Over the last few decades, comic book movies have reached heights of storytelling and spectacle that readers could never have DREAMED of. But for every triumphant high—The Dark Knight, The Avengers—there have always been a good number of stinkers… some bad enough to become punchlines or talking points, but most mediocre and ultimately forgotten…
Until they end up here.
The Discount Spinner Rack is where you’ll find the worst, the weirdest, and the most puzzling of comic book movie misfires. We’ll take a look at the things that actually work and the parts that absolutely don’t, and decide whether it’s worth your time and your dime. In the end, movies will be marked down on a scale from $1.00 (a surprise gem) to $0.05 (better used for kindling). For this Halloween’s spine-tingling spin on the Rack, we’ll be taking a bite out of the bloodless final film in Wesley Snipes’ iconic vampire action-horror films, Blade: Trinity!
… We don’t talk much about how Blade saved the comic book movie from extinction. Or how it was the first successful Marvel movie ever.
Seriously: in 1997, comic book films were at an all-time low after the releases of Spawn, Steel, and the universally-panned Batman & Robin. The comic-book movie boom triggered by 1989’s Batman was sputtering to an end, and people were loudly proclaiming the “death” of the genre. And Marvel? Well, after the failure of Howard the Duck and the direct-to-video mediocrity of The Punisher and Captain America, Marvel was a non-entity on the big screen. But the very next year, Blade showed up—with Wesley Snipes in a black trench coat and shades, doing wire-assisted martial arts a year before The Matrix made it cool. Blade’s box-office success opened the door for X-Men in 2000, which paved the way for Spider-Man in 2002, and one thing led to another, and now we live in a world where random people off the street know who Deadpool or Thanos or Rocket Raccoon are.
But that wasn’t the end for Blade. No no no no… in 2002, we would be treated to Blade II: one of the earliest Hollywood films from Mexican director Guillermo Del Toro, who would bring a whole new level of visual artistry and twisted imagination to the franchise. Debatably a better film than the original, it drew in $155 million at the box office (on a $54 million budget), suggesting that the Blade franchise had a healthy future ahead of it!
… And then came the third one.
But let’s back up a bit.
Blade is an African-American vampire hunter created by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colan as a supporting character for the Marvel comic book Tomb of Dracula in 1973. Originally, Blade had no superhuman abilities to speak of; however, because his mother had been bitten while she was giving birth to him1, he was immune to (typical) vampire bites and could resist hypnotic suggestion. An expert martial-artist, Blade would hunt vampires using teak-wood daggers and a bandolier of stakes; he joined forces with series lead Quincy Harker and his pals to track down Dracula himself for a good chunk of the series. This version of the character was modeled on a variety of black actors of the day, such as former NFL player Jim Brown, and faded into obscurity at the tail end of the 1970s.
But of course, that isn’t really the character you think of when you think of Blade.
In the early ‘90s, the character had a sudden popular resurgence as part of a supernatural monster-hunting team called the Nightstalkers—first introduced in an issue of Ghost Rider before spinning off into their own title. The team included other returning characters from the Tomb of Dracula series, including Frank Drake (a direct human descendant of Dracula’s from before he became a vampire) and Hannibal King (a vampire private eye who occasionally gets cured of his vampirism through supernatural means). Blade would adopt a new style in the book—switching to a black leather jacket (with spikes on the shoulders, naturally), trimming the afro into a flat top, ditching the bandolier and sunglasses, and adopting the katana as his signature weapon2. This version ended up with his own (short-lived) comic book, and would go on to guest-star in a couple of episodes of the ‘90s Spider-Man animated series. But still… he wasn’t quite there yet.
Enter David S. Goyer.
While Marvel Films had been trying to develop a Blade film as early as 19923, it wasn’t until Goyer (then a jobbing screenwriter penning Van Damme action schlock) came in and pitched the concept to New Line Cinema that a project crystalized. Goyer’s take on Blade introduced a vital element to his mythology: that the bite that had killed his mother had turned Blade into a Daywalker, which is something akin to a mythological dhampir: half-human, half-vampire. THIS Blade had all of the superhuman powers of the vampires he fought (super-strength, stamina, regenerative healing), but none of the weaknesses to silver, garlic, or sunlight. He WOULD, however, need to consume blood to survive—giving him a powerful internal conflict that added dimension to a relatively flat character.4
… Oh, and also Goyer shamelessly patterned his version of Blade off of Batman: giving him a cape-like trench coat, muscle-shaped body armor, and… just straight up Batarangs.
