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Dracula

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CineMaven
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Re: Dracula

Postby CineMaven » October 26th, 2011, 10:35 am

Gotcha. I wonder why Bowie didn't do more films. He did have a presence on screen.
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Gary J.
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Re: Dracula

Postby Gary J. » October 26th, 2011, 11:08 am

....He was busy being a rock star??
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MikeBSG
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Re: Dracula

Postby MikeBSG » October 26th, 2011, 12:47 pm

I too find "Son of Dracula" very noir-ish, with Allbritton as a femme fatale who betrays both the hero and the vampire.

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Re: Dracula

Postby CineMaven » October 27th, 2011, 5:36 am

Gary J. wrote:....He was busy being a rock star??

Really?
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MichiganJ
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Re: Dracula

Postby MichiganJ » October 29th, 2011, 8:57 am

Count Dracula (1970)
For years Christopher Lee wanted to make a film based on Stoker's novel and this non-Hammer film is the closest he got. Lee is mustached and does become younger as the film progresses and has plenty of dialogue, but he is still stiff and unconvincing, particularly in the sequences where he is supposed to be menacingly seductive. The special effects are laughable (obvious German shepherds are supposed to be wolves) and director Jess Franco is maddening in his usage of zooming in and out, which becomes laughable--a bad thing for a horror film. While casting Klaus Kinski as Renfield is brilliant, Kinski is not only mute in the role but does nothing but eat flies (which he may have done for real.)

Scars of Dracula (1970)
Hammer fans pretty much agree this is a horrible film…but not this one. This is actually one of my favorites in the Hammer series; the tone is considerably darker and Lee actually has a part to play. This Dracula is one sadistic dude, and while Lee still can't persuade with the sexual seduction, there's enough sexual high jinx elsewhere (it's a mashup of Victorian England and the swinging' 60s) to make this one entertaining film.

Dracula A. D. 1972 (1972)
Speaking of the 60s, here Hammer brings Dracula up to the present, with the those crazy swingin' kids, now "mods" and bored, dabbling in
Black Magic to bring back ol' Drac. Just so happens one of those groovy kids is Jessica Van Helsing(!), and she and her grandfather (the return of Peter Cushing!) end up dealing with the big bad, again. Lee, again has nothing to do, and doesn't even venture out into swinging London before being dispatched.

The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974)
Basically a spy movie with Dracula using his minions to try and spread bubonic plague, this offers Lee a more interesting role and he and Cushing do share some scenes in which they actually converse. Joanna Lumley plays Jessica this go-round and while Hammer is obviously on its death throws, it would have been fun to see Lumley and Cushing doing a series of Van Helsing films.

Legend of Seven Golden Vampires (1974)
Logically the two genres belong together, so why it took so long to blend the vampire themes with martial arts is beyond me, but thankfully Hammer filled the void with, what has to be one of the wackiest Dracula films ever. Dracula (mysteriously not played by Christopher Lee) assumes the identity of a a Chinese priest to revive the sleeping cult of seven vampires and terrorize a Chines village. Luckily Van Helsing (Cushing--who somehow still gives a convincing performance) is teaching in China, and he and a group of Chinese brothers (and one sister!), make their way to protect the village. Guilty Pleasure? Nope, just a wonderful popcorn flick.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS

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Re: Dracula

Postby MichiganJ » October 30th, 2011, 4:26 pm

Last few for the session.

Blacula (1972)
Better than one might expect, this Blaxploitation flick has quite a bit of subtext if one chooses to scratch the surface. Here an African Prince is cursed by Dracula to live for eternity as punishment for the Prince's trying to stop the slave trade. Jump to present day, and the Prince's coffin finds its way to the States, where the Prince wakes up quite hungry. He also sees a young woman who looks just like his Princess who was earlier killed by Dracula.

So here you have one of the first male vampires who is not entirely evil and is actually rather sympathetic. Add to that that he was a powerful black man who was made a vampire (slave?) by a white man and look out! The effects are a bit cheesy, but in a cool, low-budget way.

Blood For Dracula (aka Andy Warhol's Dracula) (1973)
While the premise is fun--Dracula needs to feed on the blood of "wirgins" (otherwise he gets sick), and he's staying at a home with plenty of "pure" daughters, all of whom are visited first by the randy and hunky male servant, who also happens to be a Marxist--the film is pretty much one-joke that goes on too long. Not near the fun as the companion Frankenstein film, but still worth seeing; but not by the squeamish.

Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973)
Despite the addition of Pam Grier, this is not nearly as fun or thought-provoking as the original. Little or no subtext, and a bit boring--at least after watching all the other Drac films.

Dracula (1974)
This made-for-TV film starring Jack Palance is considerably better than many theatrical Dracula films. No actual scarers but plenty of atmosphere and yet another stab at Stoker's novel. Here, Palance is a brooding Count, who, like Blacula, is a tragic figure, a redefining of the character that more-or-less remains today.

Dracula (1979)
Universal finally remakes its first monster hit, with mixed results. The set pieces at Dracula's castle and the ending at Carfax Abbey, highlights in the original film, are dispensed with entirely, leaving all of the talky bits more-or-less intact. This film is far more interested in the romance and sexual allure of Dracula, and on that level it works okay, if one can get passed Frank Langella's acting. But don't look to Laurence Olivier's Van Helsing for acting pointers, either. (Although he may have an extra ham sandwich.) One can ask why there is a Renfield in the film at all, as one should, because he does nothing except die. Fortunately the film does pay attention to Lucy's story, for me one of the more terrifying aspects of the novel and is usually overlooked on film. Lucy is made a vampire and rises from her grave and feeds on children. Here, she's Van Helsing's daughter, which does provide some added drama.

The vampire rules are quite confusing in this version, too. Dracula can, at times, handle at least some sunlight and in one very fascinating scene, when he is confronted with a cross, he makes the cross burst into flames. This could have been explored further, but then in a later scene, the cross works. Hmmmm.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
My favorite of all of the Dracula films, I return to this one often and look forward to it every time. Gary Oldman gives a very impressive performance--one of his best--and his Dracula is by far the most complex and fascinating. Sadie Frost as Lucy is magnificent, and her vampire-self is just plain evil, cool and sexy. Anthony Hopkins has a blast chewing the scenery--and more power to him--and casting Tom Waits as Renfield was pure genius. Director Coppola goes old school with the special effects, and wow are they just the best. Music, color, editing, the whole film is a visual treat. Even Keanu Reeves is okay.

Dracula 2000 (2000)
I watched this so you wont have to.
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MichiganJ
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Re: Dracula

Postby MichiganJ » October 31st, 2011, 2:04 pm

CineMaven wrote: I'll bring it to my local bar on Friday nite in honor of Halloween. The crowd won't be into a black and white movie, so if I'm about to be tarred and feathered...I'll have Francis Ford Coppola's DRACULA (they like color) waiting in the wings.

How did the crowd like Dracula's Daughter? At the very least, it might have helped in learning how to tie bow ties.
"Let's be independent together." Dr. Hermey DDS


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