Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Though he had shown hallucinatory flourishes in such films as “Apocalypse Now”, “The Outsiders” and “Rumble Fish”, director Francis Ford Coppola didn’t unleash his full psychedelic storytelling prowess until he attacked the tale of Dracula in 1992. Utilizing a broad range of visual techniques, Coppola delivered a lusty, feverish dream of a film that adhered much more closely to the original novel by Bram Stoker. Coppola’s adaptation was released 5 years shy of the novel’s 100 year anniversary in 1997 but special attention was paid to replicating customs and costumes of the late 1800’s, along with cultural curiosities such as phantasmagoria shadow plays that were precursors motion picture theaters. Gary Oldman heads a brilliant cast including Anthony Hopkins, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves and Tom Waits. Oldman’s portrayal of the ancient yet eternally youthful Vlad Dracul is compelling and highly nuanced. Here Dracula is a creature forged by destiny and circumstance into something that is tormented, filled with rage, and above all, cursed by God himslef. From the bloody fields of battle where Vlad dispatches his foes in wolfish armor to the deserted castle where he drifts thought the halls like a living undead specter in silk robes, Dracula’s personal journey is captured like never before by one of cinema’s most acclaimed and accomplished directors.

Sean Hartter

Hartter wishes he was the love child of R. Crumb and Jack Kirby.

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6 thoughts on “Bram Stoker’s Dracula

  1. Hollyfeld says:

    Visually, this movie is a sumptuous and striking now as it was back in 1992. And Gary Oldman…wow. An amazing performance.

    Unfortunately, the other performances in the film paled in comparison to his. Watching the movie twenty years later, the bad-back-then acting actually seems even worse – Oldman appears to be the only one taking the material seriously. Hopkins chews the scenery maniacally (*but it’s fun to watch him get so hammy), but the things that really almost kill this movie are Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder.

    Absolutely cringe worthy performances from both of them. Keanu…his line readings are incredibly wooden (yet oddly bewildered). And wtf is with his quasi-not-really-english-accent? I get that the two were likely chosen to broaden the film’s appeal at the box office, but man oh man are they terrible.

    Still, it’s a great, fun movie to watch and Gary Oldman is incredible as is the accompanying art direction and costuming.

    At least it’s better then that horrible Kenneth Branagh Frankenstein movie from a couple years later.

  2. Great art and I tend to agree with Hollyfield about the performances. I often wonder if those roles had been played by more compelling actors, how the film would hold up.

  3. Great article and captivating artwork as always, Sean! I hold this movie close to my heart, I really like it though I will agree that I feel that Keanu was not the best choice.

    Though from what I remember of the making of the film, it was Winona Ryder who decided that Reeves should play Jonathan, as she was also the one to bring the “script” to Francis Ford Coppola since she still wanted to work with him after she had to drop out of the Godfather III.

  4. Dar says:

    Loved it in the theaters, Remember most vividly the erotic scene with the three vampiresses attacking Keanu.

    Still, Hopkins seems as bored as he is in every role he’s ever done (“Silence of the Lambs” excluded).

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