But arguably the real key to the film’s success was the man chosen to fill the role: Wesley Snipes.
Snipes, at that point known for more bombastic and fun roles in White Men Can’t Jump, Demolition Man, and Money Train, brings an icy calm and growling intensity to Blade that was distinct from anything he’d done before. His Blade was a controlled, measured presence that could explode at a moment’s notice into violence, whether by employing his massive arsenal of weapons or by getting into extended martial arts battles (and again, this was a year BEFORE The Matrix made black trench coats and stylish kung-fu de rigueur for action cinema). Though he had little dialogue to work with, you could read a world of subtext into Snipe’s expressions and body language. He made the character his own.
So with both Snipes and Goyer sticking it out with the franchise all the way up to the third film… what exactly went wrong?
Oooooh, just you wait.
David Goyer’s initial pitch for the third Blade film would have seen him battling vampires in a post-apocalyptic wasteland—a world in which the vampires had WON and conquered all of humanity, and Blade was left to strike from the shadows, becoming the Boogeyman to a new bloodsucker civilization. The pitch borrowed pretty blatantly from Richard Matheson’s 1958 novel I Am Legend, and would have been a huge-scale, expensive undertaking… so New Line Cinema shot it down on budgetary grounds, and asked Goyer to start over from scratch. (It also didn’t help that Warner Bros.’ own adaptation of I Am Legend was close to becoming a reality—eventually hitting the big screen in 2007 with Will Smith in the lead.)
While Goyer tried to formulate a new storyline, though, word got out that Wesley Snipes wanted this to be his last outing as Blade on the big screen. So Goyer decided to split the focus of his new script between two objectives: serving as an epic send-off for the Blade character, while also introducing some young, hip new protagonists who could potentially get spun off into their own film franchise. Ultimately he settled on introducing a version of the Nightstalkers to the franchise, with Hannibal King (played by Ryan Reynolds in his first action role) and a new character named Abigail Whistler (daughter of Whistler, Blade’s vampire-hunting mentor; played by Jessica Biel) headlining the story alongside the Daywalker (thus creating the titular “Trinity”).
But there was just one problem: Wesley Snipes HATED the script.
Snipes, it turned out, didn’t like having to share the spotlight with two new lead characters who were essentially introduced to replace him. He was also dissatisfied with the producers’ initial choice of director: Oliver Hirschbiegel, a German television director whose first film, Das Experiment, had only just been released in 2001 (and whose second, 2004’s Downfall, would spawn a litany of “Hitler Reacts to…” YouTube parody videos). In an effort to satisfy Snipes, the producers dropped Hirschbiegel from the film… and to replace him, they settled on David Goyer himself.
Goyer was a relative novice as a director; he didn’t have Hirschbiegel’s television experience, nor the cinematic eye of Guillermo Del Toro or even Stephen Norrington. But he DID have a producer credit—and to be fair, he was the creative architect of the entire franchise anyway. So who could be more perfect to shepherd the final chapter of the Blade trilogy to the big screen than the man who’d started it all? Surely Wesley Snipes couldn’t object to that.
The production of Blade Trinity was, by all accounts, an absolute nightmare. Snipes, still angry about the script and equally unhappy with the new director, elected to almost completely shut down on the set: isolating himself in his trailer and only emerging for close-ups and dialogue (leaving the majority of filming to be done by his stand-in, Clay Donahue Fontenot). Co-star Patton Oswalt5 alleged that Snipes spent most of his time in the trailer getting baked out of his gourd on marijuana; he refused to speak to Goyer or his co-stars directly (instead communicating through his assistant), and he refused to take his sunglasses off whenever he was on set (watching the film, you’ll notice there are only two scenes in which he isn’t wearing them).
And when Snipes DID choose to show up for filming, his behavior wasn’t much better. He wouldn’t stay still for lighting or repeated takes. He wouldn’t take direction. He referred to Ryan Reynolds as “that cracker” and Jessica Biel as “that girl”. And infamously, he was alleged to have strangled David Goyer at one point over perceived racism6 (though that is technically unconfirmed—but given the opportunity, Goyer didn’t debunk it, either).
It was not a happy shoot.
But sometimes art is born from adversity, right? I mean, the original Evil Dead was filmed under hellish circumstances; Star Wars put George Lucas in the hospital with a heart attack; and everyone was miserable and bitter on the set of Paul Verhoeven’s RoboCop. And besides, it’s not like Snipes was the only thing the movie had going for it; the two co-leads were hot up-and-comers just looking to break out, and with David Goyer now steering the ship after penning two successful entries, it seemed like the trilogy was going to get wrapped up in a big, satisfying bow.
