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Insidious: The Red Door, The Blackening, Candy Land, Viking Wolf, Count Dracula, and The Collection
Horror Bulletin Weekly Newsletter #243
We’re back to our regular basic format this week with four movies and a short film. We’ll start out with the latest franchise installment, “Insidious: The Red Door” (2023), and then take a turn with “The Blackening” of 2022. We’ll have a little playtime with “Candy Land” (2023) and take a trip to Norway and meet the “Viking Wolf” (2022).
Insidious: The Red Door (2023)
The Blackening (2022)
Short Film: You’re Not Home (2023)
Candy Land (2023)
Viking Wolf (2023)
In addition, for our bonus films, we also watched:
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Count Dracula (1970) with Christopher Lee
The Collection (2012) Sequel to “The Collector”
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Here. We. Go!
Insidious: The Red Door (2023)
Directed by Patrick Wilson
Written by Leigh Whannell, Scott Teems
Stars Ty Simpkins, Patrick Wilson, Rose Byrne
Run Time: 1 Hour, 47 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a years later sequel to the first movie, with little Dalton grown up and headed to college. It was interesting seeing the same actors in the same roles years later, the parents and little brother Foster as well as Dalton. But it’s pretty dull and slow moving, low on action, and low on thrills until some payoff at the end. It gets there, but it’s a bit of a slog.
Josh Lambert and his son Dalton get hypnotized by Carl to forget all about the last year and The Further. They will only remember that Dalton was in a coma and recovered…
Nine years later, Josh’s mother Lorraine has died, and everyone is there for the funeral. Dalton and Josh don’t get along well anymore. Carl, the hypnotist, is there, and he pretends not to know Josh. Josh has a weird feeling about the man but doesn’t remember. We see something creepy behind Josh as the credits roll.
Josh drives Dalton to school; Dalton’s an art student, taking classes with Professor Armagan. Josh tries to be friendly, but Dalton is aloof and mostly gives Josh the silent treatment. Josh apologizes for being “foggy” the last few years. Chris Winslow, a girl, comes in, and she’s his new roommate. There’s an argument, and Josh cries all the way out to his car.
Dalton and Chris talk about themselves, and Dalton says he forgot an entire year when he was ten. He also admits that he’s afraid of the dark. Professor Armagan is strange and kind of mean, telling the students to tear up their favorite drawings– except for Dalton, whose work she likes. She tells them to draw whatever their soul tells them, and he draws a door. Elsewhere, Josh dreams about that same red door.
Josh goes for an MRI to figure out why he’s so foggy all the time. Strange things happen inside the big machine. “The door is open,” someone tells him. The doctor says he just went to sleep in the machine, and the test went just fine and there’s nothing wrong with him. The doctor suggests counseling.
Dalton has a similar experience in his dorm room. Dalton and Chris go to a frat party. They get separated, and he sees some strange things, but Chris thinks he’s lost his mind. She eventually asks him, and he admits that he’s seeing things.
Josh sets up a kind of memory game that the doctor suggested. A man breaks through and chases him upstairs. He ends up finding a box of old photos.
Dalton gets more and more obsessed with his red door and calls his brother, who says there's nothing in their past that would apply. Chris thinks Dalton is doing astral projection and traveling outside his physical body. They watch a video on the subject, and they mention the Further. The video also includes Elise, the paranormal expert from the first film. The video warns him not to do what he’s been doing.
Dalton remembers seeing a ghost in “Nick the Dick’s” bedroom and decides to Astral project himself back there to talk to it. Dalton sees the red-faced demon from the first film trying to kill Chris. She recovers, but she warns him not to try that again. Dalton calls his brother Foster again, and Foster warns him not to try to remember that stuff.
Meanwhile, Josh does some research on astral projection as well; he goes to see Ranai, his ex. The photos are from his dead father, who committed suicide decades ago; he’s also the man who broke into his house earlier. Renai recaps what happened in the first film and that his mental fight against the hypnotic block is what has held him back for ten years. She’s been lying to all of them for a decade for their own protection. Foster comes in and tells Renai and Josh about Dalton’s visions.
