Fright Night (1985) Review

This review is of the edited TV-14 version of the film. All thoughts below should be addressed as such as a review of the unedited version would be more negative

Time for a classic film about a vampire and they even throw in a werewolf and a zombie creature for good measure. As you may or may not know, I’m not typically fond of vampire films. The whole drinking blood aspect is always really iffy at best and they just aren’t my kind of villains. I wouldn’t say this film is really able to escape that. It has its moments to be sure but on the whole it really just devolves into a standard title in the genre. The main characters could have definitely handled some things a bit better as well.

The movie starts with Charley getting some next door neighbors. He’s initially excited about this but this turns into terror as he realizes that his next door neighbor is a vampire. See, people have been dying recently with their blood drained and as Jerry (the vampire) isn’t very subtle, he tends to take down his victims by the window. Additionally, Charley sees him store a body in the basement. He tries to tell the cops but this doesn’t work out and now Jerry is planning his revenge. Charley will need the help of his two school friends Amy and Ed as well as the TV vampire expert known as Peter to stop this guy. Will they be enough to stop Jerry or is it already too late for them?

I do have to say that while Charley started out decently with his explanation to the cop, he really fumbled towards the end. See, when you’re accusing someone of murder, it’s best not to start talking about vampires and such. Charley seemed to know that initially but Billy (Jerry’s right hand man) goads him into talking about the vampires. This makes Charley look crazy of course and so now all he has done is let the villains know that he is on to them. It’s not a great moment for Charley in the slightest.

In general the only thing I will give Charley credit for is believing his own lies and not being fooled into thinking that Jerry is normal. He knows Jerry is a vampire after all so it would have been crazy if someone had convinced him otherwise. There are limits to what he can do as a kid but he definitely should have warned his mother Judy ahead of time more about the neighbor. By the time he does, it’s far too late and the guy has broken in the house.

Charley’s romance with Amy is also rather sub par. I don’t think that element really needed to be in the film. Amy tends to get upset at the drop of a hat and Charley is way more interested in what’s going on outside than hanging out so it’s just not the right time for either of them. Amy’s loyal as she helps Charley out even when she doesn’t actually believe him. So at least she has that going for her there, but otherwise she’s a bit forgettable and she makes it too easy for Jerry to catch her at the party. Splitting up is never a good idea even if it wasn’t intentional there.

As for Jerry, well he talks tough but his abilities aren’t quite as tough as you would expect. Charley was able to wound him with ease and the guy has so many weaknesses that he would be doomed if not for Billy. Jerry’s motivations are also the kind that I don’t like for a villain in that he wants Amy as a bride. It’s not one of the more ambitious villain plots out there, that’s for sure.

He really gets outshined by Billy who ends up being the best character in the film. I like how completely sarcastic he is to Charley right from the first scene. He openly threatens the lead and always has a big grin on his face. Considering that Jerry has to hide throughout the night, Billy is really the one doing all the work. At one point the heroes get the upper hand on Jerry only for Billy to show up and toss them to the side. After all, he isn’t a vampire so the crosses and holy water don’t work on him. It was an intense moment to be sure and he even gets a plot twist by the end.

Then there’s Charley’s friend Ed but I use the term loosely. It doesn’t actually seem like they get along very well at all. Ed also seems really unhinged from the beginning. Finally, the guy makes one of the classic horror movie blunders when he decides to go into a dark alley by himself. Keep in mind that this is a bad idea under any circumstances. Even if Ed doesn’t believe in vampires, why go through this alley? It’s an incredibly long one due to how long he was walking so this was just a bad idea all around.

As for Peter, it takes longer for this guy to show up than I would have guessed. Initially he goes through the motions of not wanting to help the characters and being scared all of the time. Finally he steps up and does well once he gets into the swing of things. The guy is an adult so it makes sense that he could actually fight a bit. Peter was definitely a fun character and the best of the heroes but you do wish that he would have acted a bit sooner. The guy just hides in his house a lot until we get near the climax.

Finally you have Charley’s mother Judy who seemed like she would be a big character initially and then sort of vanished for the whole second half of the film. The reason was she had a late shift but because of that she misses out on the movie. Too bad since now she really won’t believe anything that went on. The film has a twist ending though so make sure you stick around. It ends things off on an epic note.

