Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Tuesday Movie Club Week 2

This week's vampire movie is .... Draghoula.  A 1995 Canadian film.

It's about  Harry, a lab researcher who lives with his mother; and has had his funding cut, and goes in search of a new supply of rats for his blood research. He ends up buying them from what ends up being a vampire. Then is bitten by one of the rats, and starts to turn into a vampire. 
Only, he starts to live what he believes is the way a vampire should live, which is as a drag queen.
His mother, who is Jewish, hires a Jewish exorcist to rid him of the demons she feels he's filled with. Meanwhile, his girlfriend also tries to help him.  

The main theme in this film is personal independence. The lead character is a grown man who's whole life is controlled by his mother, and the rest of the time he's so devoted to his job he has no idea who he really is.  He grabs onto this newness and throws himself into what he thinks is the life he should be experiencing.  At first, it starts off as a liberation for the character, but soon he finds himself a slave to the vampiric nature and the trappings he's set for himself as this glorified club kid.
(he actually looks like he's going to a Rocky Horror Picture Show party as Frank'n'Furter)  It's more of a case of him falling into the idea that "oh I'm a vampire, I must be goth then". 

There is a scene, where the lead character has a conversation with the woman who sold him the Transylvanian rats, where she tells him she's been a vampire for over a hundred years and has been searching for the real Dracula herself. And that she's been looking in movies and books but that she's found him there, as in Harry.  Harry doesn't find this at all odd, in fact he goes ahead and drinks the blood she hands him. The next scene is Harry shaving his chest and legs, getting all dragged out. 
That is just such a big jump in story. And he suddenly starts to talk with a Hungarian accent the more he becomes a vampire.

He doesn't question at all any of it, just jumps right into it.  Nor is he discrete about his kills, just attacks randomly in open streets at all hours and leaves the bodies where they fall. Not a very smart vampire considering he's suppose to be this big scientist.

This is one of those movies that follows some of the folklore, the vampire is not affected by religious symbols, has a reflection, can go out in sunlight but is weak.

The plot is thin, but the silliness makes up for it.
There is a showdown between the three women in the story, the girlfriend, the mother and the female vampire are all trying to keep the others out of Harry's life.  Makes you wonder if the idea of the lead character dressing in drag when he starts to gain power over his own life, is because of the women in his life up to that point controlling him?

The lead character's main "vampire traits" - sleeping all the time, up all night, suddenly caring about how he looks, sweating all the time, new fashions, new friends, keeping secrets from his mom- all typical teenaged behavouir.  Only he's suppose to be nearly thirty which is where the comedy comes in.
As far as the idea that he's only affected by Jewish symbols, that's an idea that not only was shown in the movie The Fearless Vampire Killers or Pardon Me But Your Teeth Are In My Neck,  but does appear in many folklore. The idea that a vampire is only affected by the gods of their own personal religion and regions.

The acting is bad... so bad I can't help but wonder if it's meant to be that stiff and bad. Again, I'm brought back to the Roman Polanski film Fearless Vampire Killers, which was also badly acted but because of the campyness.  Draghoula, is by far a trial in campy films, and if you don't look at it that way, then you might make the mistake of thinking the film takes itself too seriously.

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