It is the year 1462. Constantinople has fallen. Prince Dracula [Gary Oldman] must leave his bride Elizabeta [Winona Ryder] to do battle against the invading Turks. A message arrives at the castle falsely announcing that Dracula has been killed in battle. Elizabeta flings herself into the river below. Because she committed suicide, the Bishop [Anthony Hopkins] proclaims her soul damned. Furious that God let his wife die while Dracula was defending His church, Dracula renounces God and the Church. He draws his sword and stabs the large cross on the dais of his chapel and it begins to bleed. Dracula drinks the blood flowing from the cross, proclaiming he will be reborn after his death.
March 1897, England. Law clerk Jonathan Harker [Keanu Reeves] must travel to
Transylvania to close the sale of 10 London properties being purchased by
Count Dracula. Upon his return, Jonathan and fiancee Mina Murray [Winona Ryder] intend to
be married. In Jonathan's absence, Mina goes to stay with her rich friend
Lucy Westenra [Sadie Frost], who has just recently received three marriage proposals --
from Texan Quincey Morris [Bill Campbell], Dr Jack Seward [Richard E Grant], and Lord Arthur Holmwood [Cary Elwes] -- and she has decided to marry Arthur.
Meanwhile, Jonathan has arrived at Castle Dracula following a strange
carriage ride past blue flames and wolves. Even stranger is the Count
himself. He never eats, sleeps all day, lives alone in a large castle in
which most of the doors are locked, and crawls down the castle walls like
a reptile. Jonathan has begun to have strange dreams about three women who
try to seduce him. To Jonathan's further unease, the Count seems to be
fascinated with a picture of Mina and has forced Jonathan to write letters
saying that he will be staying with the Count for another month.
Meanwhile, the Count is preparing for his trip to England by having his mindless servants fill large
crates with dirt.
July, 1897. Jonathan has been gone for over three months, and Mina is
sick with worry, while Lucy is involved with planning for her wedding. But
Lucy is not without worries either. A particularly violent summer storm
has recently washed a ship of dead sailors upon the beach, and shortly
thereafter Lucy has begun her old habit of sleepwalking. Each time she
sleepwalks, she returns bewildered and pale. Dr Seward, who has his hands
full treating the fly-eating lunatic R M Renfield [Tom Waits] , has taken on Lucy as
his patient. She shows all the signs of anemia, but Dr Seward can find no
cause for it. Consequently, he has decided to send for a metaphysician,
philosopher, and specialist in rare blood disorders, his old mentor
Professor Abraham Van Helsing [Anthony Hopkins]. Upon his arrival, Van Helsing immediately
begins a blood transfusion on Lucy and places garlic near her bed.
Meanwhile, Mina has begun occupying herself with a man she met near
the cinematograph. He introduced himself as Prince Vlad of Szekely, and
Mina is strangely drawn to him, as though she knows him. When she finally
receives news that Jonathan has suffered a violent brain fever and is
being cared for by the sisters of the Blessed Sacrament, who bid her to
come to Romania and be married to Jonathan, she realizes that she can no
longer see her prince again. Mina says goodbye to Lucy, writes a note to
Dracula, and sets sail for Romania. Dracula, heartbroken at losing Mina to
Jonathan, takes Lucy as his bride instead.
Lucy is dead, although Van Helsing knows that the correct term is
'undead,' for he can see the fangs in her mouth and knows that she is
nosferatu. He explains to Arthur, Jack, and Quincey that, to give Lucy's
soul peace, they must cut off her head and take out her heart. They are
horrified and think that Van Helsing is just a sick old coot, until they
spend a night in Lucy's tomb and find her returning with a child in her
arms. When the deed is done, they band together to seek out the vampyre
and destroy it.
Mina and Jonathan have returned to London, only to hear that Lucy has
died. One night, they have dinner with Van Helsing, and Jonathan realizes
that he knows Count Dracula and that he sleeps in Carfax Abbey. After
securing Mina at Dr Seward's sanitarium, the five of them -- Van Helsing,
Jonathan, Quincey, Jack, and Arthur -- pay a visit to the abbey in order to
sterilize Dracula's earthboxes. Meanwhile Dracula is paying a visit to
Mina. When she learns that her prince is actually the vampyre who killed
Lucy, she becomes extremely upset, but not enough to resist wanting to be
with him, to live how he lives. Dracula drinks from Mina, then opens a
vein in his chest and bids her drink. However, he stops short after she
has taken but a bit. 'I love you too much to condemn you,' he explains.
Suddenly, Van Helsing et al burst in the room. They attempt to destroy
Dracula, but he changes into hundreds of rats and scurries away.
Dracula knows that he cannot stay in England any longer and books
passage back to Transylvania via Varna. Mina and the men follow close
behind. As Dracula is in mind contact with Mina, Van Helsing knows
Dracula's plans but Dracula also seems to know theirs. Instead of sailing
into Varna, Dracula diverts the ship 200 miles north and lands at Galatz,
causing a change in plans such that Van Helsing and Mina take a carriage
directly from Varna to the Borgo Pass while Jonathan, Quincey, Arthur, and
Jack continue by train to Galanz where they secure horses and ride for the
Borgo Pass, hoping to cut off Dracula. They are unsuccessful. Dracula's
gypsies picked up his earthbox at Galanz and are now speeding down the
Borgo Pass road. It's going to be a close race.
Mina and Van Helsing are almost to the castle but decide to stop for
the night. Van Helsing casts a circle around Mina and protects her by
burning her forehead with a blessed communion wafer. In the circle they
stay through the night while Dracula's three brides tempt Mina to join
them. The next morning, as Mina sleeps in the circle, Van Helsing visits
the castle and beheads the vampiresses, throwing them all into the gorge.
It is near sundown. The gypsy wagon bearing Dracula in his earthbox
approaches the castle. Jonathan, Arthur, Quincey, and Jack are riding hard
to catch up. Mina and Van Helsing wait inside the castle courtyard. Mina
calls up a blue flame to protect Dracula. As the gypsy wagon enters the
courtyard, a gypsy stabs Quincey in the back. Jonathan attempts to open
Dracula's earthbox, but the sun has set and Dracula rises. At that very
moment, however, Jonathan slits Dracula's neck and Quincey stabs Dracula
through the heart with a sword. Mina screams. As Arthur races forward to
finish Dracula, Harker stops him. 'Let them go,' he says. 'Our work is
finished here; hers is just begun.'
As Quincey dies, Mina sits with Dracula on the chapel floor inside
the castle. She kisses him, and he begs her to give him peace. Then, out
of love, she pushes the sword the rest of the way through Dracula's heart.
The burn on her forehead disappears, Dracula dies, and Mina releases him
by cutting off his head. [Original Synopsis by bj_kuehl]