Fright Night isn’t really a film that you’ll find very memorable by the time you finish it. Billy was the most iconic part with how he changed up the usual vampire storyline. It’s rare to see a main villain that actually needs a bodyguard after all. The actual vampire scenes are still net negatives with the classic blood draining. Never was a fan of that. The final Werewolf transformation back into the human form was also way too drawn out pretty much as an excuse to make the whole thing even grittier. I’d prefer a streamlined transformation myself.

The characters also just aren’t that good which hurts. Even ignoring that the romance wasn’t handled well, Charley is easily distracted by a lady he sees through the window and it’s clear that he doesn’t think about Amy at all. This isn’t exactly the reliable guy you want to have by your side and that hurts him even more as the main character.

Overall, Fright Night is a title you’ll want to skip. I’ll give the film credit for snagging this title though, it’s catchy and memorable. The kind of title you figure must have a film at this point and so a lot of people will probably end up checking this out at some point or another. That being said, it just never grows out of the shadow of being a vampire flick.

Overall 3/10

The Return of the Vampire Review

It’s time to look at another vampire movie. It’s actually been quite a while since I’ve seen one. Have they gotten better over time or is it doomed just like the rest? This one’s basically the latter. It’s far and away not the worst vampire film I’ve seen, but it still isn’t particularly good. It deserves some props for trying to do its best within the genre, but at the same time it could have simply have chosen another genre and that would have been the end of that.

The film starts off with a vampire showing up and deciding to destroy someone. It’s what he has been doing for years so why stop now? He then claims another victim in a town so 2 of the locals head over to his coffin and murder the guy. (The vampire base gets less and less guarded in each film) Unfortunately the groundskeepers show up later and remove the stake since they were dismayed to see the corpses being defiled in this way. This allows Dracula to return from the grave (All right, I’ll start calling him Tesla from here since that’s his name in this film) and continue his hunt. Tesla decides to adopt a human identity once more so that he can attract more attention to himself and gloat in his self satisfaction. Can anyone stop him?

Right away I have to give the film some credit with how it treats Lady Jane as the lead. She handles the situation wayyyyy better than most of the other main characters who run around crying and screaming at the mere sight of Dracula. Nobody’s got time for that. Jane destroyed him once and when he returns she is ready to conquer him once again…I mean Tesla. Her best scene is when Tesla walks over to her room and boldly starts telling her every part of his plan. He’s going to take her family and rule the world from the shadows. She calmly ignores him during the whole speech and gives him a look that says “Are you done yet?” Tesla gets a little perturbed by this and approaches her. Jane calmly finishes her piano piece and then puts the book down, revealing a cross under it. Tesla runs away scared and you realize that Jane is a very sensible character. She also spends a great deal of time trying to convince everyone else that Tesla is real.

Of course, a vampire film wouldn’t be all there without that one skeptic who refuses to believe that vampires are a thing. He sees the bite marks and doesn’t care. It’s all superstition and hocus pocus. Even his two comic relief underlings eventually see the light while this guy doesn’t even at the very end. You always cut these skeptics a little slack since it would take a lot for me to suddenly believe they are real as well, but you should at least look at what is happening and consider the possibility. What does this guy have to lose? As a result he is rather slow and doesn’t help much at all. He brings a gun to the final fight where he panics and fires the first shot, but that doesn’t help his case either.

To quickly give the underlings a shoutout, they did put up a reasonable fight against the werewolf. It may have been futile, but I’m glad that they didn’t go down in one punch as you may have expected. The Werewolf himself is a little annoying. He can’t resist Tesla’s powers and even after being cured he allows himself to regress back into a villain. At the end it takes getting shot in the chest to finally get him to realize that being a hero is the only true path to take. Better late than never though so we take those.

What makes this film a little better than the other Dracula films is that it doesn’t go for the low brow vampire moments that doom the genre. We don’t see Tesla constantly draining people’s blood. Make no mistake, there are fatalities here and he’s still just as unlikable a villain as always, but the film doesn’t rub our faces in it. There is also no animal violence squeezed in this time. I still don’t find vampires particularly interesting, but considering the genre I think the movie did a fair job of it. The writing isn’t bad either. It balances in some humor and the characters sound reasonable. While the skeptic ultimately would not see reason at least he had some valid reasons for sticking to his version of events.

