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A wealthy San Francisco socialite pursues a potential boyfriend to a small Northern California town that slowly takes a turn for the bizarre when birds of all kinds suddenly begin to attack people there in increasing numbers and with increasing viciousness.
When a ship is wrecked off Whitby, the only survivor, Count Dracula, is discovered lying on the beach by the sickly young Mina Van Helsing, who is visiting her dear friend Lucy Seward. Lucy, her fiancé Jonathan Harker (a solicitor), and her father Dr. Jack Seward (who runs the local asylum) try to make the Count feel welcome to England. The Count quickly takes the life of Mina, and proceeds to romance Lucy, with the intention of making her his greatest bride. Soon after the death of Mina, the Sewards call her father Dr. Abraham Van Helsing to come to their home. As Lucy falls deeper under the spell of the Count, Dr. Van Helsing almost immediately comes to understand that his daughter fell prey to a vampire and discovers the culprit to be none other than the Count himself. Dr. Van Helsing, Dr. Seward, and Harker work together to foil the Count's plans to take Lucy away to his native Transylvania. Written by
Hillary Glendinning (email@example.com)
When undead Lucy approaches Van Helsing in the mines under the graveyard, her reflection is seen in the water. 2 Scenes later, Count Dracula comes into Mina's home and walks by a mirror, Van Helsing points out that he did not see Dracula in the mirror. Therefore Lucy should not have cast a reflection in the water. See more »
Now, I'm going to forward a controversial comment. This is the BEST adaptation of Dracula yet seen and miles better than Coppola's version.
I liked this adaptation because it was a subtle take on the old legend, needing neither the overblown pretension of Coppola's rather lurid and purple-prosy presentation, nor the schlocky elements of the Hammer versions (as good as they are).
Frank Langella really was the definitive Count. He carried the role off with charm and calculation, making him far more rounded a character than Oldman did (but maybe not with the poignancy). What makes the difference though, is that Langella gets first-class back-up while (with the exception of Anthony Hopkins) Oldman was left on his own by the woodenly gruesome performances of the supporting cast (Wynona Ryder and especially Keanu Reeves were the chief culprits here). Kate Nelligan, Sir Larry and Donald Pleasance were in fine form and Trevor Eve made more of the Jonathan Harker character than Reeves ever could. Jan Francis made a believably frail Mina.
What really makes this film so good though is the superbly Gothic atmosphere. The set for the Count's castle was suitably creepy and the cinematography added to the feel of the period. Technically, Badham's version shows how much has now been lost by the reliance on CGI and digital add-ons.
That this Dracula takes it's cue from the stage adaptation rather than Stoker's original book adds a welcome element of variety. So what if it's not faithful? Does it matter? Very few films these days have this level of class and genuine skill injected into them. John Badham's version has been criminally underrated for years and slagged off by far too many ill-informed pedants. Judge for yourself. Maybe you will disagree about which adaptation is best but , pound to a penny, you won't regret watching it.
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