Dalton flashes back to when Possessed Josh tried to kill all of them. Modern-day Dalton actually interrupted the attack ten years ago. Then he finds himself in The Further. Josh goes in after him with Renai’s help. Josh sees himself wandering around ten years ago; time seems flexible in this place.
Astral Josh rescues Astral Dalton. Meanwhile, in the real world, Possessed Dalton terrorizes Chris in the dorm room. Josh says, “This ends with me” and dies in the real world. Back at school, Dalton paints over his red door painting, which seals in the red-faced demon.
Josh wakes up, suddenly not dead. Everyone is going to be fine. Josh goes outside and runs into Elise, who is hanging around in the middle of the street for no real reason but to have a ghostly cameo.
It’s got creepy lighting and atmospheric effects, and it all looks good, as a high-budget release should. But it’s soooo slow and boring. For the first 90 minutes, Josh and Dalton see things that may or may not even be real. Literally nothing “real” happens until the very end; the majority of the film is just Josh and Dalton trying to break the hypnotic block placed on them.
It’s predictable, generic, and unfortunately boring as Hell.
The Blackening (2022)
Directed by Tim Story
Written by Tracy Oliver, Dewayne Perkins
Stars Grace Byers, Jermaine Fowler, Melvin Gregg
Run Time: 1 Hour, 37 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This was very well done and very funny while still keeping the horror elements. It touches on a lot of horror tropes, many of them relating to people of color, and pokes fun at them effectively. Good script, skilled cast, and we both liked it more than we expected to.
Shawn and Morgan are two black people in a cabin in the woods. There’s someone creeping around outside. Doors are opening and closing all by themselves; Morgan talks about horror movies. He shows her a cool game room with a board game in the center called “The Blackening.” It’s like the most racist board game ever. Morgan is a little curious about the rules. She draws a trivia card, and they laugh about black people always dying in horror movies first. Then they look at each other strangely. The door closes behind them as the board game laughs. Yes, they prove the rule. Credits roll.
Morgan has invited her friends to the cabin for a Juneteenth reunion, and all eight of them are coming. It’s been ten years, and they all need some fun. Dewayne is thrilled to see everyone except Nnamdi for some reason. Clifton and Shanika run into each other at a convenience store and then they argue Android vs iPhone.
The whole group arrives at the house and “Ranger B. White” is there giving King a hard time. They show that they have legally rented the place and the ranger leaves. They joke that Allison has a white father, so she’s like the painting of a zebra on the wall.
King makes the sugariest Kool-Aid, strong with vodka. Lisa tells him “Diabetes is the blackest thing ever.” He then makes fun of Nnamdi, who never really changes. King, on the other hand, has changed; he doesn’t carry a gun anymore and he’s settled down married. DeWayne is all introspective and moody– until the Molly kicks in. Lisa and Nnamdi get it on, just like they used to back in the day. She’s cheating on DeWayne. Before long, everyone knows their secret.
Shanika arrives, and she brought Clifton with her, and he’s a nerd. Everyone wonders where Shawn and Morgan are, but they don’t get too upset at their absence. Everyone’s having a good time until the lights go out. They all wander around in the dark until they find the game room from earlier.
They find The Blackening game, and no one’s interested in that. Each person has their own custom-made avatar in the game, even Clifton, who wasn’t actually invited. The door closes and locks them in. The TV switches on, and the “Sambo face” on the logo shows us that it’s not broadcast TV. They watch Morgan tied to a chair, and it knows their names. “If you answer ten questions correctly, you are all free to go; if not, she dies. Refuse to play and you die, just like Shawn did.”
The timer on the game works by itself and the voice from the board speaks to them. They get the first nine questions right, but then the game cheats about the TV show “Friends,” which no black person should ever admit they watched. The game room door opens, but they can’t get out of the house.
King pulls out the gun he denied having earlier and shoots through the door, releasing the killer, who shoots King with an arrow– twice. “Are there any white people who want to kill us?” “Potentially, all of them.” They all get locked back in the gameroom with the game, and they are told to sacrifice the blackest among them. They argue about who's the blackest. When Clifton admits he voted for Trump, twice, they all decide he needs to die.
The group sends Clifton outside and watches him on the racist TV. They watch him get shot and dragged off by the killer. They all refuse to play the game, so the killer tells them they are now in “sudden death” mode. They have three minutes to get out. Allison suggests they all split up.
