There is something nostalgically romantic about black and white horror films. It brings us back to a time when horror was relayed through shadows, through sounds and through the shock of practical effects make up. There have been several modern films which have tried to capture the same essence Universal was once the master of. The most recent is Tales of Dracula, a 2015 independent film Joe DeMuro. Over the course of two years and with a budget of 20,000 the team behind Tales of Dracula worked tirelessly to replicate the essence of classic horror, and they did a pretty decent job at it.
The story begins with Creighton Reed (Tom Delillo) on a quest to find Dr. Frankenstein, the one person he believes who can cure him of his…hairy illness. On his way he meets a distraught father whose missing daughter has been found, bleeding from the neck. Together they venture to the home of Dr. Victoria Frankenstein, Henry Frankenstein’s granddaughter to seek aid. Victoria agrees to help, but not out of the goodness of her heart. Rather she uses the the bitten maiden’s blood to inject into Frankenstein’s Monster, finally awakening him after all these years. And Dracula? Is enraged that his essence now resides inside and abomination, and plans his revenge.
Despite a few plot holes and rough scene transitions/dialogue which I can only assume were due to editing and budget constraints, the story behind Tales of Dracula is very reminiscent of Frankenstein Meets The Wolfman. Ron Chamberlain was behind the practical effects makeup in this film and absolutely blew me away on what he was able to create on such a low budget. Both the Monster and the Wolfman were incredibly well done and a great homage to classic horror. The films biggest weakness was in the end, the acting. While Wayne W. Johnson played the role of Dracula quite well, I was nearly distracted the entire time by Courtney Bennett (Dr. Victoria Frankenstein) who just didn’t seem passionate about her role and felt more forced than anything.
For a low budget independent film, Tales of Dracula is a wonderful homage to horror movies past. Fans of more modern slasher horror should pass on catching this one, but those who appreciate the more slower pace of haunting classics and don’t mind the short comings that accompany low budget films should certainly give Tales of Dracula a try.