TELEVISION / BRIEFING: Second helping of Garlic dread

Click to follow
The Independent Culture
A full six months after the release of Francis Ford Coppola's film, REAR WINDOW (9pm C4) gets round to biting into the subject of Dracula. Perhaps the theory is that if you wait long enough, anything will become trendy again. Dracula: The Undiscovered Country opens the coffin-lid of the myth that refuses to die. It is hard to criticise any programme that features numerous hammy Hammer clips of wooden actors in ludicrous costumes frowning, shaking their heads and saying things like 'abandon hope all ye whom he doth approach'. But the structure of Sue Clayton's documentary is a lot less sharp than the Count's teeth. It flits between footage of the Count in countless guises (check out the Finnish film with Lenin as a vampiric 'corpse without a cause') and lugubrious readings from vampire tales through the ages by Ronan Vibert. The odd moment is suitably incisive - like the 1930s film of Transylvanians floating loaves topped with candles downriver to appease the undead, or a clip from a Cold War paranoia movie featuring 'blood-sucking Commies from outer space'. But, all in all, Dracula: The Undiscovered Country seems unlikely to send you to bed clutching the crucifix and garlic.