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Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)

Ze light, she is... HSSSSS
Ze light, she is... HSSSSS

 

Genre: Horror Romance 

Starring: Gary Oldman (Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead • Sid and Nancy), Winona Ryder (A Scanner Darkly • Girl, Interrupted)

Directed By: Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather • Apocalypse Now)

Overview: You know the old story. Boy meets Girl. Girl falls for Bad Boy. Bad Boy turns out to be a blood sucking, bat/wolf/mist transforming force of pure undead evil. Boy tries to get even by having his bros wail on bad boy with sticks.

In my recent re-visit to 'the modern classic', as well as being mildly obsessed with Blu-Ray, I recently saw this gem of a film, in sweet HD.

What I love most about re-watching films from the late 80s / early 90s, aside from the obvious joy that comes from nostalgia, is how one often one forgets things from 20 years ago. Most notable for me were these thoughts:

1.) Hey hey hey, isn’t that copiously bearded priest in the prelude being played by Anthony Hopkins? How wily of Coppola to cast him as 'priest trying to stop Vlad's blasphemy' as well as Van Helsing.

2.) Is that… is that SERIOUSLY Tom Waits playing Renfield?! Amazing! I totally forgot!

3.) Oh Keanu, did you work at being that much of a lame-ass, or did they just have perfect casting…thank God you got better.

4.) Oh there's the loosey Lucy I remember, and those three uber-archtypal suitors of hers, the cowboy, the doctor and The Royal, how perfect.

4b.) Whoa Boob Alert!

5.) Usually the sets look awesome and expensive. Sometimes they look laaaaaaame.

6.) There's the three brides I remember, hubba hubba. Boob alert.

7.) Did I really ever like Winona? Wait, oh my God, her jugs are totally a-bounce in this scene! Boob Alert!

8.) "Aye haff crohsst oh-shins off taime!!!!!!"

8b.) "Take me away from all this... DEATH!"

9.) Old-man vlad, half-wolf vlad, half-bat vlad. Honestly what up with all the unnecessary make-up?

10.) So much Boob Alert! Coppola, you dog!

11.) Are you even serious? Annie Lennox does the end credits song? And it's called "Love Song for a Vampire" Ouuuuuch.

But that's just me. For you I have something special:


Now, not having read all of Bram Stoker's Dracula, I can't truly attest to how close the film stayed to the novel, but with a title like Bram Stoker's Dracula, you'd think it would be pretty damn accurate. Now correct me if I'm wrong but aren't there pretty major changes in the: prelude, beginning, middle, more middle, near-end middle, end, and prologue? I don't have a problem with that, given that I've seen very many versions of Dracula so far, this is a nice change.

The roles of Sir and Mrs. Harker, played by Winona and Keanu, seem more like necessary evils than genuine entertainment, but characters like Van Helsing and Lucy are wonderfully written, with Van Helsing's scathing personality a debatably tongue-in-cheek portrayal, and certainly something to behold. The cinematography is also right stunning, and the frequent Expressionist or even outright avant-garde shots are a nice touch for mainstream Hollywood.

Well done Coppola, you made another solid film.

Fop suits are Victorian hot
Fop suits are Victorian hot

Performance: 8 Cinematography: 8 Script: 8 Plot: 9 Mood: 8

Overall Rating: 82% (Sure, Get Stoked!)
Aftertaste:

Yet, the one thing I walk away wondering about was the theme of the blood. Yes, this Vlad is certainly into the whole psycho-sexual side of the precious life-giving juice, but Anne Rice, in her works, always made blood a unisex thing, which got her flak for being homoerotic. I was hoping that Vlad would enjoy the thing he cherishes second-most wherever it may be, regardless of sex. I suppose Coppola would have diluted the romance message had he gone that route, but with scenes like wolfie-man-form humping Lucy while feeding from her, well, maybe that just dilutes the message a little too...

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