Monday, October 15, 2012

There is no life in this body.

I remember this time in the 90's, when I was traveling through Europe on business. I was using a dodgy British accent, trying to blend in, but even I'll admit it fooled no one. One particular rainy night, when I was almost asleep, three women silently entered my room. I was startled, but it seemed as if they appeared out of nowhere. Let's just say, that's when shit got real. And just as things were really heating up, the old man of the house barged in the room and ruined everything.

Oh, wait. That wasn't me. That was f--king Keanu Reeves.

My wife was fairly alert on Friday night when we sat down to watch something. I told her that I wanted to watch a horror flick to keep the theme going, she wanted to watch anything but. I thought by putting on Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, I was somehow meeting her in the middle. Turns out, not so much.

Dracula is arguably the most well-known film adaptation of author Bram Stoker's 18th-century novel. Vampires had been around for a few decades when Dracula was published, but this novel was the genesis of the Dracula character as we know him today. I'm not the biggest fan of Drac (or vampires in general), but I certainly respect the creation of such a legendary character.

What I didn't appreciate, however, was this film. Released in 1992, Dracula seemed years older than that and felt incredibly dated (and that's odd, considering it's a period movie...tee hee). It was beautiful at times, and featured an epic performance from the frighteningly intense Gary Oldman, but by the end I was hoping someone would drive a stake through my heart. Or at least, that a giant wolf creature would have its way with me. One of those.

The century-spanning story begins with a young Drac kicking ass in battle. Those lying Turk bastards sent word that Drac had been killed during the bloodshed, thereby sending his wife Elisabeta plunging to her death. Drac arrives home for some post-battle booty, only to find his beautiful lady all dead and stuff. Drac's pissed, and swears he will avenge her from beyond the grave. Cut to four hundred years later, 1897, and Drac's buying up property in London. The lawyer overseeing the deal, Mr. Renfield, has gone mad and consequently needs to be replaced. Send young up-and-comer Johnny Utah, er, Jonathan Harker, to Drac's house to close the deal. Harker has to leave behind his own lovely lady, Mina (played by the miscast, yet oh-so-lovely, Winona Ryder) to travel to Transylvania. While Harker gets trapped by the Count's sexy wives, Drac heads to London in search of the reincarnated version of his long-dead wife. Would it surprise you that this happens to be Mina? Of course it wouldn't. You saw Blacula [review]. You know how this goes.

Anyway, things happen, boobs are revealed, Anthony Hopkins shows up, undead bitches are beheaded and then it all ends rather abruptly. This movie made a killing at the box office, so clearly many people enjoyed it, but don't count me as one of them. I simply wasn't in the mood for it, but it also seemed very silly too. Honestly, my favorite vampire movie ever is Blade II, so let that guide how much you trust any of what I'm saying.

But you know who you can trust? The Yays. Not so sure about the Boos

This is what I wear to all job interviews. Why they don't call is beyond me.
  • The costumes are incredible. I was a big fan of most of Dracula's looks. And the ladies, too. Obviously.
  • The best closing to a letter ever? Your friend, D.
  • Federal Law mandates that you love Anthony Hopkins, no matter the role. Even if he's a ridiculously deadpan Professor Van Helsing. And even if he says ja, entirely too many times.
  • This is the second movie in a row where a hot chick gets it on with a wolf. Seriously. This has got to earn me some obscure/made up blogger award, right? I'll wait by my mailbox, just in case.
  • Oh, you want to show me a crucifix, do you? How about I just vomit blood all over your face, then?
  • This quote: No, no. Not exactly. I just want to cut off her head and take her heart. If I had a nickel for every time I've heard that one...
  • The mostly-bat version of Dracula is awesome. I'm not being a sarcastic prick, either. It's really cool.
  • And finally, I really enjoyed how turning into a vampire makes you want to grab and expose your breasts.  I think most vampire-hunters would chill the f--k out if they knew of this side effect.

Only Winona could fall hundreds of feet to her death and still look fine.
  • Remember that business trip where your client shaved you? And then further complicated matters by licking the razor? Not cool.
  • Dracula is a pretty awesome host, clearly. Except when he interrupts your chicken dinner with story time and a bizarre sword demo.
  • Why is that I only realized that Monica Belluci was in this via IMDB? Clearly, she should have been featured more. Especially when she plays a nymphomaniac bloodsucker. Read it again, it still says blood. 
  • Renfield ends up looking and sounding exactly like Gollum. Master! Maaaaasterrrrrr!
  • And finally, Keanu's British accent is incredibly awful. Whoa, your Majesty.
After this movie, I was feeling really unsure as to what to do with myself. This strange black man wearing these logistically impossible glasses, asked me to take one of two pills, promising that it would all go away if I wanted it to.

No, I'm not joking. I woke up in an alley two days later.


  1. As I sit here with my little one, I remember when I, too, first saw this flick. I had read the book, loved it, and wanted a vampire flick to actually scare me. This didn't. My favorite line, though, was the head/heart one. Overall, I found this to be a lot of potential that found itself wasted. The cast could have been top notch, but the miscasting overwhelmed the brilliant performances. Neo's California British accent was a disaster, which pretty much sums up the ending.

    Blade II is also my favorite Vampire flick. Directed by the same guy who directed my favorite ghost flick (Devil's Backbone).

    1. Completely agree with everything you've said here, good sir. The casting seemed to err on the side of who's popular right now? vs. who would actually work in the role? Oh well, I think I paid five bucks and got a free ticket to something...

      As for the image of you and your newborn son, in my mind you're reading this aloud to him as your wife shakes her head disapprovingly. Probably not, huh?

      I'm in for Devil's Backbone, then. del Toro rules.

  2. Boobs revealed, Winona, and Monica Belluci... this review almost made me run to check the movie out. But honestly it does sound rather boring. I'll still probably check it out one day, just that its not on top of the list.

    1. As far as I remember, the boobs belonged to neither of the fine ladies you mentioned, sorry to crush your dreams there.

      Don't rush to check this one fact, you might just want to pass on it altogether.

  3. Great review, so much fun to read though I must admit I liked the film. I think the "dated" quality to it was intended, though I can't imagine why Coppola hired Reeves, he was just awful here and he didn't look the part at all. LOVE the score from this one and Sadie's Frost performance.

    If you're looking for good vampire movie I highly recommend Thirst, it's fantastic.

    1. I watch The Outsiders four times a year and Coppola definitely likes to make his movies seem older than they are, this is true.

      Reeves seemed over his head from the outset, and I like the guy. I do.

      Sadie Frost? Oh, put me in the camp of people who enjoyed her performance, too. Big time.

      Will check out Thirst - thanks for the heads up.