2 February 2001 | fast_n_bulbous
If only, if only...
We all have them, you know...those movies that for whatever reason we somehow managed to miss in the theatre and can't find available on video and never gets shown on TV. This one, for many years, was mine. My holy grail film.
I have loved the music of Harry Nilsson for 30 years, and the Beatles as well both solo and collectively even longer. When I read about this film in the pages of the late, lamented Creem magazine, I couldn't wait to see it! When I was a teenager, my friends (well, the cool ones anyway) had the (excellent) soundtrack album with its generous helpings of film dialogue, so I knew lines from SoD long before I saw it. But it rarely (never where I could see it!)was shown on TV and was not available through normal video channels...I finally got a copy through a video service that specialized in foreign Kung Fu and porn (!). Breathlessly, I put it in the VCR, hit play, and...
Well, lets just say it wasn't exactly worth the wait.
Son of Dracula is, I am sorry to say, just a terrible film in nearly every respect. It looks cheap and is horribly acted by everyone involved, especially Harry, whom I regard as one of the finest songwriters ever, but is no actor. Ringo is, well, Ringo. It's hard to dis the likeable Mister Starkey and be convincing about it, and he gives a typical Ringo performance here-no more, no less. He gets by , as always in his non-drumming endeavors, on his charm. I had hoped that it would be better served by the direction of Freddie Francis, the Hammer horror veteran, but SoD just looks so shoddy that it is obvious that he couldn't care less and was just picking up a paycheck. The story is a jumbled, confusing mess, and the makeup is ineptly done. Perhaps this can be excused a little by the fact that SoD was intended as a spoof, but even on these terms it is a failure.
That being said, SoD is not entirely without merit-it's great to see Nilsson perform "live" (he never did so during his real career) with an all-star band, and there is a clever scene where Harry puts the bite on a nubile young female while T.Rex's "Chariot Choogle" from his "Slider" LP is playing in the background (they even show Harry putting the needle on the record, which sports a T.Rex Wax
Co. label-unseen in the USA and very cool for this fan of not only Harry but Marc Bolan as well).
I can't recommend this to anyone but hardcore Nilsson fans (we are few in number but ardent nonetheless!), and even then with a caveat; my advice is don't expect much and you won't be disappointed. Much.