.0  is crisp and clean, dialogue, score and effects are balanced and the retro '80s synth score from Timothy Fife is awesome. 

Extras on the disc include two audio commentaries plus the bonus short films 'They Stole the Pope's Blood!' and 'Los Pantalones Contra Dracula', both are cool slices of retro grindhouse entertainment. 

Special Features
- Commentary Track with Director Richard Griffin and Writer Michael Varrati
- Commentary Track with Stars Sarah Nicklin and Jamie Dufault
- Bonus Short Film 'They Stole the Pope's Blood!' (4 Mins) 
- Exclusive Easter Egg Short Film 'Los Pantalones Contra Dracula' (2 Mins) 

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