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Dracula's Widow
cast: Sylvia Kristel, Marc Coppola, Josef Sommer, and Lenny Von Dohlen

director: Christopher Coppola

82 minutes (18) 1988
Momentum DVD Region 2 retail

RATING: 3/10
reviewed by Andrew Hook
The first movie by Christopher Coppola - brother of Nicholas Cage and nephew of Francis Ford Coppola - doesn't seem to know whether it should be taken seriously or not. Quite simply, it could be a bad movie. Alternatively, there are indications that it intends to be a B-movie spoof of B-movies. But if it were to be a spoof, then there would be some genuinely funny moments, right? Nope. Apart from two instances of seemingly deliberate humour, which worked very well, the remainder of the film is a mess. Dire plotting, nonsensical storyline, dreadful acting (I hesitate to use that word in this context), all add up to an unsatisfying whole.

Here's some sample dialogue, from one cop to another, as journalists try to take photos of a murder: "Bastards are like cockroaches, they'll do anything for a story." Perhaps a cockroach wrote this story..?

Raymond (Lenny Van Dohlen) is a small-town waxwork shop proprietor who has recently had some authentic artefacts delivered from Romania for his forthcoming Dracula exhibition. However, he gets an extra crate by mistake, which contains Vanessa (Sylvia Kristel), Dracula's widow, who kills a few people mercilessly whilst trying to persuade Raymond to return her to Romania. Now, despite Raymond being a Dracula aficionado, watching Nosferatu, and obviously very knowledgeable about his favourite subject, he informs Vanessa that Dracula was killed by Van Helsing and therefore her husband is dead (but wait, that was in a book, wasn't it..?). Vanessa then gets a further blood rush when she discovers the grandson of Van Helsing lives in the same town...

Maybe it is a spoof. Van Dohlen looks like a badly dressed 1980s' pop star, Josef Sommer plays a detective with a film noir voiceover, Raymond's girlfriend (Rachel Jones) just tries to look pretty, and Sylvia Kristel keeps her clothes on (for those who came to this movie expecting 'Emmanuelle with fangs' the only titillation you'll get is a stockinged leg and glimpse of bum in the first killing). Add to the mix a ridiculous scene where Vanessa kills 15 Satanists as they attempt to sacrifice a virgin ("She wouldn't be a virgin in those knickers," commented my wife!) in an off-the-street venue that looks more like a gay bar, and there's your entertainment for the evening sorted.

I've seen one review suggesting that if you turn the colour down to black and white then this might pass as a 1940s/1950s' low budget movie. However, I'd also suggest turning off the sound and, thinking about it, whilst you're there you might as well turn off the television. You'll get a much better picture that way.

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