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Dracula: Pages from a Virgin's Diary

Canada 2002
produced by
Vonnie Von Helmolt, Robert Sherrin (executive) for Royal Winnipeg Ballet/Canadian Broadcasting Corporation (= CBC)
directed by Guy Maddin
starring Zhang Wei-Qiang, Tara Birtwhistle, Dave Moroni, CindyMarie Small, Johnny A.Wright, Stephane Leonard, Matthew Johnson, Keir Knight, Brent Neale, Stephanie Ballard
based on the novel by Bram Stoker and the ballet by Mark Godden, music by Gustav Mahler

Dracula, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Lucy (Tara Birtwhistle) is an outgoing, optimistic young woman who is always surrounded by her three suitors (Stephane Leonard, Matthew Johnson, Keir Knight), whose only problem seems to be choose one of the three to become her husband and who couldn't be happier ... until one night she is visited by a creature - Dracula (Zhang Wei-Qiang) - who sucks her blood, and continues to do so every night. And with the loss of blood her lifeforce seems to dwindle. Soon, she has a downright condition, but all the doctors seem to be unable to determine what it is ... until the mysterious Doctor Van Helsing (Dave Moroni) enters the picture, finds signs of vampirism and orders an immediate blood transusion. Furthermore, he orders her to be locked in, guarded and covered in garlic ... to no avail, that night, Dracula returns and sucks the last of her blood.

Lucy is soon dead and buried, but the story doesn't end here, because she reuturns to the world of the living every night to suck little girls and the like dry. Ultimately, Van Helsing has to convince Lucy's suitors to come with him to Lucy's crypt to stake and behead her to put an end to her existence as a vampire for good.

Lucy's best friend Mina (CindyMarie Small) meanwhile has gone to Europe to look after her husband Jonathan (Johnny A.Wright), who has struck a realty deal with Count Dracula but was then held captive at his castle and was terribly injured when he made a daring escape.

Soon though, Mina herself falls into the clutches of Dracula and is abducted by him ... but Van Helsing and company are already hot on his trail, and ultimately they use a combination of stakes, crucifixes and sunlight to kill the vampire.


To turn a world-famous horror story like Dracula into - of all things - a ballet might not sound like the best idea to begin with, and to turn that ballet into a film sounds like nothing short of disaster ... but fortunately, the producers were smart enough to not have the film directed by some faceless dance-video director, but by Guy Maddin, who might know little about dancing (and was always one to admit it), but all the more about making inventive, unusual and highly original films - and who always showed a predilection for silent (as in without dialogue, not without music) films.

The finished film falls short of being a Guy Maddin-masterpiece like Tales from the Gimli Hospital or Careful, mainly probably due to the fact that the source material - written by someone other than Maddin - had its limitations as it is. However, Maddin still managed to turn what could have been a - for all non-ballet lovers - boring dancemovie into a triplike experience, almost a journey into another world. And Maddin proves, against all odds, that the combination of ballet and horror can work - at least if done by Maddin himself ...


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