Overall, The Return of the Vampire is about what you’d expect from a Vampire film. It basically goes through all of the usual motions, but does its best to stay classy throughout. If you are a fan of these films then you’ll certainly enjoy this one. Get ready to see Jane dish out the damage against Tesla. While Vampires have quite a few weaknesses including Garlic and Stakes, I’m always glad that the Cross gets such a powerful effect against them as well. It’s used quite effectively here. The most random scene in the film is probably when a giant explosion occurs which prevents the cross from finishing off Tesla, but since the vampire was doomed anyway perhaps it was just a way to stretch out his inevitable end. Tesla certainly didn’t end up going very peacefully.

Overall 4/10

Dracula Has Risen from the Grave Review

It’s time for another Dracula film. This series has never been particularly good and this one is no exception. Dracula’s a joke and everyone knows it. Even the poster knows this. Look at his facial expression above and tell me that this is a serious villain. He died from falling in a pool of water in the last film! This guy is played for laughs at times and if he is meant to be completely serious then that’s almost sad. Anyway, this film does nothing unique and instead just goes through the motions without doing anything cool or interesting. It’s definitely a very forgettable film and one that will soon blend in with the rest. There’s just nothing to really like here but it is always surreal to see some of the choices that the main characters make. Needless to say they were not prepared for a fight like this.

The film starts off with Dracula murdering someone and we then cut to the present where Ernest walks into that town. Everyone is still afraid of Dracula because while he may be dead at the moment, his aura is still enough to corrupt everything that it reaches. It apparently even gets into the Church so everyone just hangs around the bar now. Ernest laughs at them and runs over to Dracula’s castle which he seals with the Cross. Unfortunately, the drunk pastor who had been following him trips and breaks Dracula out of his tomb of ice. Dracula then decides to team up with this guy so they can get revenge on Ernest by getting his nephew, Maria. Will their nefarious plan succeed?

Dracula has just never been a good concept for a film. I still stand by that today. The writing is often terrible for these films and they just heavily rely on shock value the entire time. The heroes also never manage to stop him before he bites the main heroine so they’re simply too late. The fact that his victims all crumble into quivering children when faced with his power is also annoying. They’ll just start fainting and running away while in his presence which is not really the kind of thing you want to see from characters who are supposed to have strong wills. The pastor guy was drunk and apparently spineless from the start though so I suppose I shouldn’t use him as a base to judge anything.

Still, the characters are really annoying. First off we’ve got our lead Paul. He wants to leave a good impression with Maria’s folks since he is supposedly serious about her, but that doesn’t stop him from passing through the bar and deciding to drink a little. Naturally this doesn’t end well and he messes up the Uncle’s big return by ruining the mood. He decides to sulk by getting even more drunk and allowing himself to be ensnared by the waitress named Zena. He hardly resists her actions and just shrugs it off. Then when Maria actually needs his help he gets one shotted by Dracula several times. He missed with the fire shovel and then runs right into Dracula’s arms. Paul’s a terrible main character and I certainly couldn’t support him during the movie. He makes all of the wrong decisions and doesn’t come off as genuine. How do you lose so many battles in one film?

Unfortunately, Maria is just as bad. She gets mind controlled by Dracula and gets thrown into a dungeon by the waitress. The heroes get to her in time before anything drastic occurs and ask her what happened. Her response is to faint multiple times and to explain in the most cryptic and misleading ways possible. She doesn’t mention any of the people who were there, which puts the heroes at a disadvantage. Thanks to her weak mind, Dracula can also enter the house as she opens the windows for him. While not everyone can agree with me that mind control only works on the weak that quickly, we can all agree that she should have at least told everyone what happened the first time.

Meanwhile, we’ve got Ernest. He’s probably the only quality character in the film and even then he makes some of the same mistakes as the others. He is betrayed and knocked out to the point of death by the drunk. Later, we see the drunk arrive at his house with Paul (Paul invited him because he’s helpful like that) and instead of warning everyone that the guy is evil, Ernest faints from fright. It’s almost amusing since you Never see the old, experienced tough guy faint in a film like this one. It’s unheard of and also incredibly hard to wrap your head around this. It doesn’t make any sense and it feels like a lazy way for the writers to get Maria kidnapped. Otherwise there’s no way Dracula could have broken in.

Zena is the waitress and she’s certainly not a good character. She only exists to flirt with everyone and to get Paul on the wrong path. You know that she is doomed immediately since that always happens to these characters in horror films. Staying in the friend zone is typically the only way you’re safe. Zena didn’t and ultimately ended up paying the price. As for Dracula himself, he’s not really a cool villain at all. He blames all of his failings on Zena and doesn’t even look very good in combat. He shrinks away in fear whenever someone holds some fire or the cross. He trips over his own feet in the climax as he lands in his doom. He even sleeps in a coffin that’s in the basement of a busy bread shop so it’s easy for someone to murder him during the day. It’s almost hard to see why everyone fears him so much when the guy just isn’t very smart.

This film is also pretty violent as you would expect from a Hammer production. It really does its best to show blood whenever possible and lots of it. Everyone gushes blood as if we’re back in Bleach whenever they’re stabbed and you can tell that they’re just doing it because they can. The Vampire bites are still as iffy as ever and since the characters take so long so stop Dracula it can barely be counted as a win. The actual body count actually isn’t all that big in this film but the movie makes sure that each one gets enough screen time for two.

Overall, Dracula Returns is a pretty terrible film. The writing is lousy and the cast of characters are completely uninspired. There is nobody to root for and that is always a problem if you ask me. You won’t be able to stay invested in the film and the best way to get through it is to take a shot of water every time a character makes the worst move possible. Anything stronger than water and you’ll likely faint so try and stay safe. Still, I’d recommend watching many other films before I’d ever even consider this one. If you have to pick a Dracula film, at least pick the modern one from the new cinematic universe that Universal has been putting together. At least that one tries to stay classy.

Overall 1/10

Son of Dracula Review

Given that I’m in the middle of a vampire arc in Detective Conan, it seemed like a good time to review a Dracula film. It’s definitely pretty odd to see Lon Chaney playing the role, but this way he continues to play all of the Universal monsters at some point so I can roll with that. Unfortunately, not even his acting can save the film as it still ends up being your standard Dracula film through and through. It’s just hard to make a good Dracula film whether it be in this day and age of even in the past.

So, the plot starts with a mysterious man moving into town. The main farmer dies very mysteriously during this time frame. That’s when Dracula shows up and suddenly Katherine marries him despite being seriously engaged to Frank. Frank suspects something is up and grabs his gun, but this Dracula fellow appears to be bullet proof and intangible so the bullet goes through and destroys Katherine. Frank is quickly arrested, but it appears that Katherine is still alive. She is now going to be doing experiments with Dracula at night and says she won’t be available during the daytime anymore. Something’s fishy here, but Frank’s in jail so he can’t do much about it. It’s going to be up to Lazlo and Brewster to see what’s happened. Can they really deal with two vampires though?

The film does have a unique twist that I can get behind. Usually the main heroine falls head over heels for Dracula due to mind control and just generally looks terrible the whole time. The twist this time is that Katherine actually went with him willingly as part of her own plan. She plans to murder him once she is undead as well but to do that she will need Frank’s help. She’ll bust him out of jail so he can go to Dracula’s coffin during the daytime and destroy him. Technically it’s a full proof plan, but he makes one big mistake…he goes outside while it’s still night time. Heh…..heh…..hahhahahahahahahahaha!! Of all the mistakes to make…..why is Frank so terrible? I mean, we finally have a good plan and then he messes it up. He even destroys Katherine afterwards because he doesn’t want to be a vampire. I wish I could say he made the right call, but I really can’t. He comes across as a very ungrateful guy who’s of no use throughout the entire film. While Katherine’s plan was extremely dangerous, risky, and probably not good at all, she did pull it off. Frank got the easy job and he still messed it up. That’s got to be a downer.

Dracula doesn’t look very good here. I mean that’s to be expected considering how many weaknesses he has, but it’s still sad for his fans. It’s gotten to the point where just being in the same room as a cross is enough to get him sweating and the doctors always handle him without too much trouble. Dracula is at his best when he’s just uttering threats as opposed to trying to follow up on them. At any rate, at least Dracula is fun to listen to. Seriously, Chaney has one of the best voices in cinema with ease. Most other actors can’t even get close to his level. Dracula is just not a good character though.

