Bizarre but very interesting. The Dracula story is one of my favourites which added to my enjoyment of this. Feel confused as to how much my enjoyment was down to this or Franco's film - which I would now love to see by the way. Anything with Christopher Lee in is worth watching. Incidentally, the main soundtrack theme has appeared in another movie - with lyrics - can anyone help me with that as I can't place it?
Although an interesting idea, the alternative variation on the theme felt disjointed and insubstantial in plot, sound and dynamic to maintain interest as a feature length exercise. It stood frustratingly on the fence between documentary/experimental art piece and ended up looking like an exhausting collection of out takes.
Unlike anything I've ever seen before. Portabella takes Franco's kitschy aesthetic and turns it into a horror dream in and of cinema itself. The visuals are astonishing: bone-bleached contrasts; blasts of visual static; grain, blur, soft-focus rub together to produce something otherworldly. Clearly an influence on the experimental horror begotten. The soundtrack was dissociative, mournful concrete. Fascinating.
The thing that is made; the making of the thing; the thing that is made about the making of the thing. All of these are equally real, and - in fact - are of the same reality. If Portabella was subverting Franco's Spain, it was by exposing the illusory power of the narrative; revealing, through construction, the fact of the construct. That, and calling Franco a parasite ;) All in a rapturously immersive sensory feast.
While it doesn't pack the aesthetic and political punch of Umbracle, this film is a fine modernist bookend to Nosferatu. The alienating effects, the glimpses of contemporary life, draw out the sense of erotic nightmare inherent in vampirism, given an even more sinister, paranoiac edge as we see the events being staged and recorded by shadowy, half-glimpsed figures. This is Dracula by way of Last Year at Marienbad.