Reviews

Son of Dracula (1999)

A 1951 issue of the comic book Darling Love featured a story of love-gone-wrong at a costume party that ended with the protagonist saying:

“Thanks to you, my fickle friend, I’m through with love. From now on, heartless is the way I am.”

These bitter words were most likely knocked out by someone who was more excited about eating chili dogs than writing comic books. But when removed from the original context, this dialogue is profoundly sad. It suggests that when times are tough, the only option is to give up on life. We’ve all been there, so it’s easy to relate. Everyone has felt the weight of overwhelming stress, whether it’s as minor as the tactless goober at work who talks over people at meetings, or as significant as the loss of a loved one. Luckily, there’s hope.

Son of Dracula is a reason to never give up on life again.

Thakur is a middle-aged husband, father, and misogynistic butthole. He and his son have a contest to see who can run over the most women in their jeep. Thakur relishes each act of vehicular manslaughter and says, “Why should I be scared of anyone? Even mountains salute me!” But he should be scared. Because Thakur’s evil is so vile that even Satan is offended. The Prince of Darkness decides that Thakur must be stopped. Therefore, Satan gathers the spirits of women who have been murdered and places them in the physical form of a witch. The witch is ordered to seduce Thakur, so she can have a satanic baby that will enact revenge. Thirty days later, Son of Dracula is born. He is a little person wearing a ratty monk robe and a rubber Nosferatu mask (the same one that David “The Rock” Nelson wears in Nosferatu Bites), and he only communicates through grunts. Son of Dracula can fly, take the form of humans, and breathe fire. But he has nothing to do with Dracula.

Like most DIY horror movies from India, Son features a complicated plot, bizarro comic relief, and people singing songs about how their bodies are pudding that can be tasted at any time. But unlike Kanti Shah’s Pyaasa Haiwan, this isn’t a static, two-hour sleeping pill about a guy in a gorilla suit attacking people. Watching Son of Dracula is like walking into a video game arcade in the lobby of an insane asylum and feeling overwhelmed by the combination of neon, loud noises, and inmates throwing food. A collaboration between director Saleem Suma and prolific actor-filmmaker-musician Joginder, this is an experimental gutter-art project that pummels you with gorgeous, acid-fueled visuals and discombobulated anti-logic for 90 minutes. There’s nothing else like it.

You could spend three days trying to unravel the psychological layers of this movie. But who has time for that? Like Tokyo Gore Police, Son of Dracula works best if you just accept it as a passport to the otherverse and enjoy the trip. The movie opens with an onscreen message that reads, “The story of this picture is out & out a fictitious story. It has no relation with today [sic] scientific world.” The editing is haphazard and crude. Looped sound effects randomly interrupt conversations. Dark themes are bookended by people dancing under dungeon waterfalls to songs that sound like bootleg Britney Spears demos. The rapid-fire rotoscoping effects resemble Hausu on the budget of Damon Packard’s Dawn of an Evil Millennium. And it all climaxes with a fifteen minute cosmic battle between a tantrik-wizard, the Son of Dracula, and Satan’s brides.

The only criticism I have for Son of Dracula is that it makes other recreational drugs obsolete.

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