|Dracula III: Legacy|
|Directed by||Patrick Lussier|
|Written by||Joel Soisson|
|Produced by||W.K. Border|
|Starring||Jason Scott Lee|
|Edited by||Lisa Romaniw|
|Music by||Kevin Kliesch|
Marco Beltrami (themes)
|Distributed by||Dimension Films|
Dracula III: Legacy is a 2005 vampire film and the sequel to Dracula 2000 and Dracula II: Ascension. The film was directed by Patrick Lussier and stars Jason Scott Lee, Jason London, Roy Scheider, and Diane Neal. It was released direct-to-video on July 12, 2005.
The role of Dracula is played by Rutger Hauer, following Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000 and Stephen Billington in Dracula II: Ascension, continuing the theme of Dracula's appearance changing due to "regeneration". Hauer had played vampires before, in Salem's Lot and in Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and he later portrayed Dracula's nemesis Abraham Van Helsing in Dario Argento's Dracula 3D (2012).
Five years after the events of Dracula II: Ascension, Father Uffizi and Luke discover that Dracula has returned with Elizabeth to his castle in the Carpathian Mountains. However, fearing that Uffizi has been tainted by Dracula, Cardinal Siqueros refuses to give Uffizi his blessing for the mission. Uffizi defrocks himself and sets out with Luke to Bucharest.
Romania has been devastated by a civil war, and NATO peacekeepers line the streets. In an abandoned village, Uffizi and Luke find a crashed helicopter containing a news reporter, Julia, and her cameraman. The cameraman is turned by the vampire clowns terrorising the village, but all are destroyed by Uffizi and Luke. They leave Julia but are soon lured into a rebel trap. They find Julia with the rebels, refusing to return to England with nothing but a story on vampires.
The undead attack the rebel base during the night, but Uffizi, Luke and Julia survive, proceeding to Dracula's castle. There they find Elizabeth, almost totally turned to Dracula's way of life. Dracula mortally wounds Julia and tells Uffizi that only through God's forgiveness can he truly die, but Uffizi engages the ancient vampire in a duel and ultimately destroys him by first biting him and draining him of his blood, then beheading him, announcing that he should consider himself forgiven. Meanwhile, Luke, on her request, beheads Elizabeth. Luke leaves the castle, while Uffizi sits on Dracula's throne, with Julia revived as a vampire. The film ends with the implication that Uffizi succeeds Dracula as the vampire lord with Julia as his Queen.
Critical reaction to Dracula III: Legacy has been mixed, though more positive in general than that of Dracula II: Ascension. John Puccio of DVD Town said, "This one is no world beater and hardly scary, but at least it's got mood and tone and atmosphere to spare, something the first two movies in the ongoing series lacked entirely. ... Dracula III: Legacy contains some decent acting and some solid atmospherics." Kevin Carr of 7M Pictures said, "At least in the cinematic morass that is modern movies, Dracula III is better than the wimpy vampire lore pioneered by Anne Rice. ... Dracula III falls somewhere below Hellraiser but above the Crow sequels. It's not a grand placement, but there's always a market for vampire movies."
Walter Chaw of Film Freak Central said, "The strength of Dracula III is in its use of locations, with Lussier finally figuring out how to work with a DP to create a foreboding atmosphere. ... If reports are true and this is Lussier's last dip in the Carpathian pool, at least he's ending somewhere just north of mediocre." Dread Central's review stated, "Lussier and company aren't out to reinvent the wheel, but they do one hell of a good job of keeping it turning. ... Each shot is brimming with authentic feeling vampire flavor, at times achieving an almost Hammer Film type ambiance. Truly inspired stuff."