IN THIS ISSUE: A flaccid, bloodless finale that serves more as an indictment of the egos of Goyer and Snipes than a fitting conclusion to the Blade story.
See, here’s the thing about David Goyer: he’s a limited writer. He’s readily admitted in the past that he’s more skilled at writing structure than writing dialogue and individual scenes—which isn’t a big problem, as long as you’re working with a competent director who can polish and refine the scenes on-set into something engaging. But when you don’t have a Chris Nolan or a Guillermo Del Toro there to give those scenes a spark of life, then no one’s going to care about the structure, because the individual moments are going to fall flat. And that’s very much what happens here.
(Though to be fair, this time the structure ALSO sucks.)
Blade Trinity is like a collage of story concepts that have been stitched together haphazardly. After a brief prologue, the film starts out with the vampires releasing a video of Blade killing a human to the media7—which leads to a public uproar of calls for the Daywalker’s capture and results in the FBI tracking him down. It’s a clever conceit, laden with tons of opportunities to symbolically explore the ways the powerful manipulate the authorities and the media to secure their hegemony… and it’s completely abandoned after the first half-hour.
After that, the Nightstalkers show up to spring Blade from custody. They’re a bunch of snarky, smart-ass college kids, essentially—the next generation of vampire hunter. Blade gets all grumpy when he’s around them, while they make quips and endlessly dump exposition on him, and that’s basically their whole thing.
Then, they tell him that the REAL threat of the movie is, I swear to God, Dracula—but, like, the REAL Dracula, who’s totally scarier than all those stupid movie and comic-book Draculas in pop culture, and whose name is now Drake (and oh boy, do we have to TALK about Drake). Then we take a five minute detour to learn about a “Vampire Final Solution”—humans being put into chemically induced comas and kept on life support so they can be farmed for blood long-term—before most of the Nightstalkers get unceremoniously killed off, Hannibal King gets kidnapped, and the final objective of the film becomes infecting Drake with the Daystar virus: a genetically-engineered bioweapon that (when paired with Drake’s special blood) will become a vampire-specific supervirus that will literally kill all the vampires in the world, everywhere, in a matter of days.
… You get all that? Because there WILL be a test at the end of this.
So I suppose we gotta start with the Nightstalkers, because they are really the most prominent hook the film serves up for us. The whole concept is that Blade and Whistler were simply a single cell of a larger vampire-hunting underground network—and when their cell gets taken down by the FBI, the Nightstalkers are activated to pick up the slack. (Why Whistler never bothered to TELL Blade any of this is anyone’s guess.)
Stealing the whole movie out from under everyone else is Ryan Reynolds as Hannibal King—the first of his three superhero roles8, which plays as kind of a dry run for Deadpool. King is a former vampire who was cured by the retroviral gene therapy that Dr. Karen Jenson discovered in the first Blade film9, so now he helps hunt the bloodsuckers down with Nightstalkers and makes… just, SO many jokes. He wears a nametag sticker on his flak vest that reads “Hi! My name is FUCK YOU”, which is pretty much his character in a nutshell. But he also has the only inkling of genuine humanity in the cast, as we learn later in the film that he is terrified of becoming a vampire again and infer that his sense of humor is a cover for a pretty deep well of vulnerability and fear.
And then, there’s Abigail Whistler: our most prominent co-lead, who gets her own solo character introduction10 and is clearly meant to be the new focus of audience investment when she shows up.
As she conveniently spells out for us, Abigail was born out of wedlock, raised in a relatively normal environment, but then tracked down her father Whistler and insisted on joining up with his vampire-slaying crusade… despite the fact that she really has no actual reason to want to kill vampires. And while the film eventually gives her a cheap shortcut to a stronger motivation in the form of the murdered Nightstalkers (in particular Natasha Lyonne’s blind tech savant Sommerfield, whose death she seems especially saddened by despite the fact that the two never share a scene), that really gives us no idea why she wanted to do this kind of stuff in the first place. Why would she choose a life of violence and bloodshed for herself? What kind of personal history and inner life would prompt such a choice? Honestly, it sounds like the makings of an interesting character!
… But from what I can tell, Abigail Whistler HAS no inner life.
