Greetings my Movie Ghouls!
We are fast approaching the 31st October. Halloween closes in. The clocks have changed and the nights are getting longer. The time is right for the vampyr, the Nosferatu to come out and suck your blood. But before we all get our necks bitten and join the undead armies, let’s talk Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
As I believe, this Frances Ford Coppola film is a very close adaptation of the book. I’ll admit, I haven’t read it, but I asked the internet and the internet said yes! It is funny then that probably every vampire story, be it TV, movie or Tween Book series take the basic premise of the Dracula story. A heartbroken immortal that realises time has a way of churning out people who look the same. The story is used in the recently watched Fright Night, not to full effect, but the threads are there. It is alluded to in the form of romantic vampires, such as Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Twilight, and Interview with the Vampire.
But this film, that stars Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins, is made in a way that references older movies. But it makes its own mark. It not only leans on the trope of the seductive vampire luring the virginal victim away. But it makes it extremely sexual. At the same time it shows Dracula as the monster, and humanises him to the extent that you want him to win Mina.
Mise en Scene
I really enjoyed the film. It has a feel of a stage play with obvious polystyrene blocks and elaborate sets. They close in to enhance the feeling of being trapped. Every shot is filled with information, is one of the best examples of perfect Mise en scene. The props, the costumes, the lighting and everything that bring the sets to life makes this film stand out. Everything in the castle is designed to make you feel trapped and closed off. The use of models and practical effects make this film have its own look, and yet it feels like a classic Hammer Horror film.
I’m not saying it is a perfect film, (and clearly those who don’t like it aren’t wrong) but it tells the story in a way that I don’t think has been done since. Some of the acting is a bit poor. Keanu Reeves’ Jonathan Harker is clearly from the Californian part of London, but what I like about it is at least he tries. Oldman stands out as Dracula, treading the fine line of overacting and perfection. He makes the character both monstrous and at the same time a sympathetic character.
It references those tropes that have gone before, Nosferatu’s moving shadow as well as the often parodied rising from the coffin. This I think adds to the charm of the film.
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