Down for the Count

Herein lie film and television reviews, with SPOILERS.

Dracula – I’d read the novel before, and it was soon made into a stage play, with the movie largely recreating that. The play and film codified a lot of the mythology associated with the Count and vampires in general. Bela Lugosi plays the character as polite and charming but also unsettling, with his Hungarian accent that seems to be memetically misremembered as German, his halting speech patterns, and the business with the cape. He also lacks the big white mustache that Dracula was said to have in the book. One change from the original source that was apparent immediately was that the solicitor who comes to visit Dracula in Transylvania is not Jonathan Harker, but Renfield. This isn’t an amalgamation of characters, as Jonathan does play a fairly significant role, unlike some others who were removed entirely. It’s more trying to give the character some back story, explaining how the Count gained such influence over him. This probably wasn’t necessary, but it doesn’t hurt the narrative either. I have to say I found it odd how little attention was paid to Dracula’s death. It happens very quickly and without any fanfare. I’m really not much into vampire-centered media, even though there are interesting aspects to the lore. Behind all the glamor, they often tend to be essentially pretentious rich bullies who get away with things because they’re charming, and there are too many people like that in real life.

Child’s Play 2 – I’ve seen the first Child’s Play a few times, but hadn’t seen any of the others, at least not all the way through. This direct sequel has the toy company remake Chucky, guessing that someone might have switched his voicebox as a joke, and wanting to further examine the doll. Of course, he escapes and finds Andy again, still desperate to put his soul into the kid’s body. Andy goes to live with foster parents who just assume he’s doing all the bad stuff Chucky frames him for, but his foster sister turns out to be an unexpected ally. Somehow this teenage girl is able to drive in a way that throws a murderous doll out of the passenger seat, and do an Indiana Jones slide under a closing factory door. A lot of this movie takes place in or around a toy factory, to the extent that I was kind of expecting to hear some Raymond Scott music. There’s definitely a theme in a lot of horror movies of adults not believing kids, not that kids don’t make stuff up sometimes, but it’s pretty exaggerated to think a little boy is brutally killing people. Then again, the doll is even smaller, and capable of some impressive feats of strength. And the schoolteacher who’s taken out by Chucky seems pretty old-fashioned for the time period, but I just assume she’s been teaching there for years and they can’t get rid of her. Oh, and I might have asked this before, but was Andy in Toy Story named after the Child’s Play character?

And while it’s not a horror movie, I might as well also write about the first season of The Mandalorian. It’s a Star Wars side story, which I’ve seen classed as a Space Western, taking place in the period following Return of the Jedi and the collapse of the Empire. One of the main tropes at work is the tough loner being forced to babysit, which I’ve seen before. The protagonist is a Mandalorian bounty hunter who’s paid to bring a baby of Yoda’s species (colloquially called “Baby Yoda” even though he technically isn’t) to a client. He ends up refusing and taking the Child with him, trying to keep him out of evil hands. Despite the memes, the Child doesn’t eat a single chicky nuggy. There are some cool supporting characters as well, including a bounty hunting droid who’s reprogrammed to be a nurse. The next season starts out Monday, which is part of why I watched the first eight in a few weeks. I’m behind on everything.

This entry was posted in Families, Magic, Monsters, Mythology, Relationships, Star Wars, Television, Toys, VoVat Goes to the Movies and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to Down for the Count

  1. Calvin says:

    He does eat Chicky nuggies but that wasn’t shown on screen.

  2. rocketdave says:

    Interesting perspective on the vampire genre. I can see why that would be a turn-off.

    I’ve never seen Child’s Play because that doll has always disturbed me too much. I only like the sort of horror movies that aren’t going to really scare me, and as a fan of older films, the Universal monster movies are pretty much up my alley. Many of them are not what I’d consider great, but they can be fun way to pass a couple hours (particularly when I’m watching them on horror host Svengoolie’s program Saturday nights).

    That said, I’m not too keen on the 1931 Dracula, which is fairly weak compared to several of the other early classic monster movies that came after it. The lack of any score whatsoever, apart from Swan Lake during the opening credits, doesn’t help. Dracula’s Daughter, I think, is one of rare cases where the sequel is an improvement over the original.

    I’m actually far more partial to Coppola’s Dracula. I know people can’t resist bagging on Keanu Reeves’ performance, but I love the old school feel of that movie, what with it almost entirely being shot on a soundstage and the effects all being practical in nature.

    • Nathan says:

      Chucky comes across to me as more of a total jerk than actually scary, but this is me coming to the franchise as an adult.

      • rocketdave says:

        You know, while I was unsettled enough by Chucky as a kid that I could hardly stand to even watch a brief behind-the-scenes featurette about the movie, if I did watch the Child’s Play movies now, there’s a good chance I wouldn’t actually be frightened at all, but they’re just not the kind of thing I would go out of my way to see.

  3. Pingback: Toys That Kill | VoVatia

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