Abby is a cipher—a compilation of generic warrior-woman tropes, strung together by bizarre characterization choices and dressed in a crop top. Her most prominent character trait is that she listens to an iPod when she hunts vampires11; the movie even stops in its tracks to point this OUT to us. She does start out seemingly more sensitive to violence than any of the other main characters (… because she’s a WOMAN, I guess…?), but then she learns to emulate Blade and shut off her emotions to fight—turning her into little more than an emotionally-stunted understudy to our toxically stoic title character. The moral of her story—and by extension, the moral of the whole movie—is that anger is the only useful emotion, and that all other emotions are a waste of time at best and a liability at worst.
But what about the film’s Big Bad: the ultimate vampire himself, the iconic bloodsucker, Dracul—uh, I mean, Drake?
Drake, as played by Legends of Tomorrow’s Dominic Purcell, is supposed to be the greatest, scariest, pants-crapping-est MONSTER vampire of all time. Supposedly “born perfect” and unchanged for thousands of years like the Great White Shark, the film cannot shut up about how much more terrifying and unstoppable he is than his print and screen translations. Seriously, there are at least three separate monologues entreating us to “forget the comics, forget the movies”, because this is the REAL Dracula: a bloodthirsty, tyrannical, unstoppable nightmare born at the dawn of civilization and left to rampage through history unchallenged for thousands of years before simply disappearing, only to be discovered and reawakened by the modern-day vamps. So we get a quick tease of him at the start, a short little scene where he’s hidden in shadows, and then when he finally decides to join the plot and heads out into the world…
He just looks like some guy who stepped out of a Creed music video.
Goyer’s framing of Dracula feels very much like a defensive reaction to the pop culture concept of Dracula as played-out and silly—which is why he keeps bringing up the goofiest Dracula iconography to form a deliberate contrast12. But while he flamboyantly chucks out all previous interpretations of the Count as “kids’ stuff”, the version HE comes up with has none of the iconic power or rich subtext of a Bela Lugosi or a Gary Oldman. The best concept he can conjure up is Dracula as an ancient warrior brute: a blunt instrument of violence who can shape-shift into other people (a skill that you’d THINK would be more important to the plot than it ends up being) and can walk in the daylight like Blade.
There is a flimsy attempt to draw a thematic parallel between Drake and Blade (as both of them are honorable warriors who exist apart from conventional civilization and “live by the sword”), but nothing is ever DONE with this; for instance, Blade never, say, recognizes that he truly has become a monster like Drake, and throws down the sword at the end to reclaim his lost humanity once the vampires are defeated13. No… instead, it just lingers as a stale cliché—“we’re not so different, you and I.”
And like Abigail, Drake has no interior life whatsoever. Aside from a handful of random generalizations about how he sees humans as insects, and vampires as corrupt, degenerate offspring that he’s ashamed of, we don’t get any sense of what Drake wants… how he sees the world… how he feels about the way mankind has iconified him… or why he’s willing to participate in the plans of the vampires who woke him.
That’s right—Drake is just the muscle! He doesn’t have any plans of his own; he doesn’t even seem to care about anything, except feeding and fighting. He’s a big, dumb musclehead jock who wants to smash stuff and kill people, and Dominic Purcell simply does not have the charisma to make that kind of a character interesting (as a straight villain, anyway). In fact, he comes off as something of a lifeless robot. The one time the character really comes alive is when he mutates into his FINAL FORM and a big stunt guy gets to play the role under a bunch of spikey prosthetic make-up.
But as for the main villain of the film, that would be Danica Talos: possibly the most spectacularly weird and off-kilter vampire I’ve EVER seen, as played by Parker Posey!
Danica is just… so strange. There’s an undercurrent of ennui and perpetual boredom to the character that Posey makes bizarrely funny (“I like your tattoos. Do they even mean anything?”). But when she gets really excited about committing some act of cruelty, her face starts twitching and she gets unnervingly intense. And the strangeness of the character is exacerbated by her extreme hairstyles and her ostentatious costuming; she even has these white contact lenses in her eyes that occasionally shift around, making her gaze seem slightly crooked. She’s just a JOY to watch.
… Wish I could say the same about her coterie of sidekicks, though. In addition to her far-less-charming brother Asher (Callum Keith Rennie), the supporting villains are mainly headlined by Jarko Grimwood, a dumb brawler played by Paul “Triple H” Levesque. Now, I know guys like Dwayne Johnson and Dave Bautista have proven that pro wrestlers can be good actors too… but Triple H is no Dwayne Johnson or Dave Bautista. He lumbers dimly through the role, blurting out clumsily vulgar lines here and there, until the film finally plays its hand and we learn that he’s ONLY in the movie… to have a pro-wrestling match with Ryan Reynolds during the big finale.
