halfdutch (halfdutch) wrote,
halfdutch
halfdutch

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Dracula

Watching the 1970s "Dracula" starring Frank Langella and I've seen it before, but I never noticed these blatant continuity errors before. You know how vampires can't be reflected in mirrors? Well, they've established that here in a scene where Van Helsing finally confronts Dracula because he knows what he is, after he enters a room and can't be seen in the mirror. Dracula throws a lamp and breaks the mirror -- and then seconds later, we see it intact again because now Dr. Van Helsing is reflected in it.

And then to prove that Mina (in this film, they switch Mina and Lucy's names - why I have no idea), is a vampire now, Van Helsing holds a mirror over her face. Not to show if there's breath there, as they used to do, but to show that she has no reflection. And she hasn't. But earlier, when he went to prove she'd risen from the dead, he's alerted to her presence when he sees her reflected in a puddle. OY!

As for my favorite Dracula film, I kind of have issues with all of them. In the original, Bela is just so cheesy. (He's more menacing in White Zombie for example), but their Renfield is awesomely creepy. Then the '60s Hammer ones starring Christopher Lee are big on boobs and lurid color and not so much on the scares or atmosphere. The Coppola Dracula has its moments, but as a movie it's a mess. Plus, you cast Gary Oldman and he spends 80% of his sceentime as Dracula as an old, desiccated version of himself, or a wolf or a bat-man? Urgh. And of course, the horror that is Keanu and Winona trying to act with British accents. And as much as I love Tom Waits, I'm not fond of his Renfield. But the score for that film is one of my all-time fames and I really wish I had it!

One of my favorite aspects of the story of Dracula is the terror of the crew of the ship on which he crosses to America, as he picks them off one by one. FInally, the ship arrives with the entire crew dead and the captain having tied himself to the wheel. Awesome image. Hats off, Bram Stoker! The Langella version does a nice job with that, as I recall. (Missed that part of it today.)

If you want a good laugh, I suggest Love at First Bite starring George Hamilton as Dracula, who comes to NYC looking for love. Arte "Laugh In" Johnson is his Renfield and well, it may be incredibly silly but I've always found it really funny.

And for the trippiest vampire story ever, check out Lair of the White Worm by Ken Russell, based on an obscure book by Bram Stoker which I'd LOVE to read. It concerns an ancient pagan cult and lots of snakes and about a million phallic jokes and of course, that wry British humor firmly tongue in cheek throughout. And it's got Hugh Grant, in the one film he *never* talks about, I think he's that embarrassed about it.
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