Allison, Shanika, and King run through the woods while Lisa, DeWayne, and Nnamdi stay in the house to hide. Lisa’s group runs into Ranger White in the basement, and he says “I’m one of the good ones.”
Elsewhere, King fights the killer and loses. Allison takes Adderall and gains superpowers. She stabs him repeatedly. She takes his mask off and it’s the creepy guy from the convenience store. He’s the man who owns the house they rented. He’s also not the same man who was in the basement earlier– there’s more than one killer!
Ranger White leads Lisa’s group outside to his car, but they find a mask in his car and don’t let him in. As White’s trying to explain that he found the mask and he’s not the killer, someone shoots him. Lisa and Dewayne decide to talk about their relationship while hiding in an air duct with Nnamdi. Through a comedy of errors, they gang up on the killer and knock him out. Then they argue amongst themselves until he gets up again.
Shanika comes inside and shoots him again. Lisa then beats him to death with a candlestick while venting about black women always having to do everything. “See? That’s why I married a white woman,” comments King. The killers turn out to be twins, and it looks like they were being paid to kill the houseguests.
They all watch a video of Clifton disposing of bodies. Then Clifton’s corpse sits up and presses a button, once again locking all the doors. Ten years ago, there was a party, and he couldn’t figure out the game Spades and lost the game; he mistakenly renigged. They all laughed at him, so he drank a lot and killed someone on the road. He went to jail for years, and he blames them all for ruining his life. Meanwhile, Allison and King are upstairs watching all this on video.
DeWayne and Nnamdi use the women’s telepathic methods, but Clifton can hear it too. The whole group gangs up to defeat Clifton, who’s a complete lunatic.
Morning comes, and they all talk about calling the cops. “Nah.” They laugh. As the end credits roll, they decide how to call for help without getting shot. They chose poorly.
So I guess the moral of the story is… don’t rent your cabin in the woods to anyone, no matter what race they are…?
There are a lot of funny bits here, I especially like it when Clifton twisted Nnamdi’s hand when he was holding the gun sideways so he was holding it straight. Why do people do that? The “O’Reilly Auto Parts” song, however, is not that catchy.
It plays on a lot of horror tropes, many involving people of color, and they really nail it on a few of them.
Short Film: You’re Not Home (2023)
Directed by Derek Ugochukwu
Written by Derek Ugochukwu
Stars Ashraf Tumuheirwe, Aaron Katambay, Barry McEvoy
Run Time: 10:26
Two African brothers look at some strange mold growing on their ceiling, but they don’t want to complain about it. At dinner, they see something nasty in their soup; some girl tried to expose the food, but she got deported, so they can’t complain. They’re both very recent immigrants, and they’re still in the process of getting settled in Ireland.
The brothers continue to hear and see things telling them both to go home. The older brother tells the young that everything is going to be fine.
It’s not fine.
It’s definitely got shades of “His House” (2020), but with young brothers instead of a married couple. As with that film, it shows an aspect of life that most of us never see– how terrifying is it to be an immigrant in a very strange new world? It’s bad enough even without supernatural visions and monsters…
Candy Land (2023)
Directed by John Swab
Written by John Swab
Stars Olivia Luccardi, Sam Quartin, Eden Brolin
Run Time: 1 Hour, 33 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
There’s plenty of sex and violence in this one, with a little cult religion thrown in for good measure. It doesn’t make working as a sex worker at a truck stop look like much fun, and it was interesting seeing how that works. It wasn’t quite like we expected, and we liked it a lot.
1996. A man and a woman have sex in a truck. She gets out and walks through the truck stop parking lot as credits roll. She appears to make regular rounds among the different truck drivers. This truck stop seems to get a lot of action; she even sets up customers with her CB. They call the place “Candyland.”
There are several working girls, and one working guy, who all talk about their customers in the parking lot. A vanload of religious people stop and begin proselytizing. Theo says he’ll show them the way to the kingdom of Heaven. He prays over them and then leaves. One of the girls, Sadie, soon finds a pamphlet from the group in her room, and she reads it.
