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The Dracula Movies #11: ‘Dracula’ (Bill Eagles, 2006)

27 Jul

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The 2006 BBC production of Dracula is the latest version that’s loosely based on Stoker’s novel that I’ve seen, and brings our journey on this series to an end for now. The 2002 Italian mini-series and Canadian silent film homage (also 2002) I may return to at some point, but as a self contained adaptation of the novel, I’ve settled on the BBC presentation as my final stop on the Stoker film trail. There is a more recent 3D version of the story, but again, one I shall perhaps view and return to on here in the future.
I first saw the 2006 BBC version during the Christmas season it was first screened, and I wasn’t over thrilled to give it another viewing because although I’d originally found it reasonably entertaining, it had not made a huge impact on me at the time. But my interest in the whole Dracula/Vampire/Classic Horror genre has been building into something of a personal renaissance in recent years so I’ve been quite keen to give it a proper re-evaluation. So it still came as something as a surprise to me that I got a bit bored halfway through watching this version, and if anything it had even less impact on me than it did nearly seven years ago. Continue reading

Once more into the blood, dear fiends.

14 Jun

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I thought I was finished with vampires. Not in a real life sense, obviously (they don’t really exist to the best of my knowledge, unless we’re talking of the psychic draining variety we might occasionally encounter in our lives). Anyhow, what I mean to say is that I completed my final dissertation for my Master of Arts in Contemporary Literature and Film, with a view to it making some positive career impact (watch this pace; jobs are being applied for, but nothing worthwhile comes easy). My initially anti-climatic feeling after it was handed in has given way to a feeling of…yeah, I’d say pride, but I’m not going to overstate that. The work is never really done is it. I spotted a spelling mistake on the finished bound draft, so I won’t be getting smug. Continue reading

The Dracula Movies #10: ‘Bram Stoker’s Dracula’ (Francis Ford Copolla, 1992)

10 Feb

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Francis Ford Copolla, 1992)

For those that don’t know, I’m currently nearing the end of my Masters in Film and Literature, and my final thesis is concerned with the sanitization (‘defanging’ if you will) of the vampire in modern media; how and why the vampire has become a romantic icon rather than a symbol of the uncanny; what Freud described as unhiemlich. One of my core ‘texts’ for the project is Francis Ford Copolla’s 1992 film version of Dracula, which I’m presenting here as the latest of the on-going Dracula film reviews. However, as I’m so immersed in critically embracing it, it’s actually quite difficult to offer as generalised a review as I might have done with the others. With that in mind, I’ll probably have even more to say about this film at some point in the near future. In the meantime, however, I’ve already decided that its one of my favourite versions.

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New year, new ideas!

9 Jan

Gosh, it’s 2013 already, and what’s occurring in the experience of Serendipity 3864?

Well, a few bits of interesting news and thoughts here, which I shall communicate in a brief numerical fashion! Continue reading

The Dracula Movies #9: ‘Dracula’ (John Badham, 1979)

6 Aug

From the moment the titles started to show, I could tell this was going to be quite a classy production. It also takes a few liberties with the book, which I’m not entirely satisfied with, but I grudgingly admit work quite well. It all depends on whether you prefer your version of Dracula to be more of a romantic anti-hero. Frank Langella’s take on the role is very much in this mould, and the fact that he’s a very dashing embodiment of the Count helps enormously.

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The film is quite well directed, with some great sets and creative, metaphorical touches (I love the view from the spider web at Carfax abbey, when Lucy visits. The moment that the Count has entered the room below, the spider in the web arrives at and obscures Lucy many feet beneath). There isn’t much in the way of genuine scares though, or bloody horror. This is a more sensual, even sexy version of the novel.

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The Dracula Movies #7: ‘Count Dracula’ (1977)

19 Jan

Count Dracula (Phillip Saville, 1977)

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So, onwards with our journey through the cinematic world of Bram Stoker’s Vampire Count, with a look at the BBC’s first adaptation, from 1977.  Sadly, I have to start on a negative. The one thing that lets down the BBC’s sterling archive of literary output more than anything else, in my opinion, is the medium of professional videotape. To a modern audience it makes the otherwise sublime look unfortunately cheap.
That problem was one I could see here, alongside some unfortunately dated video effects. Overall, however, this TV version stands strong against the more lavish or classic product.
Louis Jordan is a surprising choice to play the Count, but proves quite effective, using charm and manners as an effective and manipulative veneer. Also in the cast are a pre- Clash of the Titans Judi Bowker, and a pre-Emmerdale Susan Penhaligon, both of whom turn in very watchable performances. Frank Finlay is also more than fine as Van Helsing, but elsewhere the performances are not as strong. Richard Barnes’ turn as Quincy is often unintentionally corny, with a rather amusing American accent. Barnes’ role is actually a combination of the characters of Quincy and Arthur Holmwood ). Continue reading

The Dracula Movies #6: “Dracula” (Dan Curtis, 1973)

9 Oct

Jack Palance. A very scary Dracula indeed.

Dan Curtis’ version of Dracula is in many ways relatively faithful to the novel (although some elements are changed or omitted altogether, such as the character of Renfield), but it adds a romantic element not present in the Stoker original, which would be touched upon again in the 1992 film version.
The change in the emphasis was done to give Dracula an apparently more plausible reason for coming to England, as he wants to find the reincarnation of his lost love, although to be fair I always thought fresh blood and good old fashioned vampiric invasion were good enough reasons on their own. Continue reading