This 255-pound VAMPIRE suplexes normal human Hannibal King onto a solid metal floor covered in broken glass… and yet in the end it’s Hannibal King who wins the fight. Suuuuuuuure.
While these individual characters don’t fare great, it’s really Goyer himself who tanks the movie—not just as a writer, but as a director.
There is a surprising derth of visual or conceptual creativity on display in Blade Trinity. Goyer coasts through the film by rehashing creative choices made by Guillermo Del Toro for Blade II, such as the red lining in Blade’s trench coat, the “halogen-yellow for night/cold blues for daytime” cinematography, and most egregious of all, the crazy split-jaw monster maws of the Reapers—which get retrofit here to apply to Drake’s monster form and (as you’ll see below) genetically-engineered vampire dogs. But because Goyer lacks Del Toro’s mastery of cinematic language, all of these choices feel watered down and ineffectual here; his images all look flat and washed out (or just piss-yellow and ugly), and the crazy vampire maw has almost no dramatic punch even though it was the most stunning visual of the previous film.
Everything we get here is stale. The first act ends with Whistler dying during an FBI raid, but it’s hard to give a damn when that plot point was already used in the first movie and then undone for the next. And that first act—the one where the vampires manipulate the FBI into tracking down Blade—also features a protracted (and DECADES out of date) jab at pop psychiatry in the form of Dr. Edgar Vance, a sunny psychiatrist who tries to analyze Blade and is played by John Michael Higgins (a member of Christopher Guest’s mockumentary repertoire… along with Parker Posey, actually). If you guessed that this weird subplot (which starts out with a talk show interview, of course) was actually stolen shamelessly from Frank Miller’s The Dark Knight Returns, give yourself a pat on the back; at least this time he was recycling ideas from a different franchise AND a different medium, but he could have stood to pick some fresher material.
The movie has two endings, and they both stink in different ways.
In the THEATRICAL ending, Blade manages to stab Drake with the Daystar virus arrow, killing all the vampires in the world… but he’s seemingly killed as well. The FBI finds the body and wheels it in for an autopsy, but before they can cut into him, the body slowly transforms back into Drake—revealing that Drake has helped Blade to fake his own death, a “parting gift” from one warrior to another. But then we get a shot of Blade motorcycling away into the city, in full battle gear, while Hannibal King’s voice-over narration tells us that “Blade was out there somewhere, doing what he did best. He was a weapon. His life was a war. And everybody knows that the war never ends.”
… But that doesn’t make ANY goddamn sense, right? Because Blade’s war was against the vampires, and according to the end of the movie, every vampire in the WORLD is going to die now. So who does Blade have left to wage war against?
This ending was apparently settled on by Goyer and the producers to leave the door open for some kind of a continuation for the main character—either a fourth Blade movie, or a television spin-off or something14. And as it happens… yeah, we DID get a continuation at some point.
But the UNRATED ending is a little different, and actually addresses the question of what Blade would do if all of the vampires in the world are wiped out. In this version, Blade still stabs Drake with the arrow, and still seemingly dies and is discovered by the FBI. But when they wheel Blade into the examination room, Blade wakes up, and IMMEDIATELY violently assaults all of the doctors and cops in attendance… and the scene ends with Blade standing ominously, predatorily, over a cowering nurse. Then we get the same shot of Blade cycling through the streets, but the voice-over has changed to “the virus never killed him; because he was a hybrid, his heart never stopped beating. It simply slowed down. And so he slept. Waiting for the moment when he could walk the Earth again.”
The implication here is clear: Blade has now BECOME the monster of the story, taking the place of Dracula and his legion of vampires, and has turned his predatory instincts towards mankind itself.
… But that’s kind of a downer, isn’t it? I mean, we’ve been following this character for two films now, and while he’s proven to be a vicious bastard when it comes to battlin’ bloodsuckers, he’s also never hesitated to rescue innocent people from danger—hell, he rescues a baby in this movie. So if Blade has succumbed to his bloodlust and his anger to such a degree that he’s become like Drake… then in some ways, the vampires have won, haven’t they? They’ve managed to destroy what little of his humanity remained, and turned him into something just as bad as they are.