Sheriff Rex drives by, and he wants Levi to go with him to do something we don’t see much of on screen. Sadie finds one of the religious girls, Remy, in her spot, and she’s been abandoned by the others. Riley, another of the hookers, finds a dead man in the restroom, so they call in Sheriff Rex. There’s lots of blood in there, but a lot of it is Riley’s who is having her period.
Rex tells Nora that they have no idea who killed the man, or even who he was. They plan to take him to the morgue and just bury him in a few days.
Remy spends the night in Sadie’s room; she’s been abandoned. The next morning, all the characters converge at the truck stop for breakfast, and they all have fun showing Abby normal-people’s food. She’s never had a hot dog before. Remy is confused by the prostitute’s lifestyles, but she says she can never go home.
That evening, Nora invites Remy inside for tea. Nora talks about how her girls are all really good kids. “We have a rule, you stay, you work. If you stay, we’ll take care of you. Want to stay with us for a while?” Remy’s never even been kissed before, so Nora fixes that. The next morning, all the hookers explain how everything works to Remy. The sheriff turns a blind eye to all of their “work.”
Nora has lined up a gentle customer for Remy, and he’ll be her first. Outside, Levi picks up a guy who wants to go in the back where it’s more private. This goes badly for Levi, who is knocked out and raped. Then it goes worse for the other guy when Levi turns around and beats him to death with a pipe.
There’s a knock at the door, and Remy opens it. It’s a priest, Father Phillip. Or at least someone role playing as a priest. He’s very soft-spoken and quiet, but she’s afraid of him. He takes his teeth out and then gets weird between her legs. She resists a bit, and he starts to struggle– until she kills him squeezing with her legs. Then she pulls out the knife hidden within her crucifix, and– there’s a knock at the door. All the girls come in and sing “Happy V-Day To You!” They don’t know the dead priest is under the bed.
Levi staggers in, and all the girls, Nora, and Rex look him over. Rex doesn’t want to call it in; the perp was probably the guy who killed that man in the restroom. Rex likes Levi, and the two of them make the body go away after some arguing.
The next morning, Theo comes to see Remy. She says she didn’t ask to withdraw, but he says her mind has been poisoned. He talks about how her mother got sick and mean, but Remy says he has a small mind. “We must cleanse the world before we can cleanse ourselves,” she says. Theo says he and the other elders decided they are all leaving tomorrow morning.
A truck driver wants something in his truck, and Remy says she’ll do it. The guy is bossy and she stabs him in the neck repeatedly. Liv sees her knife-cross in the restroom, so Remy uses it on her. The truck stop clerk comes in, and Remy stabs her as well.
Outside, Levi buys Remy a Sno-ball, and they talk about Theo. Another client drives up, and he says he’s never done this kind of thing before. Remy says he still must be cleansed. She starts talking about religion, and he decides to change his mind. She finishes him off like the others.
Someone finds the dead people in the restroom and calls the EMTs. Remy goes back to her room and smiles at the dead priest under the bed.
Bruce comes to see Nora, and he’s dressed in a Santa suit. He’s had a hard day, so she gets Riley to fix him up. Remy goes to Levi’s motel room to talk about the dead girl. They start to dance, and then kiss. They get undressed and she stabs him in the head with a pencil. She then goes next door and stabs Nora to death.
Riley comes to see Sadie, who is packing her bags. “I can’t do it anymore. I’m done.” Riley cries and leaves for Nora’s room. Then she goes to Remy’s room and Levi’s room, not realizing why no one is answering the door. She soon finds Remy and learns what’s up.
Sadie, packing her stuff, finds that religious pamphlet again. Remy comes in, clean and wearing her churchy dress. She tells Remy that she’s quitting and not coming back. She apologizes for abandoning Remy, but that’s OK because Remy says she’s going home. Remy offers for Sadie to come with her. “Riley and Levi are coming too,” she says, but Sadie knows they wouldn’t join a cult.
Sadie runs around the motel looking for her friends, but they’re all dead. “Don’t be scared Sadie, they’re waiting for us. They’ve been cleansed. I want you to come with me.” Remy stabs Sadie just like everyone else.
Just then, Sheriff Rex comes to talk to Nora and finds her body. He goes into the room with most of the bodies and finds Remy on her knees crying. He sees Levi and starts crying too. He’s totally clueless that Remy did it.
