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USA 1994
produced by
Amy Hobby, Mary Sweeney, David Lynch (executive) for Kino Link
directed by Michael Almereyda
starring Elina Löwensohn, Galaxy Craze, Martin Donovan, Peter Fonda, Jared Harris, Suzy Amies, Karl Geary, Jack Lotz, David Lynch, Isabel Gillies, José Zúniga, Bernadette Jurkowski, Jeff Winner, Sean, Nic Ratner, Bob Gosse, Rome Neal, Giancarlo Roma, Anna Roma, Thomas Roma, Aleksander Rasic, Miranda Russell
written by Michael Almereyda, music by Simon Fisher-Turner

Van Helsing, Dracula

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Van Helsing (Peter Fonda, playing a very clumsy version of the famed vampire hunter) has just staked Dracula, but when he wants to behead him and burn him too just to make sure that the fiend stays dead this time around, the vampire's corpse has already been stolen by Nadja (Elina Löwensohn), Dracula's daughter, and her slave Renfield (Karl Geary) ... ironically to behead him and burn him to make sure he stays dead, because Nadja hated her father much more than Van Helsing ever could.

Of course, Van Helsing doesn't know any of that, all he knows is that he has to track down Nadja, and he enlists his son Jim's (Martin Donovan) help for that ... but what even they don't know is that Nadja has meanwhile started a relationship with Jim's own wife Lucy (Galaxy Craze), all they see is that Lucy is growing more and more apathic every day.

Nadja meanwhile pays her brother Edgar (Jared Harris) a visit whom she wants to keep alive forever, but who detessts being a vampire and only wants to die in peace or live a normal life with his nurse Cassandra (Suzy Amis), who incidently is Jim's sister. Eventually, Van Helsing and Jim manage to track down Nadja with the help of entranced Lucy, but before they can kill her, she escapes with Cassandra, whom she makes her new consort, and Renfield.

Edgar agrees to use his telepathy to help the vampire hunters track down Nadja, and in a run-down Romanian castle, the vampire and the vampire hunters have a final showdown, at the end of which Nadja seems to be destroyed, and Lucy is relieved of her spell ... but actually, Nadja lives on in Cassandra, who soon after the ordeal marries Edgar, who can finally lead a normal life ...


If my synopsis makes this movie sound like a run-of-the-mill vampire shocker, rest assured it isn't. Nadja, despite its miniscule budget, is actually a very moody, atmospheric vampire elegy that has more to do with arthouse cinema than your routine genre picture, it moves at a deliberately slow pace, takes aesthetic risks (most notably the many sequences filmed with a Pixelvision Camera, which look like media files condensed a few times too often) and ever so often puts style over matter. A hint of irony though - mainly in Peter Fonda's (how did they ever get him ?) handling of Van Helsing - keeps the film from getting too pretentious.

It might not be what you have come to expect from a vampire movie, but if you don't expect a gorefest and can sit through some slow-moving sequences, you will be rewarded.


review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD