This version of Dracula is closely based on Bram Stoker's classic novel. Young barrister Jonathan Harker is assigned to a gloomy village in the mists of eastern Europe. He is captured and imprisoned by the undead vampire Dracula, who travels to London, inspired by a photograph of Harker's betrothed, Mina Murray. In Britain, Dracula begins a reign of seduction and terror, draining the life from Mina's closest friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy's friends gather together to try to drive Dracula away.Written by
The vampire woman tears open Jonathan's shirt but it's previously shown to be already unbuttoned. See more »
[Mina's breakup letter to Dracula]
My Dearest Prince, Forgive me. I have received word from my fiance in Romania. I am en route to join him. We are to be married. I will never see you again. Mina
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In 1995, a heavily censored version of the film was broadcast on FOX, garnering much criticism from fans and critics alike, not to mention Francis Ford Coppola himself. Some of the more obvious cuts involve:
the character of Renfield is removed entirely
the Brides are wearing rags instead of being topless
the scene when Dracula gives the brides the baby is gone
there are no close ups from Arabian Nights
Lucy's comments about sexuality during her introductory scene are removed
the kiss between Mina and Lucy in the maze is gone
all shots of the Demeter are gone
all shots of Dracula howling as the wolf creature are gone
the shot of Dracula 'raping' Lucy is gone, and in the close up, Lucy's breast is no longer exposed
indeed, Lucy's breasts are seen several times in the uncut film, but in all such cases here, the shot has been altered to remove them and make it look like her clothes aren't actually ripped
the destruction of Lucy's body by Van Helsing is gone
Van Helsing's exorcism of Carfax Abbey is shortened
Mina drinking from Dracula's heart is considerably shortened
when Mina slams the sword through Dracula's chest at the end, the shot of it coming out his back and sticking into the floor is gone.
Written and Performed by Diamanda Galás (as Diamanda Galàs)
Courtesy of Mute Records Limited
By Arrangement with Warner Special Products See more »
A rich telling near the source material
Opening with his vow to rise from his grave and take revenge on a God who allowed his beloved to die while he defended Him on the battlefield, we see Count Dracula in the 1890's, conducting business with a London firm. When his first consultant goes mad, Jonathon Harker is sent to Dracula in his place, only to find himself trapped in the castle. Meanwhile, Dracula travels to London where he feeds on the lovely Lucy Westenra. Her various suitors try to help her and call for Professor Van Helsing to come and help they realise that this is not a simple battle against a disease of the blood.
Although a little too long for my liking, this film is a very rich gothic telling of a story that has become watered down slightly with the many different versions of stories with the characters. Here the basic plot follows the tale from the creation of Dracula, his love and his confrontation with Van Helsing and the various suitors of the lovely Lucy. The story is told with a real respect for the source, perhaps a little too much as it can be a little to heavy and lacking in spark at times. However, for the most part the gothic telling works very well and feels very lavish and rich.
Visually the film is great rich colours in the scenery and costumes really bring the goth out of the film. Meanwhile Coppola works well with shadows and images in the backgrounds to make the film have the feel of an old silent movie version (eyes in the storm) but with modern standards. It's not really scary, but I didn't need it to be, I was more interested in the overall story, and that worked well.
The cast suffer from a bit too much respect for the material, some of their performances are a little too hammy and heavy. Oldman is good when compared to the better known image of the `Bela Lagosi' Dracula, but I did still find him a little too hammy at times. Likewise Rider is not totally convincing. Hopkins is quite fun to watch and the three suitors (including Ewles and Grant) very much play stiff upper lipped straight men! Of course of their performances tower with majesty above the sheer miscast ineptitude of Reeves. From the start his accent is horrid, but his inability to bring out emotions and character basically kills his character off before the film has even got going.
Despite this the film is actually very enjoyable even if it is a bit too respectful and long occasionally making it feel a little heavy going. The rich presentation and loyalty to the source material makes for a very enjoyable story even if it isn't really what we'd see now as a horror.
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