Later, we see Rex driving Remy home to where Theo and others are. She asks him to come inside with her. Inside Rex is shocked to find Theo and the entire cult laying dead on the floor. “You were supposed to wait for me,” screams Remy. Yes, it’s a suicide cult, and they didn’t wait for her return.
Remy pulls her knife on Rex, who pulls his gun. She then stabs herself in the heart and joins the others.
Keep in mind, this is absolutely a Christmas movie. “Hoe Hoe Hoe!”
The movie trailer makes this seem like it’s about a cult, but that’s not it at all. At least not mostly.
It’s well-paced and looks really good. I actually learned how truck stop hookers work, so it’s even educational. There’s plenty of blood and murder to go around.
It’s surprisingly good!
Viking Wolf (2022)
Directed by Stig Svendsen
Written by Espen Aukan, Stig Svendsen
Stars Liv Mjönes, Elli Rhiannon Müller Osborne, Arthur Hakalahti
Run Time: 1 Hour, 37 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
It starts out with the Vikings and quickly hops to modern Norway. Where a story with a lot of similarities to “Jaws” unfolds. Only with a werewolf. It was actually quite good, with lots of creature action, good acting, and a script that was entertaining.
In 1050, Vikings brought twenty ships to pillage Normandy and they found a wolf cub behind a locked door, and they took it with them. None of the vikings returned home. Credits roll.
One thousand years later, in modern Norway, Thale tries to sneak beer out of the house to her boyfriend Jonas. Arthur wants her to call him Dad, but she won’t do it. Thale admits to her friends that her mom is a cop and that she killed someone at their old home. The kids tease Thale about being a murderer, but she’s heard it all before. Night falls, and one young couple is attacked and dragged into the woods as Thale watches. A wolf howls in the distance.
The mayor’s daughter is missing, and the boy is in shock. Liv comes to the police call, on duty, and Thale tells her what happened. Liv finds a big claw embedded in a tree. After questioning everyone, Liv and Thale talk about her dead father; Thale is still bitter. Liv wants the police force to go out hunting for wolves, but the chief says they have more important leads to follow up upon.
They eventually find Elin’s body, and it’s a clawed-up mess. The coroner doesn’t think this looks right as a wolf attack. Thale goes back to the scene of the attack and hears someone calling her name.
At the university, the professor sends William, an animal expert (veterinarian), to help identify “Our wolf,” as the professor calls it.
That night, a man breaks into the morgue and looks at Elin’s body. The next day, the same one-armed man, Lars, comes to the police; he’s the predator hunter. He tells Liv that they’re looking for a lycanthrope; he’s been hunting these things for his entire life. He calls it a “werewolf,” and Liv thinks he’s a lunatic. “The bloodline must be broken!” He insists, and he also shows her a box of silver bullets– he gives her one.
Thale has a wound on her shoulder that no one’s really mentioned before. She tells Liv that it’s fine. She starts feeling ill in the morning. Her hearing starts getting hyper sensitive and she freaks out in class. She gets several visions of Elin, who blames her for her death.
William arrives and looks at Elin’s body. He says that the thing Liv found is definitely a wolf claw even though it’s unusually large, so Eilert the boss gets a hunting permit. Liv, the cops, and local hunters go up into the mountains hunting. They find another body, an asylum seeker. Eilert, the sheriff, has a panic attack, so Liv takes over. Two men are left to guard the body, but they soon find themselves under attack.
She then enters a mine shaft alone, but the thing is huge and bottomless. She finds yet another body down there. The police outside the mine are killed next, all except Liv, who comes face to face with the werewolf. She shoots it full of lead, and then, in desperation, reloads with the silver bullet, which does the trick.
Liv wakes up in the hospital, and the mayor makes her the new sheriff. “It’s all over now,” the mayor says. That night, Thale’s little deaf sister, Jenny, sees Thale standing outside and goes to investigate. Thale’s in shock, so Jenny leads her back inside.
William does an autopsy and tells Liv that the eight lead bullets didn’t do a thing, but it died easily from the silver bullet. “It’s almost like a chemical reaction.” It’s also missing the claw that Liv had. William thinks it really is a werewolf. She goes to see Lars, the old one-armed man. Lars has all the old lore, and he’s hunted it all over Europe. He also explains about a bitten victim’s gradual transformation. “When the curse is completed, the human is lost. The bloodline must be severed. The bloodline is severed, right?”
