Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary

Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary (2003)
Cast: Zhang Wei-Qiang, Tara Birthwhistle, David Moroni, Cindymarie Small
Extras: Commentary Track, Featurettes, Interview, Photo Gallery

Before you groan, ’Not another Dracula movie..’ let me tell you that Zeitgeist’s version of the theme on this DVD is quite unique in many ways. Want examples? How about this. Dracula is played by a Chinese actor here. The film is made like a silent movie, all in glorious black & white without dialog. The entire choreography of the film is a ballet. So, curious now? You should be, because Guy Maddin’s adaptation is exceedingly interesting and well worth a look.

The production captures the atmosphere wonderfully with ominous settings and characters as well as great classical music. Despite the fact that the film is a modern ballet, you will be amazed by the fluidness of the story, the depth of the characters and the production values, as well as the brooding nature of many a scene. And then of course, there is Dracula’s demise, which I found utterly impressive, especially for a stage production.

Although the film is entirely in black and white, the filmmakers used tinting techniques to create scenes in green or sepia tones to enhance the atmosphere. Also, blood is always printed in blood red throughout the film to enhance its irrelevance in the story. Very nicely done.

Zeitgeist Video is presenting the film in its fullscreen aspect ratio on this DVD. The image is generally good, though some graininess is evident almost throughout. Contrast is very good with a wide range of shades and balanced highlights. The compression has been handled well and is free of distracting artifacts.

The audio on the release is a Dolby Stereo track that has a wide frequency response and accurately reproduces the classic score of the production. There is no distortion audible and the track manages to perfectly reflect even the most subtle dynamic changes.

A commentary track is included on the DVD that offers some additional insight in to the production and the origins of this particular adaptation. The track is informative and entertaining and certainly adds to the overall experience of the production.

Also included in ’The Crypt’ section of the DVD are a 4-minute featurette on the movie’s origins. A second, 9-minute featurette takes a look at the elaborate sets of the production and how they were created. It is an interesting piece because the sets are definitely noteworthy. An interview with the producer and a photo gallery are rounding out this great release.

Zeitgeist’s ’Dracula’ is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan of the story and classical music. If you’re a fan of the old gothic horror versions of the subject, you should definitely give it a try, because in a strange way it magically manages to capture the same atmosphere. Very impressive, indeed.