I don’t know if I can call Bram Stoker’s Dracula my absolute favorite vampire movie, but it’s up there for sure, and certainly my favorite Dracula movie. I remember seeing this when it first came out in 1992. I was twelve. My parents rented this from Video Tonight (a seedy mom & pop video store before Blockbuster came to town–the kind that had a roped-off porn section) and boy were they in for a shock. I can’t be sure if it was the Keanu Reeves/vampire orgy scene or the WOLF RAPE that set them off, but in a rare display of good parenting, I was suddenly sent to bed early without being allowed to finish watching the movie.
I didn’t care, though. At that age, other than the scary parts with Gary Oldman, I thought this movie was a terrible bore. I didn’t even bother sneaking around to watch it without permission. It wouldn’t be until years later, after I re-watched this movie as an adult, that I fell in love with it and learned to appreciate all the things that make it so good.
For one thing it’s directed by Francis Ford Coppola (The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, The Outsiders…do I really need to go on?) and it’s full of phenomenal performances by some of my favorite actors: Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins, and Winona Ryder. Oh, right, Keanu “Duuuuuude” Reeves is in it too. He’s tolerable here, though. It’s also got Richard Grant, Cary Elwes (!), and best of all–Tom Waits.
I also love the visual style of this movie. It is beautifully colored and richly detailed, like watching a living painting. I love this quote I found on Wikipedia which gives us a glimpse into the frame of mind Coppola was in while making this film:
Coppola asked the set costume designers to simply bring him designs which were “weird”. “‘Weird’ became a code word for ‘Let’s not do formula,'” he later recalled. “‘Give me something that either comes from the research or that comes from your own nightmares.’ I gave them paintings, and I gave them drawings, and I talked to them about how I thought the imagery could work.”
It certainly did work.
They say you are a man of good taste.
What is 31 DVDs of Halloween?
As a special feature for the Halloween Countdown, I’m showcasing 31 Halloween DVDs from my personal collection. I have a lot of Halloween-related and horror DVDs in general, but for this year’s countdown I’m only going to focus on my absolute favorites–the ones I consider 100% essential for my enjoyment of the holiday.