Liv isn’t so sure about that; she knows Thale was wounded. That evening, Thale and Jonas are making out at the lookout, and she looks up at the full moon and starts to moan. She grows fangs and yells at Jonas.
Liv gets a call in the morning. Thale wakes up in the shed and coughs up a piece of Jonas. She still has fangs. William examines Jonas’s body and says the teeth are smaller– this isn’t the same wolf as before.
Lars goes to see Eilert in the hospital. He’s got a wound, so the old man pulls his life support plug. Night falls, and Thale is on a bus out of town when she starts to grow long claws and even bigger fangs. The other passengers on the bus soon take notice, and that goes badly for some of them. All the various characters hear about the attack on the radio and head to the tunnel where the bus stopped.
Liv arrives on the scene first, and there are bodies everywhere with some people fleeing the scene. Liv tells William that the werewolf is her daughter. He says he has enough tranquilizer that they may not need to kill Thale.
Thale, on the other hand, goes home. She sneaks up behind her deaf sister. Arthur jumps in and tries to electrocute the werewolf. They run out into the car. Arthur breaks the window with his hand and drives away. He crashes due to blood loss from his hand.
The werewolf goes on a rampage in town, killing several people. Jenny follows it and talks to Thale using sign language. William shoots it with a tranquilizer, but it still chases them into a store. Lars arrives and rams it with his truck. Lars doesn’t live long after that.
The werewolf finishes with Lars and then bites Liv’s arm as William scrambles for more tranquilizer. Jenny ends up stabbing it with a dart, and it passes out.
The next day, Liv looks at the big animal in the lab and pulls out her gun, the one with the silver bullets…
Later, we see Liv leaving the police station and driving home. She sits next to a photo of Thale, and next to that is an unused silver bullet. Is that a werewolf wound?
The similarities to “Jaws” are too many to count. The sheriff, the grizzled old hunter, and the college veterinarian are ripped straight from there, along with several segments of the plot (We got it! No wait, that’s a different one!).
The werewolf visuals are late in the film, but pretty decent, mostly CGI, but OK in most scenes. There aren’t any great surprises here, but seeing a werewolf movie shot in Norway is very interesting and makes this different enough to be worth a watch.
There were a lot of attacks in this film. Did none of them get bitten? Was Liv injured by the bite at the end? Did she or didn’t she shoot Thule? We have many unanswered questions.
Count Dracula (1970)
Directed by Jesus Franco
Written by Bram Stoker, Erich, Krohnke, Augusto Finocchi
Stars Christopher Lee, Herbert Lom, Klaus Kinski, Maria Rohn
Run Time: 1 Hour, 38 Minutes
Spoiler-free Judgment Zone
This follows the original book more closely than a lot of versions. The downside of that is that it’s pretty slow and quiet, and if you know the original story, this is kind of dull.
Jonathan Harker boards a train. He talks to a man about a client of his, Count Dracula. The man warns him not to go any further. He stops at the inn for the night, and the innkeeper’s wife warns him the same thing. Tonight is St. George’s night, and that means something special to the locals. Dracula sends a carriage to pick him up, and the driver has a very familiar voice. The carriage is followed by wolves, but they don’t cause any trouble. The “coachman” scares off the wolves, and they continue on to the castle.
Count Dracula invites Harker inside; he’s an older man with white hair. Harker immediately notices that the count doesn’t have a reflection in the mirror. There are cobwebs everywhere, but the two men get right down to business about the house Dracula is buying in England. Harker shows him a photo of his fiance and her friend. Dracula makes a speech about his ancient family and heritage.
Later that night, Harker notices men carrying boxes out on carriages. He also finds himself locked inside his room. A woman comes crying at the windows, “Where’s my baby? I want my baby back!” As Harker sleeps, the three brides come in, but Dracula forces them away, “This man belongs to me!” He gives them the baby instead.
Harker wakes up with marks on his neck. He climbs out a window and crawls to an adjoining room, where he finds several coffins, one of which is labeled, “Dracula.” Dracula is, in fact, laying in there, completely dead. Harker runs and jumps out the window, from very high up.