But no… I know what the REAL ending of Blade Trinity is. Because for that ending in the Unrated Cut of the film, when Wesley Snipes was laying on the operating table in the morgue, David Goyer asked Wesley to do a take where his eyes dramatically popped open… and Wesley refused. He just laid there, motionless, completely unwilling to do more than the bare minimum to secure his paycheck—so when the movie went into post-production, Goyer had to use C.G.I. to open Snipes’ eyes before cutting away to his body double playing out the rest of the scene. The effect is totally unconvincing, and the scene suffers as a result.
THAT is the end of this movie, and of the franchise in general. A movie star who’d become so egotistical and toxic that he refused to act, all so he can sabotage a mediocre filmmaker who thought he could do everything in this franchise himself. In stark contrast to how Blade, the ultimate loner, has to learn to work with the Nightstalkers in order to finally win his war, the making of this movie is like a cautionary tale about what happens when you refuse necessary creative collaborations in the name of ego.
IS IT WORTH YOUR DIME?: The film isn’t completely without merit; if you like Ryan Reynolds or Parker Posey, there’s plenty to enjoy here. But it’s a wet fart as far as being a finale to the Blade trilogy, with TV-movie visuals, dull supporting characters, and a lead actor who’s just here to cash a check.
DISCOUNT PRICE: $0.25
- Final-Form Dracula: Much as I complained about boring old Dominic Purcell being a terrible villain, the final few moments of Drake’s battle with Blade are saved by the fact that he turns into a seven-foot-tall, blood-red, spike-covered demon and just starts beating the CRAP out of the Daywalker. I’m a sucker for a well-designed monster, and this dude looks amazing—especially since the suit was 100% practical prosthetic effects (except for his Reaper maw) and his transformation is the only time when the movie successfully sells Drake as a genuine threat. It’s the one cool thing to come out of the whole film!
- The Interrogation Scene: When Blade gets captured by the FBI, we get an extended scene of the Daywalker having to answer questions in an FBI interrogation room—first to a pair of agents (one of whom is played by James Remar), and then to Dr. Vance. What makes it fun is that we see the ridiculous fantasy world of Blade suddenly slamming up against the cold, fluorescent-lit reality of the legal system: the cops rail against just how many people Blade has violently murdered over the years, while Dr. Vance tries to deconstruct the psychosexual symbolism of a vampire fixation while digging into Blade’s cognizance of the world at large. Easily the best exchange is when Vance asks Blade if he knows who the president is at the moment, and without missing a beat Blade responds “… an asshole.”
- Esperanto: For… SOME goddamn reason, David Goyer decided that the fictional, unspecified city that the film would be set in should be bilingual, and that its second spoken language should be Esperanto: the most widely-spoken constructed language in the world, which had been explicitly created as a way to facilitate international communication. But the thing is, his fictional city is clearly somewhere in North America—and specifically the U.S., as the FBI have definite jurisdiction there—but Esperanto is most widely used in Europe, East Asia, and South America, so there’s this weirdly jarring unreality to the place he’s created. (Amusingly, though, the film includes a clip from the film Incubus, the only feature to have been filmed entirely in Esperanto, which stars William Shatner. So at least that’s ONE decent reason to include it here…)
- “You made a goddamn vampire Pomeranian?!”: Hannibal King’s interrogation by the vampires is a pretty funny scene that takes some genuinely interesting turns. Opening with King being awoken in a holding cell by a Reaper-mawed Pomeranian…
… the scene sees the vampires try to beat some information out of him, but King just responds with his patented snarky jokes and pop culture references (the Deadpool vibes are STRONG in this scene). But things get serious when Danica threatens to bite King, changing him back into a vampire and forcing him to feed on the little girl they kidnapped, unless he complies; Reynolds does some admirably subtle acting as we see in his eyes just how afraid he actually is of that possibility, and his whole character comes into focus at that moment.
- The… Dracula Store?: And finally, we have the best worst part of the film: Drake, walking through the streets of the city and taking it all in, stumbles across a store that is apparently COMPLETELY dedicated to selling Dracula- and Dracula-adjacent merchandise. They have it all: lunch boxes, plushies, bobble heads, plastic fangs, soft drinks, an entire shelf stocked with boxes of Count Chocula, and—in the most bizarre image of the entire film—even a vibrator than has a little Dracula face on its head. Drake stares at all of this in mute bewilderment—and frankly, I can understand how he feels.
NEXT ISSUE: Well, we’re in for another horror-themed entry, but this time I think it’s gonna go down a little bit smoother. Next time, I’m taking a look at the underrated Keanu Reeves vehicle, 2005’s Constantine!