I felt like the rest of the cast were pretty slow on the uptake here. Katherine’s sister made a few half hearted attempts to see what was happening, but didn’t play her cards right. She basically told Frank that the cops were onto him and took forever to get out of harm’s way. Brewster noticed right away that Alucard is just another way of saying Dracula, but just brushed it off and didn’t remember until we were deep into the film. He could have saved lives if he had acted with a little more urgency. Lazlo was experienced at least so that was nice to see. He may have been the best character here even if that isn’t saying a lot. At least he was making a real effort to do his best.

The Sheriff meant well. When he investigated the place and found the dead body, it was certainly reasonable for him to suspect Brewster as an accomplice. It’s also hard to take their word for it that a vampire is on the prowl since that doesn’t seem all that reasonable. At least he was better than the other cop who couldn’t guard a man if his life depended on it and got scared of everything. If you’re going to be a cop, I feel like there’s at least a minimum level of bravery that you should have and it should be enough for you to not be scared of vampires.

Overall, Son of Dracula is more of less what you’d expect from the series. There’s not a whole lot to say about the film that I haven’t already. At least there was no animal violence this time. That’s certainly a nice start. The supporting cast was also quite reasonable for a change even if it could still be annoying how they wouldn’t realize anything until it was too late. The cops were a nice addition. I wouldn’t recommend this film and you should probably stay far away. Just remember for the next time that while Dracula can be scary, it can always be worse. You could be dealing with the Wolf Man who has less obvious weaknesses. With Dracula you can hold up to sticks and cross them and that’s enough to deter him. The ending to the film was pretty weak and here’s how it should have happened. Frank becomes a vampire along with Katherine and then they play it off like she was in the woods or something and that’s why her body vanished. She explains that they were just imagining they saw her dead body and this way everyone lives happily ever after. Sure, Frank didn’t get a choice on if he wanted to be a vampire or not, but it can’t always be perfect for the guy.

Overall 4/10

Vampire Knight Review

It’s time to take a look at a series that doesn’t sound all that promising from the title. Yes, I had a sneaking suspicion that Vampire Knight wouldn’t be all that good as it’s a vampire story. That’s reason enough for me to fear it. Moreover, it sounded like Rosario Vampire, but minus the action and fanservice. So, that’s a bad thing and a good thing, but it means that the series has absolutely nothing going for it except the blood sucking gimmick. (No worries, there is a little action at the very end of the series!) I was able to complete this series in a little under a year which is cool since I started it last January and I ended a few months ago. I forgot when exactly I completed it, but no matter, let’s jump into the review! No worries, this one doesn’t get a 0 so readers can rest easy that the manga managed to do something right!

Yuki Cross lives at a school where humans attend by day and vampires by night. Both sides are separated for their own safety and she’s one of the enforcers who makes sure that the two groups play by the rules. Her partner in all of this is Zero. With the two of them as the ultimate tag team, nothing’s ever gone wrong at the academy. What helps this situation run so smoothly is that the head of the school vampires is Kaname, a guy who believes in peace and justice. It all goes well for a while, but then things happen!

That’s more vague than usual! Well, it’s hard to say exactly when things went wrong since a lot happened in these 19 volumes. There are many different vampire factions who were vying for power. Towards the end, Kaname realizes that he must destroy all vampire nobles including himself so that only the weak ones will be left and then they can’t bully the humans so easily. Zero is corrupted and turned into a vampire himself so even though he is a vampire hunter, he will be confronted with many tough choices. Yuki also starts to get her memories back and realizes that she is a vampire noble as well, but this comes along with some spiffy new powers so it’s not totally a bad thing.

So, should I start out with the negatives, positives, or the technical aspects like the art? I decided which option to go with by heading to Smashfaqs and based it on the top 5 topics. They were surprisingly positive ones so let’s roll with that. A positive for the manga is the fact that it actually has fight scenes once in a while. Zero and Kaname get into a scuffle at one point and even Yuki gets in on the action thanks to her powerful scythe. Zero gets control over plants and Kaname has super strength, mental abilities, speed, magic, and a lot of other things to keep the other two in check. The fights are cool even if there aren’t a whole lot of them.