Harker wakes up in Dr. Seward’s hospital in London, which is run by Dr. Van Helsing. Van Helsing recognizes the name of Dracula, but then he has to go attend Renfield, another patient. In the other room, we see crazy Renfield eating flies from a box. Renfield has noticed that someone has moved into the old house next to the hospital.
Mina and Lucy come to see Jonathan in the hospital, and they aren’t happy to learn that they keep lunatics there. He’s suffered a shock of some kind, but the doctors know that his crazy story can’t be true. The two girls decide to stay for a few days.
That night, Dracula calls Lucy, and she goes outside alone. Mina notices that she’s gone and follows her to the old house next door. We see Dracula drinking Lucy’s blood, but as soon as Mina catches up, Dracula vanishes.
Dr. Seward says Lucy is suffering from a lack of blood. They call for Lucy’s fiance, Quincy Morris, a barrister, who gives her a transfusion of his blood. That night, she lets Dracula into her room, and we see that he’s looking younger than before.
Van Helsing tells Renfield’s backstory; he also had a run-in with Dracula, and there are many similarities with Jonathan’s case.
Renfield breaks out of his cell and falls several stories out of his window but he’s OK. Dracula visits Lucy again but this time, Mina catches him in the act and sees him turn into a bat. Lucy’s dead. Van Helsing is convinced now that they are facing a vampire.
After the funeral, Lucy is up and about, luring in children to eat. Van Helsing gets Jonathan, Seward, and Quincy to accompany him to Lucy’s grave tonight. She’s not in her grave, so they wait. Once she’s back in her coffin, Van Helsing drives a stake through her heart and then Qunicy beheads her with his shovel.
The men decide to go after Dracula directly, but first, Mina wants to talk to Renfield. Harker notices that the Count looks much younger. The count’s coffin is missing, so they get the government to start watching the borders.
Mina gets a ticket to the opera, and she goes alone. She’s almost immediately grabbed and bitten by Dracula. Dracula arranges to sail back to Transylvania by way of Varna with his boxes. Renfield tells Seward “Varna” before dying. Van Helsing says the men can get to Dracula’s castle before him and sabotage his coffins.
Dracula calls on Professor Van Helsing that night. Dracula goes for Mina, but Van Helsing draws a flaming cross on the floor. Dracula vanishes.
Meanwhile, Harker and Quincy get to Tansylvania and kill the three brides before sabotaging Dracula’s own crypt. Dracula arrives in his coffin just before dark, and the two men set him on fire. Dracula gets old again as he burns and then turns to dust.
Christopher Lee had gotten very tired of playing Dracula by this point, but the director tempted him into doing it once more since this was promised to be exactly like the original book. Then they made changes. It’s still pretty close to the book, but it could have been closer still with a little effort.
It’s very slow-paced and quiet. It’s well done, but if you know the story, it’s actually really, really boring. Klaus Kinski got second billing for his part, and he barely spoke; it wasn’t much of a part. There are some basic but effective special effects here; the brides getting out of their coffins looked like ghosts; Dracula turned into mist a couple of times. The music is pretty awful; it sounds like a spaghetti western.
The Collection (2012)
Directed by Marcus Dunstan
Written by Marcus Dunstan, Patrick Melton
Stars Josh Stewart, Emma Fitzpatrick, Christopher McDonald
Run Time: 1 Hour, 22 Minutes
Spoiler-Free Judgment Zone
This is a sequel to “The Collector” (2009). We both felt it was superior to the original in that it was on his home turf and he would have had plenty of time to set up the elaborate traps and equipment. It’s pretty over the top with some points to not overthink, but it’s a very good heroes vs. bad guy kind of horror movie.
Mr. Peters tells Elena that her mother isn’t going to be around anymore but that he’ll always be here. Then there’s a car crash. We then get news clippings about the serial killer known as “The Collector” as the credits roll. The killer leaves everyone at a crime scene except one survivor from each place; he’s taken at least fifty people by this point. Arkin O’Brien, from the previous film, is the most recent captive.
