Saturday, November 24, 2012

The Vulture's Eye (2004)

Pack: Tomb of Terrors
Disc: 6

Subgenre(s): Vampires

Year: 2004

Rated: Unrated
Length: 95 minutes

Director: Frank Sciurba
Writer: Frank Sciurba
Starring: Brooke Paller, Anne Flosnik, James Nalitz

Synopsis: Lucy and her friends enjoy riding horses in the peaceful rolling hills of the Virginia countryside. On a solo horse ride, Lucy falls from her horse. She is "rescued" by her new neighbor, the Foreign Count "Klaus Vogul". The count becomes obsessed by the sultry Lucy and all of her friends. As Lucy starts behaving strangely and becomes ill, an old-time Southern Doctor is called in to diagnose and treat her. As the Doctor intervenes, Count Vogul attempts to lure them into a wave of living death. Will they all fall prey to the Count's perverse plans? Remember, when death starts looking good, you're staring into the "Vulture's Eye".


Review: As you will have gathered from the synopsis, The Vulture's Eye is a retelling of Dracula set in modern day Virginia.

Apart from the locations (with Transylvania also being changed to Sierra Leone in Africa) and not using the name "Dracula" anywhere (although Stoker gets a mention), there are no big surprises here. In a throwback to Hammer's style, there are lots of boobies on display though.

Lucy Westenra (Brooke Paller) has enormous melons and she (or her body double) doesn't mind showing them either. There are even more shots of boobs than there are of blood, but both are done in an arty-farty style which makes the story more ragged than it should be.

In another change, Lucy's cousin Mina (Anna Flosnik) has Quincy Morris (Fred Iacovo) as her fiancé rather than Jonathan Harker. Like Harker, Quincy has been away from his beloved and imprisoned by "Dracula" (aka Count Klaus Vogel) for several months prior to the beginning of the story. Rather than being tempted by Dracula's brides, it's due to being forced to eat human flesh that has given Quincy a fever whereby he can't remember anything about his ordeal except in bits and pieces.

Before Quincy can warn everyone, Count Klaus Vogel (James Nalitz) shows up with huge red warts on his face which nobody seems at all repulsed by. Maybe it has something to do with Southern manners, but it seems unrealistic that nobody asks, "What's wrong with your face, bro?" especially as one of Lucy's ex-suitors, Jack Seward (Joseph Reo), is a cosmetic surgeon!

There's not much realism in the story of Dracula anyway so there are some things which the most hardened critic might be willing to let slide. Even the lack of religious iconography having an effect on vampires isn't very important outside of the original novel and is allowable in a re-imagining. Using a more scientific approach, a toasting fork, bullets, and surgical decapitation are now all valid ways to despatch the undead.

The Vulture's Eye is very slow in places and quite disjointed in others. There's also a lot of unintentional comedy created by everyone's easy acceptance of vampirism and the Count's supernatural nature no matter how straight everyone plays their part.

The acting isn't anything special although, as usual in indie horror, the girls do much better jobs than the guys. Van Helsing (Paul Zacheis) and Arthur Holmwood (Jason King) both stand out in very bad ways due to the former's awfulness and the latter's blandness.

Most of the lines come straight from Bram Stoker's novel so it's pointless highlighting the faults of the already dated dialogue. At least the delivery is decent enough. In some cases, maybe not so much, but the newer dialogue is far more cringeworthy. Lucy says, "Peachy!" almost as many times as DJ Perry does in From Venus. It's still not going to catch on.

Gorehounds should get a kick out of some of the bloodier scenes although perverts will enjoy them even more. There's definitely some erotic stuff here among all the nasty shaky camerawork and excessive artiness which tries to cover it up. If you love boobs, blood, and boobs covered in blood, someone heard your prayers and made this film just for you.

If you've never seen any other Dracula movie, The Vulture's Eye is a below average alternative which is still worth having a look at. The ending is far more downbeat and not an improvement, but when you consider the low-budget, it's okay. There are better versions of Dracula available and quite a few worse ones (even Universal's 1931 borefest), but nobody has made the definitive version yet.

Most Memorable Moment(s): Lucy's boobs.

Originality: None.

Best Line(s): "I'm done things I've never even heard of before, and now I can't live without them."
Worst Line(s): "I don't care if she's been abducted by circus freaks, she should have give me notice."

Best Effect(s): Jack's half-eaten face make-up.
Worst Effect(s): The quick ("stop the camera, move, start the camera again") movements of the vampires.

Goriness (out of 10): 6
Sexiness (out of 10): 7
Profanities (out of 10): 5

Hottest Actor/Actress: Brooke Paller as Lucy Westenra.

Picture Quality: Average
Audio Quality: Average

Rating (out of 10): 5

Trailer: None
IMDb or Wiki:

Final Thoughts: A cheap and nasty modernisation of Dracula with more boobs and a different ending.

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