The art counts as a technical aspect as well as a positive one for the most part. The art can get cluttered during the action scenes at times. Especially when the plants are around, but it can also be quite clear during other moments and I’d say that the artist does a fairly good job. I’d say that the art looks a lot better than the average Shojo series. It’s clear, intense, and you won’t mix up any of the main characters. Supporting characters are a different story since you can only see so many random guys running around before starting to mix them up a bit. Kaoru and Hikaru are still confusing in Ouran, but at least one of them switched his hair color after a while.

Unfortunately, I can’t say that there are any real characters since they all get tainted at one point or another. If we’re counting super mild characters, then I didn’t mind Zero’s hunter boss. He was fairly reasonable the whole time and you could tell that he was experienced the whole time. He hyped himself up a little too much at times though and he’s only my favorite character by default, I’m certainly not a big fan of his.

A positive for the series is naturally the fact that there’s basically no fanservice to be found. That’s always appreciated even if it is the norm for Shojo, you still don’t want to neglect to give it some props for this. Unfortunately, this is somewhat negated by the blood sucking scenes and such, but that’s a different negative. So, here essentially ends the positives section, but I’ll try to think of some more while writing the review.
Let’s start off with the blood sucking. See, the problem with vampires is that they’re going to drink blood. Inevitably, one of them ends up contaminating a main character. (In this case, everyone was contaminated except for one of Yuki’s close friends who never evolved from being a bit player in the whole thing) After that, the main character will offer his or her friend to drink some blood so that the character won’t have to hurt someone else. That happens here of course, several times and shows that the characters have no will power. Especially the fact that they always go overboard. Another cliche is that Yuki for example may say to only take a little bit since taking too much blood can be quite dangerous. Zero agrees, but then he can’t stop himself once he actually starts and it’s always a very wince worthy moment since he is supposed to be her friend. It’s hard to buy the fact that he simply can’t control himself and this has even started to finally happen in Seraph of The End, which is regrettable. Why do the heroes ultimately lose control so easily!?

That’s a rather big negative and ignoring the whole blood angle, there is naturally a ton of romance here as well. Luckily, there was a twist towards the very end that Kaname wasn’t actually Yuki’s brother, but was an ancestor. This naturally helped since we don’t want the manga to have gone down that route, but romance is romance and it was poorly executed from start to finish here. Both Kaname and Zero use Yuki when circumstances arise and both of them never actually trust her enough to let Yuki know the full scope of what’s happening. Why should she bother to stay with them? Yuki never quite broke off things with either party and the romance just dragged on and on like a bad soap opera. There was even another character who tried not to get involved with such things, but he was forced to become a blood sucker, which essentially made him a prisoner and he could not help out the heroes anymore. There was nothing positive to say about the romance.

Now, it’s time to go more in depth about the characters. Yuki started out as your average main character. She was fairly lively and always saw the bright side of the situation. Romance plots aside, she wasn’t a bad character. Unfortunately, then she turned into a vampire and decided to cross more gray lines and act a little more like a vampire. One scene in particular that was bad was when she decided to erase Zero’s memories. Think of the situation in Justice League when Batman’s mind was wiped or Captain America from the New Avengers comics. Yuki may have wanted to do it for Zero’s own good, but she ended up crossing a line that should not have been crossed. Becoming a vampire also made her lose her happy personality as she became a little too wise and took on a more somber role. She decently handled that role, but definitely fell rather rapidly as a character.

There was definitely no way that I was going to like Kaname. He always acted rather polite and such at the beginning of the series, but it was always an act. He could never make up his mind and wanted to be with Yuki someday and preferred solitude at other times. He decided to destroy all of the Nobles randomly and while it may not have totally been a bad decision, it’s not like all of the nobles were evil or sought to destroy people. Luckily, a plot twist showed that Kaname did spare one of them so I’ll give him credit for that. Portraying himself as the villain was definitely an intriguing move and one that I still don’t see a whole lot of benefit from. In the end, vampires and humans will never be able to perfectly get along because both sides have so many bad apples inside of them. It’s just how the world works and there will always be another new villain to seize the throne. Kaname’s also the one who turned Yuki into a vampire, which doesn’t earn him any brownie points as a character.