Missy calls the grown-up Elena and tells her they’re all going to a party. She kisses her disabled father on the way out. They get past the creepiest doorman ever and go into the loud club. Elena runs into her boyfriend Brian, who said he had to work late, with another woman; she punches him in the face. Meanwhile, we see the masked-up Collector looking down on everyone, making his selection.
Elena is upset about Brian and storms off into a private room. The room is empty except for a big red box that we’ve seen before. She opens it, and Arkin pours out, activating the Rube-Goldbergiest trap ever, sealing everyone into the club and chewing most of them up with a huge combine harvester blade.
There are some survivors. Elena watches as Brian runs down the hall and gets cut in half with a giant blade. This whole building is one of the Collector’s traps. Elena then watches as Missy and a bunch of other people get squashed with a cage-ceiling thing that squishes them like a big orange-juicer.
Arkin escapes and Elena takes his place in the Collector’s box. The serial killer takes his prize and Arkin wakes up in the hospital. The police are there too. Sedated, Arkin has flashbacks to what the Collector did to him. Eventually, his wife, Lisa arrives, and they’re reunited. The Collector sent him flowers, “Get well soon; I can’t wait to meet your family.” He tells her to leave right now, and not even pack a bag.
A man named Lucello comes into the hospital room. He works for Mr. Peters, Elena’s father. Lucello wants to track the Collector down and kill him and get Elena back. He has a team, and he wants Arkin to help. He says he’ll take them there, but he won’t go in.
Elena wakes up in her box and peeks through a hole, watching her captor torment another victim chained to an operating table.
Arkin has the directions to where he had been held, an old, abandoned hotel. They almost immediately set off an alarm, alerting the bad guy.
Elena gets out of her box, so the Collector uses tarantulas to find her. She gets away and watches Arkin and his group entering the building. They force Arkin to join them. They’re attacked by one of the Collector’s zombified animal-men. Then a whole swarm of them. Arkin and Lucello’s men dwindle in number pretty quickly.
Elena finds another girl, Abby, in a box and releases her, but Abby’s mind is nearly gone by this point. Still, Abby shows Elena some of the traps to watch out for. When Abby finds out that Elena has a hearing aid, she flips out and runs off.
There’s a lot of cat-and-mouse between all the different players at this point as they try to avoid the Collector's traps and explore his lair. Before long, it’s just Lucello and Arkin; the rest of the goons are dead or captured. Abby shows up and starts leading the men to Elena.
Elena releases Paz, one of Lucello’s people, and finally, everyone meets. Elena warns Lucello not to trust Abby because she’s crazy. Arkin shoots some random man outside, hoping the man will call the police, which he soon does. The police soon show up and Arkin uses his last bullet to shoot the police car to get their attention. So all they have to do is wait– until Abby betrays them all.
The Collector and his dogs kick the door open. He grabs Elena and leaves. Arkin and Paz leave Lucello, who’s caught in a trap. Everyone soon winds up in a big cage facing down the Collector himself. He lights a fuse to those huge cans of fuel next to the cage and then leaves.
Arkin pulls the cast off his broken arm and tells Elena to rebreak it. He uses his flexible broken arm to open the cage door. The Collector kills Paz and knocks around everyone else– until Lucello comes in; he got out of that trap. They have a knife fight. Lucello loses, but the Collector is injured. Arkin, with his one good arm, has a go at the Collector as Elena bangs on the door so the firemen will break in.
Arkin sets the baddie on fire, and then lays down to die in the fire that’s closing in on him. Elena breaks some specimen storage tanks, releasing enough water to put the fire out enough for her to save Arkin.
Inside, the Collector, his collection, and everything else, burns. Arkin finds the Collector’s mask, but no body. Could he have escaped?
We cut to a man going into a regular house and checking his mail. The radio changes channels automatically, so he pulls a knife. Arkin comes up behind him with a gun and makes him climb into a red box. Arkin explains how he tracked the Collector down. It’s gonna go really badly for the Collector.
The Collector’s hideout is just full of his little construction projects and biology experiments, and they’re all pretty cool. The booby-traps in his lair makes sense, since he’s had unlimited time to set them up, unlike the first film. Still, there’s a lot here that you don’t want to think about too hard, but it’s a bit of an easier suspension of disbelief this time around.
We definitely both liked it better than the original.
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