Topping Khooni Dracula was always going to be a tough ask at the very least but director/writer Bhoosan Lal felt an artist’s urge to bring his own interpretation of Bram Stoker’s legendary novel to the screen with one final definitive version and so Dracula (1999) was unearthed to swooning masses. Kiran Kumar – who has surely starred in more horror films than even Raza Murad is once again donning the snake charmers garb as Abdullah the wandering charmer who one fine day stumbles upon that entity that any sane man would readily die for: The Naag Mani (Mani or Money for short).
The Mani for those who aren’t well versed in such matters is a fancy bit broken off some tacky chandelier which once secured in possession allegedly works like Aladdin’s lamp. Anyway, a bunch of the most seriously dangerous and warped criminals break out and head for the forest where they have arranged to secure the Mani from Abdullah but their plan goes awry and after Abdullah the possessor of the Mani dies in mysterious circumstances in a Christian graveyard and the Mani is nowhere to be found. News of the missing Mani travels fast and soon the flies swarm to the feast as a bunch of beauties arrive from the big city in order to achieve their dreams through the powers of the Mani.
Problem is there a lack of motels or hotels in the thick of the forest so our bodacious Mani seekers have to seek out shelter elsewhere and the only place in town is a ramshackle old Haveli inhabited by a pockmarked thakur who has clearly seen better days yet is always hospitable and welcoming especially to nubile young beauties from the city with no place to stay. When three such Naag Mani seekers ask to stay at his Haveli he invites them in without the slightest hesitation though a test for STD’s may have been the way to go at the very least. Little did the thakur realize that city girls are also nymphomaniacs and come the wee hours the girls find themselves physically capable of handling a night on their own without any carnal recreation and so two of the three decide to make use of the decrepit old Thakur to satisfy their “animal lust”.
An unexpected yet joyous twist on the usual rape revenge scenario where this time the protesting Thakur is literally raped by the two city sirens who after the act decide to kill the old codger, not for his lovemaking skills or lack of them but because “if people find out” then the girls will be branded shameless rapists and that can’t be good for their public profile. And so the old Thakur having been raped is then mercilessly killed by the tartlets before they head back to the big bad city. But now, months later they return with a studly boyfriend who has an extreme Kevin Keegan retro 70’s hairstyle that would shame the Bay City Rollers and Ian Botham at his most inspired and is by far the most terrifying sight during this spellbinding movie.
The group make their way to the local graveyard where the Mani has supposedly been lost but each time their efforts at retrieving the plastic chandelier bit are thwarted by some strange and very bad disco music accompanied by some booming laughter and cackling by what is soon realized to be the ghost of the raped and murdered Thakur re-emerging for his revenge. Time and again one or two scantily dressed beauties arrive at the graveyard and are tormented by bad disco beats before finally the ghastly spectre of the Thakur now transformed into a grinning buffoon with bloodied hands emerges and seemingly terrifies his victim to an early grave. Finally he is thwarted by an escaped Taliban type who has picked up a Trishul (trident) to mask his true identity and learned some gibberish which he spews all over the graveyard in order to subdue the rampaging Dracula Thakur Creature who is threatening mayhem on an unprecedented scale.
Dracula is a quite astoundingly atrocious film but to give credit where due, at least we are spared the usual rubber masked antics this time around for genuine make up though there are many sets of plastic fangs on display and the BBC Death and Horror Sound Effects tape is given yet another spin – those baying wolves sound terribly familiar. Arguably the highest of the many highlights that this film has to offer is the wondrous, lyrical and exuberantly sung Disco Theme song by Mohammad Aziz titled “Woh Hai Dry-Cooler (AKA Dracula)” which booms out each time some unsuspecting low life approaches the evil graveyard in search of the famed Naag Mani.
The film described on the thoroughly fetching VCD cover claims the film to be “Sexy & Horror film” and who is to argue against that claim. Produced and directed by Bhoosan Lal, a name to watch out for, the film is worth watching for a number of reasons; among them the classic Disco Theme, The Keegan hairstyle that is out of this world, acting and a script that mocks convention with glee and introduces the idea that Dracula is nothing but a failed Disco act and might actually be Michael Zager or Sylvester the Disco Queen reincarnated. Altogether now…..ooooo ooooo Let’s all Chant! Still, the Khooni Dracula theme song remains the one to beat and you can hear it right here:
Update: the entire film is now available on YouTube. Here you go!