Wes Craven Presents: Dracula III – Legacy (2005)

The “Wes Craven Presents Dracula” series has been one of the kookiest and oddest trilogies ever conceived by a studio. Obviously the trilogy is just a hodgepodge of three vampire movies connected because Dracula. But it’s an eccentric trilogy when you take a step back. The first was a sleek action horror film with Dracula being the reincarnated Judas. The second is a goofy thriller about scientists trying to manipulate Dracula’s blood in to a healing medicine. The third is a romance with a martial arts fighting rogue priest who is trying to stop immigrants from becoming Dracula’s imported food.

Also, it should be noted that the fun idea of Van Helsing’s vampiric grand daughter hunting vampires is tossed out the window completely, and never mentioned ever again. The movie is so out of sync with the former two films that there’s even the claim that Dracula is so old not even he remembers how he was born, even though they explained his entirely new origin in the finale of “Dracula 2000.” Dracula has now hidden among the ruins in an Eastern European village in the middle of a civil war and yes, he looks different this time around. The first film saw him as Scott Stapp, the sequel saw him as Billy Idol, and this final entry makes Dracula look like Rutger Hauer filming before attending a rave.

Hauer, despite playing Dracula once again, only has about fifteen minutes of screen time, as most of the film is centered on Jason London and Jason Scott Lee’s characters. Coming fresh off of the second film—well five years later, Lee as Father Uffizi is working with London’s character Luke to track down his girlfriend Elizabeth and learn where Dracula is holding her. Along the way there are a lot of scenes of the pair battling vampires very recklessly while Uffizi goes rogue when he’s released from his church (The late, great Roy Scheider makes an easy paycheck in a short walk on role) after being tainted by Dracula. With the two hunters on the road, they travel across the world garnering new allies, and engaging in a rescue mission involving Dracula trafficking humans and immigrants that are shipped to his castle as potential food.

Soon, the pair of hunters discovers that the ring of trafficking reaches deeper than either of them realize. You have to give it to Patrick Lussier for seeing the series all the way through even with ridiculous moments like a vampire orgy pit Dracula keeps in his basement, and Uffizi battling a vampire on stilts. While the movie itself is about ten minutes too long, Rutger Hauer at least makes the most of his glorified walk on role. I can’t say I’m a fan of the silly final shot that literally spells out the twist for us with subtitles before the credits roll, but it’s a serviceable end to a pretty eccentric and absurd horror action trilogy.