Zero’s the other main hero and he’s pretty terrible. I liked him a lot more than Kaname for a while, but then he lost control and succumbed to the blood sucking temptations. That destroyed him as a character. Shojo series like to typically have two main guys, the nice one and the mean one. Zero served as the mean one and a fairly extreme version of the character type at times. He would even point his gun at Yuki once she became a vampire. I don’t see that turning into a healthy romance in the long term so it’s another plot that I couldn’t get behind and I found it hard to sympathize with Zero throughout the series. At least he has a gun/vine powers so he’s a decent fighter, but his fighting abilities can’t save his personality.

As you can see, I wasn’t a big fan of any of the main characters. With a series this long, there are naturally a lot of other characters, but most of them actually aren’t that important to the plot compared with these. We do have other villains, supporting characters, and other heroes, but they are all just around to add more detail to the world. In the end, it really just comes down to the three main characters and the choices that they make since they will drastically affect the characters around them. From the supporting characters, I suppose that I didn’t mind the headmaster or Yuki’s friend all that much. Yuki’s friend was always nice to Yuki and offered words of advice, but she never did all that much aside from that. The headmaster always knows more than he lets on, but he prefers to let the heroes fend for themselves.

Kaname had a posse around him at all times, but by and large you won’t remember them after a while. You have the girl member who also likes Kaname and naturally resents Yuki. That’s her whole character arc for the most part. There are a few guys there who have ties to other families and talk a good game, but they don’t do all that much of consequence. One of them is brainwashed and the others try to help Kaname even after he has earned a negative reputation, but that’s about it for them. One of the main villains was a noble vampiress who went around brainwashing as many of the human students as possible with her blood. Kaname eventually stopped her, but she definitely got a lot of casualties in the meantime. Shizuka was her name and her death is rather intense.

The manga was never quite as happy as the average Shojo series and was always serious business so it was not all that surprising that there could be some violent moments. It’s nothing toooo bad of course, just a heart stab here and there (Vampires are quite durable) and it works as Kaname hype. It doesn’t even feel all that out of place and I wouldn’t say that it goes too far. You’ll know the scenes when they happen. The other big villain is Rido. He’s so powerful that he thinks Kaname won’t make a move against him. Kaname quickly destroys him (Not a total destruction since the bond of master and student wouldn’t let him, but the guy was reduced to ash so it’s more or less the same thing) and that’s the end of that. I can’t say that either villain was all that interesting in the end.

This definitely isn’t your average Shojo series, but it ends up losing to those. This further cements the notion for me that it is almost impossible to do a good vampire story. They end up just not being all that good. Records of a Fallen Vampire is probably still the only good vampire story and it was impressive. Maybe someday a series can follow that example, but I suspect that many other series will try and fail to do so first. Such is simply how these things end up going down.
Overall, Vampire Knight is not for the faint of heart or for those looking for a good story. If you’re a huge vampire buff then this is probably up your ally. As it stands, the characters simply aren’t likable and all of the romance plots fall back. The series takes itself a little too seriously with all of the tearful origin stories lying about. I did enjoy the occasional action scene, but those are few and far between. Based on the pictures I used, the series certainly looks more exciting than I’m giving it credit for, but keep in mind that they’re images that are meant to be misleading. I wouldn’t use the boring pictures now would I? It’s certainly no Black Bird and at least earns 1 star, but you’re better off reading Records of a Fallen Vampire instead of this title.

Overall 1/10

Horror of Dracula Review

1958 - Drácula - Horror of Dracula - tt0051554 _es
Time to look at another Dracula film! Dracula has always been my least favorite of the classic monster legends. Yes…he’s less enjoyable for me than Frankenstein! I didn’t have high hopes for this film, but it was an old one so maybe it would be good. Alas, it wasn’t to be. The film made all of the mistakes that you would expect of it aside from animal violence. While I am grateful about the last part, it’s not enough to save the whole film.

Mr. Harker heads to Dracula’s lair to end the vampire once and for all. Little did he know that the mission was doomed to fail right from the start. Dracula is simply too powerful and with his telekinesis..there is really nothing that a mere mortal can do. Van Helsing realizes that Harker has been gone for a long time and decides to take out Dracula himself. Can he really beat the vampire or will everyone have to die first?

