Hatfields & McCoys: Bad Blood and Dario Argento’s Dracula are currently available on instant Netflix
Hatfields & McCoys: Bad Blood (2012) – Rated PG-13
“This action-packed Western tells the historical tale of the longstanding feud between the Hatfield and McCoy families, a decades-long grudge neither side will release as they continue to wreak bloody vengeance on each other.”
“He don’t hear you Anse. He dead.”
One Line Review: Bad Blood: bad history, bad movie.
I don’t know why I expect historical accuracy from these things. Here writer/director/producer Fred Olen Ray (Hollywood Chainsaw Hookers) rushes his movie out to take advantage of all the publicity surrounding the far, far, far superior Kevin Costner/Bill Paxton miniseries. The opening civil war battle scene gives you an idea of the cheapness of this picture.
Strangely, Christian Slater plays Kentucky Governor Bramlette and not one of the Hatfields or McCoys. They make him a much more major player than he was (especially as he wasn’t Governor during much of the feud). Jeff Fahey plays Devil Anse Hatfield and Perry King plays Randall McCoy. I like Jeff Fahey a lot but all he does in this film is wander around saying ‘my leg hurts’, ‘gosh my leg pains me’, etc.
They skip most of Asa’s story and just shoot him outright. Ellison Hatfield’s murder occurs seventeen years later historically but it appears to be two days in the movie. The story then devolves into an ahistorical mess. They make Johnse Hatfield a romantic fool who runs away with Roseanna McCoy. In reality he got her pregnant and then abandoned her for her cousin, Nancy McCoy. Even the postscript screen is inaccurate.
The only thing good I can say about the movie is that it appears to have been filmed in the general vicinity of Kentucky.
Argento’s Dracula (2012) – Not rated
“When Englishman Jonathan Harker visits the exotic castle of Count Dracula, he is entranced by the mysterious aristocrat. But upon learning that the count has sinister designs on his wife, Mina, Harker seeks help from vampire slayer Van Helsing.”
For those who don’t know, Dario Argento was a master of Italian horror, particularly the subset known as giallo. His films have influenced many low and high budget American horror films. The reason I say ‘was’, is because Argento’s quality has been slipping away. It has been over a decade since he had a really good film.
It take a certain amount of hubris to replace the author’s name with your own and Argento does not deserve it with this effort. Still it distances it from Stoker’s Dracula. The film was originally in 3D, though the uses shown are fairly gimmicky. The entire film appears oddly shot, with lighting appearing particularly off, a weird cross between current high definition and old technicolor. The CGI is terrible.
There is a particularly unsexy seduction scene early on with Tanja (apparently just an excuse to briefly show her topless). The later scene where Dracula prevents Tanja from attacking Harker is laughably bad. I’m not sure how anyone could kill Dracula as he apparently is telekinetic and possesses the speed of the Flash.
The acting, line readings in particular, are pretty awful. It is a mixture of wooden readings and those who feel every line they have is of equal importance. Dario once again employs his daughter Asia, this time in the role of Lucy Kisslinger. While Thomas Kretschmann is not a bad Dracula, the period setting makes me yearn for the Hammer Draculas with Christopher Lee. Somewhat hilariously, Kretschmann played Van Helsing in the recent Dracula television series.
People Watch: Thomas Kretschmann will be playing Baron Wolfgang von Strucker in The Avengers: Age of Ultron