My fine friend Chris suggested I should review Frankenweenie on this blog, and it got me thinking about what other horror movies involve dogs. Well there’s Cujo with the killer St Bernard which is absolute nonsense, The Rats which while technically about James Herbert’s Rats, actually has Daschund’s in rat costumes, and then there’s this – Zoltan , Hound of Dracula. Now you may think with a title like that it can only be rubbish, but watch it and you might be pleasantly surprised…
Okay, you won’t. Zoltan is about a big ugly dog and his creepy (in a paedo kind of way rather than scary) owner who are bitten by a Dracula, not THE Dracula, A Dracula, don’t ask. They are discovered in a tomb in modern day Bulgaria (that looks just like California) and after eating a Soviet soldier, high tail it to Los Angeles to track down the last surviving relative of Dracula, so he can become their new master. At least I think that was the plot, it was hard to concentrate because the first half an hour of the film is so mind-bogingly tedious my brain kept on seizing up.
Things finally pick up when we meet Michael Drake, the last of the Draculas, his wife, and their two kids – so, like, not the last of the Draculas then! Oh they also have two German Shepherds and a cute puppy. Foolishly they choose this time of great peril to go off on a camping trip into the middle of nowhere. Now, I figure as they trundled along in their RV that it was going to turn into a Hills Have Eyes style show down with the dogs fighting off the Vampires. Unfortunately, it’s not that exciting. The dogs are soon bitten and turned into vampires themselves, along with some hunters’ dog, Buster, who maybe the happiest dog ever commited to film.
You see a big problem with getting dogs to act as vampires is that no matter how many false teeth and fake blood you throw at them, if you are able to get them to do what you want, then a dog pleasing it’s owner is a very happy dog. Then tails will start wagging. And Buster the vampire dog is a very happy dog indeed. So he may be blacked up to make him look more evil (is that racist?), but whether he’s attacking a shed or assaulting a small child, he is clearly having the time of his life, wagging away and, quite frankly, just mucking about. Not exactly RADA trained. The dog who plays Zoltan fairs better (none of the dogs get credits so I don’t know who played him), although often when baring his fake fangs his mouth is clearly being pulled back with fishing wire. More importantly, why the hell am I critiquing dog performances in a film called Zoltan, Hound of Dracula?
There is one aspect to the film which must be addressed though, Zoltan is an absolute bastard. His first victim, when he arrives in the States, is the poor little puppy (known in the film as “Puppy”). It’s minding it’s own business down by a lake, having a lovely time sniffing a boat, when Zoltan creeps up on it and kills him to death with his horrible false teeth. Blood and fur flop about everywhere. It’s a bit depressing really. But you don’t need to worry, because in probably the stupidist scene in a film full of stupid scenes, the puppy rises from it’s grave a short while later to wreak it’s reign of very small terror upon any victim it can reach, in this case a bunny and an owl.
Anyway, I’m giving this film more words than it deserves. Vampire dogs aren’t scary, old creepy pervert men aren’t scary and Buster certainly isn’t scary.