Author Topic: OT...Dracula on AMC  (Read 1332 times)

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Offline jeffreywj777

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Re: OT...Dracula on AMC
« Reply #15 on: July 18, 2005, 04:13:15 PM »
I certainly concur with many of the picks above as great vampire films. If you truly love the genre include these on your too see list. Not all of them will appeal to everyone but they certainly add some different twists on the vampire story:

Nosferatu (1922): This silent black and white version is still IMHO the best representation of the horror of the vampire. Not the typical romantic character that most vampire films use since Bela Lugosi, this vampire is truly a monster. Find a good print to really enjoy.

Vampyr (1932): Released about the same time as Dracula, this european story has a lot of interesting elements, the best of which is that the victim is driven to suicide so that their soul is eternally damned and they too rise as a vampire. Despite the fact that this is a talky, most of the film is presented on screen like a silent through the reading of a journal on vampires.

The Return of Dracula (1958): This may be the last film to come out that isn't influenced by Hammer's rendition of the vampire story. It is earie in every detail and scared the crap out of me when I was a kid watching it on TV. A very fifties type of horror film.

Nadja (1994): A very stylishly filmed vampire tale. Interesting in many ways although I could have done without Peter Fonda's over the top rendition of Helsing. This film stuck with me for a few days.

Habit (1997): A very believeable attempt to depict how modern day vampires may operate without detection in today's society. Once again the suicide angle comes up.

Try them out. See what you think.

Jeff
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Offline CyrusL

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Re: OT...Dracula on AMC
« Reply #16 on: July 19, 2005, 09:32:04 PM »

The Return of Dracula (1958): This may be the last film to come out that isn't influenced by Hammer's rendition of the vampire story. It is earie in every detail and scared the crap out of me when I was a kid watching it on TV. A very fifties type of horror film.

Nadja (1994): A very stylishly filmed vampire tale. Interesting in many ways although I could have done without Peter Fonda's over the top rendition of Helsing. This film stuck with me for a few days.

One thing I love about "The Return of Dracula" is how is foreshadows Barnabas's entrance. In this film Dracula arrives in America introducing himself as a relative from Europe.

Nadja should be watched in context with "Dracula's Daughter", which its pretty much an unauthorized remake of. Some nice moments, but too much POV from a "toy" movie camera. Its funny that shows flashbacks to  "Papa Dracula" that are actually from Bela Lugosi in "White Zombie."  Nadja even pays homage to the morgue scenes in Dracula's Daughter as well as its sapphic subtext.

If anyone here has never read the book of Dracula, I would heartly recommend Leonard Wolfe's "The Essential Dracula" which beautifully annotates the original text and makes it more readible. You must have some patience with it, but when you do get into it, its quite entertaining.

While a lot can be said on some of the inadeqacies of Coppola's film, he did at least add some elements of the book no one else had, and dare I say it, its a better adaption that Dan Curtis's, which always made me wonder where Matheson was going, with his major changes to Harker's storyline and making Lucy Dracula's great fascination, not Mina, the latter of which makes much more sense storywise and cinematically.

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Offline Mark Rainey

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Re: OT...Dracula on AMC
« Reply #17 on: July 19, 2005, 10:22:18 PM »
The 1978 BBC Dracula, with Louis Jourdan, is easily my favorite production of the novel. While it takes some liberties with the source (most notably, the omission of a couple of key characters from the novel, and the apparently obligatory altering of Mina's maiden name), of all adaptations, it's probably the truest to the novel. The actors are all first rate, especially Frank Finlay as Van Helsing -- who puts Anthony Hopkins to shame, I'm sad to say; he easily rivals Peter Cushing for sheer screen presence. Jourdan probably doesn't jive with most people's mental image of Dracula, but he captures the spirit of the role better than any other actor; it's just a pity that he didn't first appear an old, withered man, as Dracula did in the book -- an aspect that Gary Oldman captured beautifully in Coppla's version, even if his "old man Drac" doesn't quite match Stoker's description.

