DVD Review

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Night time is the rite time for the Scarlet Countess

By BRIAN THOMAS     October 10, 2001

The main agenda of most Seduction Cinema titles is naked lesbian vampires. Here, writer/director Don Glut (DINOSAUR VALLEY GIRLS) hits that target less than two minutes in - and there's plenty more later on.

Glut not only delivers on this primary requirement, but also wraps it up in an engaging supernatural tale - one that has a healthy reverence for traditional horror, while maintaining a healthy sense of humor as well. While most Alternative Cinema releases suffer under the constraints of tight budgets, Glut has the maturity and smarts to be able to push his flick a little higher than one might expect. One thing that helps is that his Frontline Films is headquartered in Hollywood, which means a lot more filmmaking assets are available.

Speaking of assets, debuting starlet Brick Randall displays all of hers in the lead role of Scarlet Brook, an aspiring musician who has her career plans sidetracked back in 1966 by an encounter with none other than Count Dracula (played by exploitation legend William Smith). Randall is not only a statuesque beauty who shows no fear during sex scenes, but also turns out to be a fine actress, showing plenty of vulnerability and depth - even when her dialogue is a little difficult.

Scarlet tries to make the best of her hit-and-run vampire makeover, using the absent Count's cash to turn part of his L.A. castle into a night club, but by the turn of the century she's fed up with the blood drinking business. She asks her bug-munching servant Renfield (Del Howison from VAMPIRE HUNTERS CLUB) to stake her come daylight, but the old softy can't bring himself to do it. Instead, he visits the local Goth book store, where he finds an alternate solution to Scarlet's problem.

The good news is that if Scarlet can drink the blood of three willing virgins in a single night, she can regain her humanity. The bad news: they're in Southern California in 2001. Undaunted, Renfield sets off in Scarlet's red convertible to line up some virgins. However, the old guy isn't too smart about it, since he keeps looking for virgins at strip clubs and whore houses.

After awhile, it looks like they may have amazingly - managed the hat trick after all, but it turns out that Scarlet gets a little more than she bargained for.

The film comes with a lot of little touches that help hide its miniscule budget and five day shooting schedule. One huge benefit is the cinematography by Stephen Rocha, whose work with the camera helps hide the film's digital video origins. Another nice touch is the use of extensive shooting outdoors and at actual Hollywood locations, which help expand the film's scope.

An especially good decision came when it was decided to use a Goth rock soundtrack, mainly provided by Doppleganger and Shadow Light. Since the running time needed to be stretched a bit with musical sequences, it helps a lot that the music is good enough to keep you rooted.

The DVD comes with a fine commentrak with Glut, producer Kevin Glover and editor Dean McKendrick. The trio provide a full course in low budget filmmaking, demonstrating how they had to think on their feet every step of the way, while not forgetting to provide plenty of fun stories about specific scenes. There's also a section of outtakes and bloopers culled from the long days of shooting. As always, there's a trailer vault of over a dozen ads for Alternative Cinema releases. My favorite was the one for NUDE CARDIOVASCULAR WORKOUT.


Movie Grade: B+     Disc Grade: B+

Reviewed Format: DVD

Rated: Not Rated

Stars: Brick Randall, Del Howison, William Smith, Julia Anna Thurman, Nicole Liberty, Meredith Rinehart

Writer: Donald F. Glut

Director: Donald F. Glut

Distributor: EI Alternative Cinema / Seduction Cinema

Original Year of Release: 2001

Suggested Retail Price: $19.99

Extras: outtakes & bloopers; audio commentary track; trailers


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