Dracula’s Coffin, directed by Stephen Wolfe, hits us early with a strong sense of style as clouds of neon smoke billow over a coffin to the up-tempo melancholic synths of 80’s darkwave but to really get to its roots we need to travel a little further back to the late 60s and 70s, to the stylized gothic horror of Hammer Films. Dracula’s Coffin is soaked in the influence of those films, in particular its series of Dracula films starring Christopher Lee. Aesthetics are where the similarities end, however, as this not gothic horror but a comedic farce with a spooky coat of paint.
We follow Josephine, a simple-minded woman with a thick New York accent who just got a new job working as a house sitter for one Abraham Van Helsing, who must travel to Transylvania to attend to some unfinished business. It’s a simple gig, all that Abraham asks of her is to stay out of the basement. This goes as you might expect, leading to a climactic showdown with the count himself.
Dracula’s Coffin manages to fit a feature’s worth of story in its 30 minutes, from the initial interactions between Abraham and Josephine to the revelation of what lies in the basement and a plotline with Abraham’s neighbors who come to investigate the disturbance. This makes for a fun watch that kept my attention with some kitschy set pieces and energetic performances. What keeps Dracula’s Coffin from being a truly great short is that very little of the comedy worked for me. There are a handful of moments that nearly elicited a chuckle but they’re buried amongst s pit of tired double entendres and scenes that come out of nowhere and depend on being quirky and random to get a response rather than being funny through the cleverness of the writing. Dracula’s Coffin is some decent light-hearted fun but the relative lack of comedy or horror makes for a somewhat hollow experience.