Each time I've watched Bram Stoker's Dracula, I've come away with a slightly different impression -- which may actually speak to its credit, on some level. When I saw it at the theater during its first run, I was pretty well taken with it, despite its drastic deviations from the novel and its flagrant pilfering of DS's reincarnation theme. On subsequent viewings, though, my reactions have varied from faint admiration of its style to outright loathing of just about everything in it, particularly Keanu Reeves. Without casting aspersions on Anthony Hopkins, who is one of my favorite actors, I despise him as Van Helsing; and I must abashedly admit that my original admiration of Winona Ryder as Mina was based entirely on certain somewhat more, um, physical criteria. The whole production appears to take place on one big optically augmented sound stage, and, especially at the end, the screenplay borders on the outright saccharine.

On the other hand, some of the cinematography is inspired, Wojciech Kilar's score is one of the most dramatically effective works of film music I've ever heard, and Gary Oldman is just irresistible as a bloodsucker. The delivery of his lines, wonderfully Lugosi-affected, couldn't be more apt or expertly delivered. And Tom Waits as Renfield is so engaging that I could probably watch the film several times just to hear him passionately yelling "DOCTOR JAAAACK!!!!" His scene with Mina in the asylum, where he asks the Lord to bless and keep her, is really quite moving.

And that's my tuppence.

Offline PennyDreadful

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Re: OT...Dracula on AMC
« Reply #18 on: July 19, 2005, 11:37:40 PM »
 Mark, we are on the same page with regards to Coppola's Dracula film.  I enjoyed Oldman's performance a great deal.  He is definitely one of my favorite modern-day film actors.   I had major issues with Hopkins' take on Van Helsing though.  He portrayed the character as somewhat loony, and that just didn't work for me at all.  Anthony Hopkins is a great actor but I really disliked his Van Helsing.  Cushing is my favorite Van Helsing, with Edward Van Sloane a close second.  I have yet to watch the Louis Jourdan Dracula and Nadja, and plan on getting around to watching them eventually.  Also regarding Bram Stoker's Darcula -  Keanu "Duuude!" Reeves gave me ulcers as Jonathan Harker.  Someone send that boy back to San Dimas High School!  Winona was so-so as Mina in my opinion.  She wasn't terrible, but she wasn't fantastic either.

 Gothick - "The Lugosi Dracula--the first fifteen minutes or so show you everything you ever need to know about Gothic horror."

  Very well said!

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Offline Philippe Cordier

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Re: OT...Dracula on AMC
« Reply #19 on: July 19, 2005, 11:51:55 PM »
So many interesting comments here on vampire films and Dracula films.

I have never been able to stomach Coppola's Dracula (which certainly is not Bram Stoker's Dracula any more than Kenneth Branagh's Frankenstein is Mary Shelley's Frankenstein).  I think the appropriation of the author's names in both of these cases starts me off on the wrong foot since those who haven't read the books think these movies are accurate depictions of the novels.  Although changes to plot in other movie versions annoy me to no end, the total disregard and misrepresentation of the author's themes are what get my ire up with Coppola and Branagh.  And that's just for starters...

My favorite "Dracula" is Christopher Lee, and the Jess Franco version was the closest depiction of both plot and the character of Dracula (aged but physically powerful in the earliest scenes), but the film deteriorates miserably about mid-way through.  The final scene follows the novel closely, which I haven't seen in any other version.  I would love to see the Louis Jourdan version, though.

In the meantime, given the drawbacks of the other films, I have to settle on Dan Curtis' version as the most reasonably faithful, respectful, and well-done version I've seen.

Prof Stokes, I've read the Saberhagen novel too, and I agree with you that it's well done.  Dracula from Dracula's point of view, but not in a way that eliminates Stoker's themes but instead provides a counterpoint.  I read another "sequel" to Dracula but didn't care for it (the author started a Dracula/vampire series).

I haven't heard of the novel "The Historian" ... will have to check it out.
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