Movie Name: Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Studio: American Zoetrope
Release Date(s): November 13, 1992
MPAA Rating: R
Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) has been sent to Transylvania to broker a deal with Count Dracula (Gary Oldman). Trapped by Dracula, Harker finds himself battling Dracula’s succubus women. Dracula travels to England where he becomes infatuated with Harker’s love Mina (Winona Ryder) who resembles his wife Elisabeta who was taken before Vlad III the Impaler was cursed. When Dracula’s true nature exposed, a doctor named Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins), Quincey P. Morris (Billy Campbell), and Harker must stop Dracula forever to save .
Frances Ford Coppola directed Bram Stoker’s Dracula (sometimes just called Dracula) and received positive reviews for his relatively faithful adaptation of the story and stylistic presentation. It was awarded Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Makeup (also nominated for Best Art Direction).
Dracula is a tough story to adapt, but Coppola does a great job making it horrific enough to entertain fans of horror but still captures the romance and grandeur of the gothic novel. Stoker wrote Dracula as an epistolary novel, and Coppola does a great job tying the writing into his presentation.
Dracula is aided by a great cast. Oldman is amazing as the hypnotic young Dracula and very creepy in the bun-haired old Dracula. This was during the peak of Winona’s popularity and she is good as the enthralled Mina. She actually gave the script to Coppola as a means to mend the differences between them after backing out of The Godfather III. Sadie Frost is fun as the seduced then seductive Lucy Westenra. I’m not a Keanu fan, and he still doesn’t work in this, but he also isn’t much of a distraction. Hopkins was still hot off of his Silence of the Lambs appearance and gets to play his character overblown. I always love a crazed R. M. Renfield and here it is played by the fun Tom Waits (originally Steve Buscemi was wanted).
Bram Stoker’s Dracula however isn’t really about the actors, but about the lush scenery that Coppola presents through the cinematography. The movie has a lot of oversaturated scenes like a Dario Argento film and tons of clever shots with very simple classic styles of special effects (at Coppola’s request).
See Bram Stoker’s Dracula after you’ve seen the classic Bela Lugosi film. It is fun to compare and contrast how both films were made and how they adapt the story. This is one of the better adaptation of the story…with lots of creepy creatures, but maintaining the fact that it is a romance also. Coppola’s film is lush and rich and though it is a bit long, well worth the investment for fans of classic horror.