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The young owner of a waxworks in Hollywood receives five instead of six ordered chests with Romanian antiques. He does not know that Vanessa, widow of Count Dracula, sleeps in the sixth chest. She rises in the night and walks around craving for blood. A thief witnessing the murder of his accomplice sets the police on the trail of the waxworks. The grandson of Dr. Van Helsing is is hunting the vampire, too... Written by
Matthias Luehr <email@example.com>
Could this have been the very film that inspired the director's uncle, Francis Ford, to make "Dracula" some three or four years later?
We're supposed to ignore other reviewer's comments, but I can't resist mentioning another opinion in these hallowed "comment" pages, where the film viewer sounded scared out of his wits. Fear is a relative thing, isn't it? The shock moments were awkwardly handled for the most part, in this film; note the guard who's sitting by a window, and the monster uses the old "crash through the window" trick (Argento, for example, used this trick a little more effectively in "Tenebre" six years earlier) to make the guard wish he had a guard. How could you crash a window and dig long vampiric fingernails into the victim's neck at the same time? I've tried it, and believe me, it takes some doing.
Then there's the create havoc with over a dozen devil worshippers scene. Talk about one uninspired montage of creating havoc.
A friend lent me this, along with a few other vampire films... he loves vampire films... and I happened to see "Midnight Kiss," another obscure film about bats. As it was made a few years after "Dracula's Widow," perhaps it was Dracula's Widow that inspired it (since Uncle Coppola may have been inspired by Dracula's Widow, why shouldn't the makers of Midnight Kiss?), but I was struck by some similarities. Let's see... vampire bites victim, and victim takes a few days while the vampire virus goes to work. Meanwhile, victim has to wear sunglasses and be tempted to feast on animals. There was even a "morgue" scene, where recent victims get served stake, coming to life as soon as they got the point.
Sylvia Kristel did a credible job as the widowed Dracula, conveying an otherwordly and monstrous power pretty effectively. Raymond, our hero-turned slave (or is it slave-turned-hero?) played by Lenny von Dohlen, reminded me of a Jon Stewart-ish Harry Langdon... the helpless child trapped in an adult's body. He even had silent film star Langdon's eye make-up.
My favorite performer was Stefan Schnabel, who played the grandson of Dracula's famous nemesis, Van Helsing. Boy, what a great ham! He was like a combination of Burgess Meredith as "The Penguin" from the old Batman TV show and Gilbert Gottfried. Josef Sommer was also very solid and watchable, as the police hero. As far as sweet girlfriend Jenny, played by Rachel Jones, at least we get to see her topless in a bathtub scene.
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