Evil Dead, Hammer’s Dracula, dating, and women in horror

With the arrival of the Evil Dead remake in cinemas and Hammer's Dracula on Blu-ray, Jamie-Lee looks at women in horror and, erm, dating...

Okay, so I may not be a Hollywood or Hammer belle but I can buy my own round and I like a good steak dinner. Recently, not only did I think that love was in the air, but the horror gods have also been smiling upon us with sweet twisted and gory offerings including a fabulous, previously unavailable 3-disc double play pack of Terence Fisher’s Dracula and the new Evil Dead film released in cinemas nationwide on April 19th.

Days passed me by in a giddy state of ignorant bliss in my new romance. as I laughed when puppies tripped over their giant paws, and took pity on mediocre films. He liked Doctor Who and how I laughed at his jokes. Even the ones that weren’t funny. We chatted about our mutual love of Hammer horror and our delight at the announcement of the new Dracula Blu-ray coming out. As soon as we got our hands on the new edition we watched it with glee and discussed it in great detail. Oh, we were so happy. And he was tall. Almost Christopher Lee tall. In fact, could my new man be even better than the Count himself?

Terence Fisher’s Count Dracula has everything a girl could want. He’s handsome, wealthy, exudes confidence and extends the utmost hospitality to his guests, even locking them in their room at night to keep them safe. A charmer with the ladies, previously unseen footage shows Lee doing a bit of bizarre face nuzzling. Yes, he looks a bit stoned as he stares at you from outside your bedroom window. And yes, he will drain your blood until you take your last breath. But he’s offering you life eternal – to be together forever. If that’s not romantic, then I don’t know what is.

Whatever your literary or film preference, IQ or social standing, you will no doubt have an opinion on the vampiric legend Dracula. A literary phenomenon from Bram Stoker in 1897, it has spawned plenty of film, TV, stage and radio adaptations since then. Some more close to the original story than others, such as the BBC’s 1977 Count Dracula and some with bigger budgets and dubious thespian skills (yes, I’m talking to you, Keanu). But there is only one true onscreen Dracula, from only one true horror franchise company. Christopher Lee’s first outing as the infamous Count in the 1958 classic was also the first of Hammer’s numerous films based on Stoker’s character. What’s more, it saw Lee star opposite future fellow Hammer veteran and onscreen arch nemesis, Peter Cushing.

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As we continued our geeky love affair, I was invited to a preview screening of the new Evil Dead with a plus one, so I took my new beau. Running at 90 minutes, it thrusts audiences old and new back into the cabin in the woods where a group of young, attractive 20-somethings awaken an ancient demon and unleash hell on each other, along with some fantastically gory sound-effects and my favourite swear word of all time. Any film for me that drops the C-bomb with such effortless panache automatically goes in the ‘like’ pile.

Unlike Dracula’s Mina and her lascivious best friend Lucy, Evil Dead’s protagonist is not in the throes of passion with a vampire, but demons of a different kind. By this, I mean many tedious double entendres and allusions to a dark upbringing surrounded by mental illness and a struggle with addiction. And her current battle with an actual demon, of course. After a pretty intense ‘episode’, Mia literally winds up entangled in the woods. For those who’ve seen the original film, you know what’s ahead: the infamous tree rape scene. Grim and incomprehensible in the original, it doesn’t get much better in the reboot. Tree rape? It’s perverse and horrific and ludicrous, which brings a whole new meaning to the phrase ‘Got wood?’ Obviously, if I had to choose, it would be eternal life in a castle, thank you very much, over being Hell’s bitch and running around with chainsaws. Although, the rusty metal and blood does bring out the green (and horror) in my eyes.

Quietly proud, I didn’t get jealous of the younglings running around on screen in teeny denim shorts, nor did I lust after the young hot men. I enjoyed my free ‘date’, grateful that I had found my kindred spirit to soak up the blood and gore and whisper sweet nothings in my ear. Surely he had to be ‘The One’?

Alas, no. Sadly, just two weeks later, and for legal reasons I can’t go into (police are currently digging up my garden looking for his body), said beau and I are no longer seeing ourselves on the same blood-splattered page. The saying goes that friends are forever, but it turns out a love of horror never dies. Unless I find my Count Dracula out there I’ll stick to the horror films. For now.

Jamie is available for dates. She is not a psycho. Please call 0800 NOT A PSYCHO.

Hammer’s Dracula is out on Blu-ray now, while Evil Dead hits UK cinemas on the 18th April.

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