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Sometimes, you just want to have a bloody good time; that’s where a flawed but fun film like “House Harker” comes in to deliver the goods.

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Since the dawn of cinema, Bram Stoker’s classic novel Dracula has inspired a seemingly endless glut of adaptations and reimaginings that’s continued well into the present day.

This is likely for two reasons: one, it’s a great story; two, it’s in the public domain. As Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey and the upcoming Steamboat Willie horror movie have more recently shown us, if there’s a property that’s free to adapt into a film, somebody’s going to try it.

So it is with today’s movie, Clayton Cogswell’s 2016 horror-comedy I Had a Bloody Good Time at House Harker, which stands as an improbable sort-of sequel to Stoker’s beloved tale.

Unlike a lot of Dracula-related movies, at least they found a fresh angle to approach it.

It’s been over a century since the Harker family survived their dalliance with Count Dracula and relocated to small-town America to begin a new life. But things aren’t going well for their descendants Gerry (Jacob Givens), Charlie (Noel Carroll), and Paige (Whitney Moore).

They’ve become social pariahs due to their family’s history, and they are on the verge of losing their family home if they can’t pay back a $50,000 remodeling grant that Gerry blew trying to build a half-assed tourist attraction exploiting his family’s legend.

After a series of wacky misadventures leaves two people dead with very vampiric-looking wounds, a panicked town looks to the Harkers for answers.

Sensing an opportunity to raise funds to save the house, Gerry and Charlie, along with their best friend Ned (Derek Haugen), concoct a scheme to use their status as so-called vampire experts to bilk the gullible public into paying to catch a glimpse of the “real” bloodsucker stalking their town.

Little do they know the genuine article has awoken in Romania and is on its way to them, showing up just in time to lay waste to a house full of townsfolk.

It’s up to these fake vampire hunters to turn legitimate and try to clean up this mess they made.

House Harker is a modest film of modest ambitions.

It was shot mostly in a small town somewhere with an unassuming home standing in for the Harker house (the house’s owner deservedly gets a shout-out in the credits).

Still, it manages to be a pretty fun time if you can get on its goofy wavelength.

It owes a clear debt to the films of Edgar Wright, particularly Shawn of the Dead, taking inspiration from its stylistic panache and the stunted masculinity of its lead characters. It has a decidedly male gaze at times, taking a moment to linger over a woman’s backside or Ned’s horny daydreams about Paige, which is rooted in the characters but feels a little icky watching these days (and probably would’ve felt a little icky watching eight years ago).

Unlike Shawn — a film that deftly managed to balance horror, comedy, and pathos — the emotional moments in House Harker end up falling pretty flat, clashing with the borderline cartoony silliness of the rest of the movie.

Luckily, when it comes to the silliness, it ends up being pretty entertaining, culminating in a blood-drenched climax that ties the story together in a satisfying way, bringing several early gags full circle.

Givens, Carroll, and Haugen also worked together on a comedy series called Good Cops.

They have fun poking at various vampire tropes, sending up the sparkly Twilight variety with a much more monstrous variation that’s closer to 30 Days of Night but is nonetheless still subject to the classic rules of vampirism we know and love, wooden stakes and holy water and all that.

After watching a string of more straight-faced movies for this column, sometimes it’s fun just to watch something goofy, and House Harker fits that bill. It might not be a masterpiece, but it’s a fun little movie that manages to make the most of its limited resources.

If you’ll forgive me for indulging in a bit of Gene Shalit-esque movie critic wordplay, I would say I did have a good time at House Harker, and that good time was, appropriately, very Bloody. 

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5

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