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Vem var Dracula? (1975)

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A documentary exploring the legends of vampires, using books, paintings and early films on the subject.

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A documentary exploring the legends of vampires, using books, paintings and early films on the subject.

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The blood-curdling truth behind the legendary vampire.


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15 May 1975 (USA)  »

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In Search of Dracula  »

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IN SEARCH OF Dracula (Calvin Floyd, 1975) **
26 October 2008 | by (Naxxar, Malta) – See all my reviews

I'd long been interested in this documentary on the history behind the archetypal vampire figure due to Christopher Lee's involvement (as both narrator and actor) but also given the fact that director Floyd would follow it with the well-regarded THE TERROR OF FRANKENSTEIN (1975), a faithful adaptation of Mary Shelley's horror classic.

However, the result in this case is mainly dull and patchy at best: not only were several of the accounts involving "Dracula" novelist Bram Stoker and the inspirations for his creation (chiefly the notorious Vlad the Impaler) already familiar to me – but such other interjections as J. Sheridan LeFanu's equally famous female vampire story "Carmilla", the way the inherently predatory nature of femme fatales drew upon that of the vampire (hence the epithet 'vamp'), or the documentation of a real-life modern-day blood-sucker (who may well have inspired George A. Romero's MARTIN [1978]) felt like padding more than anything else!

The film's real coup, then, lies in the makers' decision to shoot in authentic locations – which, amazingly, have retained their Old World and genuinely eerie quality. Even so, Lee (who appears as Vlad himself and, of course, Dracula in both an ageing guise – the way he was actually depicted in the original – and, bafflingly, excerpts from the Hammer film SCARS OF Dracula [1971]) looks positively bored throughout, in spite of his typically authoritative voice! Besides, the segment on Dracula's cinematic incarnation – with obvious references to NOSFERATU (1922), Bela Lugosi and, naturally, Lee's own stint in the part – comes across as disappointingly schematic…


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