The film is surprisingly violent so you should be ready for a large body count. Characters are impaled and naturally bitten as this is a vampire film. It’s why I will never be able to get into Vampire films since blood sucking is essentially inevitable. If a 50’s version of Dracula is this violent, you can imagine how gruesome the latter ones are. Dracula takes no prisoners and simply creates more and more vampires whenever he fights.

I will give the film some credit for actually doing a good job of making you think that Mr. Harker actually stands a chance. He’s very confident and puts on a good poker face when talking to Dracula. His mistake was letting his feelings get in the way of his mission. He should have found it a little suspicious that there was a girl who wouldn’t tell him much, yet she still wanted to bypass the friend zone with him. Sadly, Mr. Harker is like the average film protagonist in the sense that he just doesn’t care. It certainly came back to bite him.

Vampires are typically weak against Garlic, Sunlight, and the sign of the Cross. It depends on the version, but all three are effective in this version and they are the best way to fight them off. Van Helsing uses all three, but he forgets them for the final battle so we get to see a quick fist fight. As with most classic monsters, Dracula likes to resort to the classic choking attack to take the heroes down for the count. It proves to be a bit of a mistake as it always gives the heroes a little extra time to prepare themselves.

Dracula doesn’t have a whole lot of personality and it seems like he just wants to make everyone miserable and suck as much blood as possible. His character had potential in the opening scenes, but then he quickly went off the deep end and became a villain who simply needed to be stopped. I suppose that’s all the character that he really needs, but it doesn’t make me care for him as an antagonist.

Mr. Harker was a decent lead, but his one mistake was a huge one and made him look like a rookie. How can you let yourself get bitten? Howwwwwwww! Van Helsing is more prepared than Mr. Harker, but he loves to be vague. Instead of rushing over to challenge Dracula, he likes to have some bait ready and it always cooking up a scheme that will allow him to approach the vampire from a defensive standpoint. Helsing is smart, but not overly brave and he could have reduced the body count if he had been upfront with the other characters from the start.

He certainly doesn’t deserve all of the blame though as the rest of the characters look pretty bad as well. Dracula’s victims aren’t able to fight their urges nor are they able to defend themselves so Dracula easily manages to take them out. If you know that you’re about to die anyway, you may as well through a good punch or something. It’ll look good on the stat sheet.

The first vampire lady to appear was rather odd on that front. She asked Harker to help her and then she attacked him. That’s not a very effective way to get someone to help and then Dracula defeated her. I assume that her lust for blood was just too powerful, but that still makes her look terrible. If you want to escape, then that should give you enough motivation to escape instead of going back and forth with the decisions. Ah well, that’s why her mission ultimately failed.

The beginning of the film with Mr. Harker was the best part and I feel like the whole film would have been better off if it had followed his plot a little more. Spending 80% of the film as a mystery thriller with him would have been epic. He would have had to die at some point anyway, but that would be the climax and the rest of the film would have still been fairly epic. Fans who went in expecting Dracula to get a big role would have been disappointed, but it would have all been worth it for the epic intro.

Dracula doesn’t look very tough in this version. I would still choose him over The Mummy in a fight as their physical abilities are more or less equal, but Dracula has the speed edge. Beyond that, I have a feeling that bullets would hurt him in this version as he didn’t seem all too sturdy. If he really cannot turn into a bat as Helsing believes, that also hurts his retreat options. The humans could have beaten Dracula if they knew any good judo tricks. Running up to Dracula and throwing a punch is simply not going to cut it here.

Overall, Dracula doesn’t manage to be as entertaining as the Mummy film. It’s short, but it’s still just pretty bad. The violence was a little over the top and you’ll just be reminded of why vampire films are no fun. The bitemarks are always a little gross and the concept of blood sucking is rather sad as well. Dracula Untold managed to avoid all of that for the most part and if you want to watch a film with the legend, check that one out instead. This one is best left in the relics of yesterday as it is forgotten while in the shadow of the original. Of course, this film did get 8 sequels…which is very intriguing. The legacy did not die here!

Overall 2/10