Shaitani Dracula (Review)
Directed, Written, and Produced by Harinam Singh
This is one of the most ridiculous films I have ever seen. Believe me, I have seen some doozies! I believe I have found the Ed Wood of India, or at least one Ed Wood, as there are probably half a dozen considering their massive film output. Harinam Singh is his name, he directed, wrote, produced, and stars in the film, a pedigree you usually see in fan films. Harinam Singh also directed Shaitaani Aatma and Jeb Katari, quality films. It is hard to find out information about him due to a healer with a similar name.
As for the rest of the cast, I can list their names, but I am unable to match them up to their characters. Many of them are credited with just a single name, which is sort of hard to Google. In addition, the B-films of Bollywood have little if any information in English, so it is already a stacked deck. I’ll list the cast members here, and maybe someone can help. The few stories I did find about Shaitani Dracula mentioned it took 15 days to film. Starring Shweta, Harinam Singh, Somiya, Jaya, Vivek, Kanhaiya, Shabnam, Pooja, Asha, Kamleesh Singh, Advocate Dube, and many others.
The plot of Shaitani Dracula (translates to Devil’s Dracula) basically involves Dracula and some of his creepy goons harassing some campers in order for him to seduce some young ladies for dinner. That sounds like a straightforward plot, but that is the only thing straightforward. First, this film is a jumbled mess of edits, pointless scenes, and padding. A large portion of the film is just various characters wandering around the forest at night, usually alone, but occasionally being stalked by someone spooky. The film is edited by someone who somehow can operate despite being overdosed on caffeine, crack, Speed, heroin, LSD, irritable bowel syndrome, huffing paint, bipolar disorder, and ADD. There are more cuts in 15 minutes of Shaitani Dracula than in most major feature films. And yet, in those 15 minutes and thousands of cuts, nothing happens! In fact, the bulk of this review will be sorting out the various minions of Dracula. As you will read, the movie’s narrative is like a patchwork quilt of random. Don’t expect it to make sense, because it doesn’t. At all.
Shaitani Dracula‘s scenes were all done in one take. They didn’t bother with reshoots for either wardrobe malfunctions or even to put the actresses in focus. No one seems to be able to get the camera to focus on anything in wide shots, the few closeups are the only time we get a 100% clear picture. Shaitani Dracula is available on VCD, and it is evident that the VCD was sourced from a VHS tape, as there are a few rough patches late into the film. The VCD has no subtitles, but when has that ever stopped us? At TarsTarkas.NET, we don’t need no stinkin’ subtitles!
Dracula! Why you gotta look like a goofy sheriff? Ghostly laughter is heard, and the credits roll. The James Bond theme plays, because, why the frak not? It’s a Halloween remix with spooky music and “cats” screeching. Which means it is ridiculous!
Dracula starts commanding his army to do evil things. He has a vampire chick wearing a halter top who stands in the sprinklers, because that way she can be wet and sexy. Dracula and Vampire Chick don their fake teeth (and Vampire Chick uses two styrofoam half-circles as wings) and they stalk around two nerdy dudes out for a midnight stroll. The nerdy dudes see a hot chick dancing in the rain, but as they go over to perv on her, she’s now a different chick in different clothes, and their attempts to seduce her with song make them not realize she is now wearing a cloth monster mask. Until they do realize it, and run off. SPOOKY!
Werewolf! Guy in a suit werewolf! A bad suit. I’ve never seen a worse wolf suit. Not even in pre-school plays. Not even in puppet shows. The werewolf grabs a chick, because otherwise she wouldn’t be standing still long enough for the camera to focus in on her gigantic rack. Shaitani Dracula never crosses the nudity line, but it is treading awful close to shore.
Okay, this is making no sense. Even with subtitles, this would be a jumbled mess. Anyway, there is drama between some chicks, for reasons unknown. They are then part of a group of teenagers camping in the woods, and a few smaller unrelated groups are also int he woods for reasons unknown, Most people wander around the entire film and are too numerous and pointless to mention because nothing happens to them.
The nerdy guys from before get menaced by the masked lady some more, and a new goon with a red mask has started wandering around now. Dracula has a red-faced and green-faced goon, and two slave ladies who are also controlled by him. The red-faced and green-faced goons laugh with him, and are then never seen again.
More random people are menaced. Dracula is calling girls one by one, but so far no one has been caught. His basic line is to tell the girls he loves them (and he calls them by name, which is why I have their names in the cast list!) They look like they might be ready to go, then they decide not to, or get interrupted by one of the random useless men who are also wandering around the campsite.
The most amazing scene in the movie now begins. Dracula sends the werewolf to grab Sheetal. In the struggle, the werewolf’s mask COMES OFF, the actor puts it back on, and the two continue to struggle. There is no cuts, no edits, we just keep going. To compound all that, the mask comes off again(!) when someone comes and karate chops the werewolf! Oh, Harinam Singh!
The film is now pretty much a Scooby-Doo-type random monster encounter. There is a random goose. Yes, a goose. For no reason! SPOOKY! Here’s a question – you got weird crap going on, why not leave? No one in India can figure this out. Dracula finally just surrounds their campsite and declares them all his. During the chaos, Deepa walks around looking confused while everyone else is running in terror, and that is the last she will do in the film. To add to the confusion, some squashed-perspective footage is inserted from antoher film that was filmed at full screen.
Now, 9 minutes into the second disk, we get a musical number. Not anyone singing, it is just a song playing over montages of “terror,” i.e. people running around as Dracula’s goons also run around. The song comes thanks to Sheetal randomly having a radio, which she has entirely for the length of the song and then never again.
Sheetal wanders into the haunted house. The first thing I do when wandering into a haunted house is go to a cabinet and look for a book, as does Sheetal. Then, Halter Top Chick knocks her out with a slow punch to the head. Dracula lusts over her unconscious body. She wakes up, flashes a cross necklace, and slowly escapes. Sheetal reads from the book about Dracula, then prays to God, or Gosh, ro something, and God answers, saying “Amen!” Sheetal explains to a group of men how to beat Dracula, and it must be confusing or something as they all have blank stares. Eventually, they get it. These guys make Homer Simpson look bright.
So they begin beating Dracula’s goons with giant crosses! Well, just the two main female vampires. Sheetal is now dressed in a red leather halter with shorts and pops into Dracula’s house, and starts fighting his two slave women. She kills them by beating them with crosses as well. None of Dracula’s other goons ever appear again. Now Dracula and Sheetal fight, in slow motion, badly choreographed, in a variety of strangely sexual positions. It is exploitative in the most basic level. She beats him to death with a cross, prays, and God says “Amen.” Then Sheetal goes back to the nine other guys who are just standing around, none of which bothered to help her at all. They get out of the woods, because why stick around when you just beat a bunch of people to death with crosses?
If this is what ridiculous low-budget Bollywood Horror is like, sign me up! It may have been confusing and stupid, but it was entertaining confusing and stupid. All they needed was a mad scientist and a robot mixed in the bunch. Quality-wise, this is one of the worst put together films in existence. The cohesion makes a Godfrey Ho ninja movie look logical, the film quality is sad, and the special effects could be improved with a $25 Target gift card around Halloween time. Still, I oddly liked it, and I don’t know why. I have a feeling I will be disappointed by any other Bollywood micro-horror I get, but it is worth the risk if more werewolf costumes have wardrobe malfunctions!
Rated 3/10 (Boom Box, Eagle, Lightning)
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