Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula revolves around the town of Detroit, MI which is caught between the victorious hero, the Son of Hercules, and the sinister Psychedelic Dracula. After two stoner friends are turned into vampires to serve the Psychedelic Dracula one of their evil misdeeds is witnessed by a young boy named Scott. Scott, and his delightfully bitchy sister Miranda, then team up with the Son of Hercules to save their fellow neighbors and stop the blood reign of the Psychedelic Dracula.
Upon initial review of the title, and concept, Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula, appeared to be some sort of Sharknado cousin to me. And I was interested. But, what I discovered instead was a proudly, defiantly low budget B-movie, shot with a home-movie type feel, that was also incredibly charming and inspiring. And, by home-movie, I mean they used a camcorder or a low-resolution camera to film the entire movie.
There are also a limited number of sets used, while most of the scenes look to have been shot in houses that people live in currently. While there is some special costuming done for the main characters, most of the costumes, set design, props, and sound effects appear to be entirely homemade. However, these details are clearly crafted with love and hard work, which adds an insane amount of authenticity and genuine care to the movie.
This movie is more comparable to something like Who Killed Captain Alex?, which also had an extremely low budget, but a lot of heart and charm to spare. Who Killed Captain Alex? came from a village in Uganda, where the director had to build the computer he edited the film on with equipment that is decades old. In the film, they use wood guns that clearly do not shoot and cheesy special effects, but the authenticity in the film is more enjoyable than trying to tear it completely apart. Those who made this movie had spotty access to clean water and electricity and most had never stepped foot in a movie theater their entire life. Who Killed Captain Alex? challenges audience members that if you want to make a movie, then why don’t you?
Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula presents a similar challenge, as these friends wanted to make a movie, so they did. You can tell that they wanted to create this film by all the obvious passion on show from the actors, and the amount of logical detail that was placed into the story line. Sure, is a man plunging a toothbrush into the chest cavity of another man’s heart to kill him improbable? Yes. BUT what if said attacker is the son of the mighty Hercules who possesses the strength of 10 men? Suddenly, it is possible (this is an actual scene in the film and it is just as amazing as it sounds).
The plunging also highlights the spectacular practical effects that were used, especially in the more violent death scenes. For example, the toothbrush squirts out blood by using a blood pump, but the consistency, color, and splatter pattern are accurate. So, while this film may have not had the budget for Hercules to rip the man’s head off or something else a bit more impractical, the movie relies on what is there and takes its time to polish it.
The performances in Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula are also all very likable, realistic, and entertaining. There are a few that make an appearance who were either uncomfortable or were not made to be put in front of a camera, but all the main characters are solid. Scott and his sister Miranda have an authentic sibling relationship and their counterpart duo, two stoners/vampire friends have a genuine friendship and dialogue that is reminiscent of interactions between Jay and Silent Bob. The other major main character, the Son of Hercules, is my personal favorite, and this actor really sells the role and maintains being tough, charming, oblivious, and hilarious throughout the entire film.
My only real complaints about this film relate to the narrator/commentator, who appears too much throughout the film without his character being fully justified. While he starts off as making fun of a mechanism used in movies like The Rocky Horror Picture Show, he doesn’t develop or take his parody as far as he could have. Also, in the third act, while the film is still entertaining, it loses focus and ends abruptly. I would have liked to see more loose ends tied up but, again, this does not make Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula any less watchable.
Overall, while Son of Hercules vs. the Psychedelic Dracula is a homemade movie with the understandable issues that go along with being completely self-made, I highly recommend it. It’s loaded with heart and everyone involved clearly had a blast making it, which makes the movie kind of impossible to resist.
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WICKED RATING 6/10
Director(s): Jon Carpus, Brendan Roney
Writer(s): Jon Carpus & the Mysterious Film Cabal of Detroit
Stars: Rob Piazza, Jeff Mogle, Sarah Terrien
Studio/ Production Co: Wrist Bone Productions
Release date: 2014
Length: 78 min