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Overall Rating
3.75

Awesome40%
Worth A Look: 27.83%
Average: 9.57%
Pretty Bad: 12.17%
Total Crap: 10.43%

4 reviews, 91 user ratings


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Dracula (1992)
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by John Linton Roberson

"Who Are You, & What Have You Done With Francis Ford Coppola?"
2 stars

It seems my lot in this forum to recommend bad films on their laughability factor. And to review more than a few horror films. Let's combine them. It's fascinating seeing a movie that could have been so potentially good wreck like two freight trains head-on.

Without any goth tendencies whatsoever, I can assure you(I'm wearing black right now, but that's because it's cold), Dracula and I go way back. I read and loved the book at an appallingly early age in the wake of seeing 'SALEM'S LOT, and soon after saw the best version of Drac(and the most accurate to the book; as I recall everything was there but the expistiolary style) on PBS, a BBC miniseries starring Louis Jourdan(who was surprisingly fucking great) as the Count. [I would kill to find this on tape today, by the way, hint hint.]

I love the story, its images, even its bizarre multiple metaphors for repressed Victorian sexuality. I usually try to see new versions when they come out, just to see if someone got it right--as film it produces striking images and drama indeed when they do. And they do rarely.

Why the adaptors feel the need to put all these unneccessary prostheses on limbs not needing amputation I don't know. It's a perfectly good, and still scary, story when you TRY to tell it. Few do. The worst versions I've seen would include both the laughably arch Bela Lugosi version(sorry--it hasn't aged at all well; Dwight Frye is the only cool thing about it) and the oddly well-lit version with Frank Langella, which was just boring and stupid. It's silly, I know, but I really wanted to see a GOOD version for once, lacking a tape of the BBC version. The best modern version I've seen is Werner Herzog's remake of NOSFERATU(which I find substantially better than the original, and wittier), but that's just an interpretation, not an adaptation, and it's more contemplative, beautiful, and deeply sad than frightening.

So I settled on this thing, believing the hype that it was faithful(as though they got Stoker's permission to put the name in the title), and blindly trusting in the long-past-its-sell-by-date reputation of Coppola. I forgot that the Coppola I loved died in the Phillipines around 1980. And there in the very first scene is nothing Stoker ever wrote, nor that happened in history, which they seem to be trying to add to the story. And clumsily, with a big polo mallet.

Let me say that by far the stupidest element of this version--which I'll just say didn't scare me one bit and be done with that--is the hammering of a love story, and a reincarnation story at that, into the plot, which twists it entirely out of shape. I'll ruin it for you. Mina(at least in this version they almost get the names right) is the reincarnation of Dracula's wife, who committed suicide when she thought he'd been killed in combat. The Church denies her last rites. He declares war on God. (A cross bleeds when he hits it. Yes, it looks as stupid as it sounds) Presumably, he becomes a vampire because of that; we don't really find out. There are some eastern European folk traditions that hold that those who don't receive last rites, or who curse God, become vampires after death. But that would mean his wife would become one too, yes? Oh, never mind that, says James Hart, too tired to read that far in the boring ol' reference book. Onward!

The acting: oh Lord. Probably some of the worst and most misused casting ever in the history of carbon-based life.

Anthony Hopkins can't help but give a good performance; it's as pointless to review him as it is to review Michael Caine.

Let's move on to the two absolute worst: Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder. Who told them they could do British accents? My god, I've heard high school Drama 1 students that sounded more believable. Keanu especially, reprising his attitude-as-freak-show shtick from PRIVATE IDAHO and MUCH ADO ABOUT NOTHING(what the hell was he doing there?), sounding like the kind of snotty prick whose teeth all good people want to kick out whenever he opens his petulant, pouty mouth. You enjoy watching Dracula victimize him--you CHEER it! Winona looks disturbingly 13, which was the age of consent back then, though...

Stupid "What The Hell" Moments: Let's see..Dracula walks around in daylight just so Coppola can include a pointless moment when someone catches him on motion picture film, an invention around the time(half Coppola's time is given over to fetishizing the retro stuff)--but color film. That's so wrong and stupid in so many ways I can't begin to describe it. If you're going to break all these conventions of the genre, what the hell are you thinking doing it by adapting the very work that CREATED those conventions? Just make up your own damn story, but don't hype it as the first faithful version of DRACULA!

I also find the romanticizing of Vlad the Impaler, whom Dracula overtly is in this version, repulsive; this was the Hitler of his time. This was the man who inspired the bloody tradition and style of repression all too common to Rumania even in recent years. To make him this sympathetic a figure--which it tries too; the hunters of Dracula come off as a bunch of sexless prigs. Dracula is the misunderstood antihero! What is the fucking point of seeing or reading more than one book EVER on the vampire's point of view? Why this need to redress the cruel stereotyping of vampires and reveal their true feelings?

Listen: VAMPIRES DO NOT FUCKING EXIST AND NEVER DID. They have NO point of view to understand. Better you should try to redress real stereotypes. Vampires are only good for some mode of horror, sorry. Now, horror has many variations, but the Anne Rice model is one of the most tiresome, idiotic, and, well, geeky in the history of the universe. It's her fault the collective clothing of all those on Belmont Avenue in Chicago suck in all light that comes near.

Gary Oldman does his best covered by horrible costume, wig, and makeup design that looks like something Ken Russell would have thought too tacky to use. And I must admit Richard E.Grant, who is always good, period, and Tom Waits,particularly seeming to enjoy his part(the juiciest: Renfield), are enormous fun to watch. Indeed, the reason they are is another problem with this film--its inability to settle on anything like a style; it looks like Victorian MTV. Waits and Grant have a couple of scenes of very high melodrama that, just because of the fun they seem to have and their energy, is truly delicious to watch. Then the film turns comical, then stupid special effects come along...you keep seeing so many places where all you can say is, "WHY?" Something so easy to get right, and Coppola gets it wrong, wrong, and wrong again.

See this if you like looking at train wrecks. Coppola: It's over. I don't know what you're a parody of, but it's not even yourself anymore. Stick to the pasta sauce. It's tasty.

link directly to this review at http://www.efilmcritic.com/review.php?movie=854&reviewer=151
originally posted: 09/11/99 21:21:36
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User Comments

9/13/17 morris campbell visionary but very overrated 1 stars
5/22/17 David Hollingsworth Forget about Keanu, and you have a sublime masterwork. 5 stars
9/15/13 Lestat Greatest vampire movie ever; Gary Oldman is perfect as my Lord and Master, Count Dracula 5 stars
11/20/11 Andi Movie sucks ass, its terrible and has aged awfully. Best parts are the smut scnes. 1 stars
6/06/11 art GOOD GRIEF,everyone is so HAMMY in this HORROR flick! 1 stars
6/27/10 stevie68a One of my all time favorite movies. 5 stars
2/26/10 art best drac was DAVID NIVEN in OLD DRACULA! 1 stars
2/14/10 brian Suitably overwrought and Gothic, gorgeous and inspiring at times, but Keanu is truly awful. 3 stars
1/19/09 Fruitcake angel Visually gorgeous and fun. Mina and Lucy look wonderful in those lovely dresses... 5 stars
10/22/08 Shaun Wallner Scary Film! 5 stars
4/14/08 Alex The Best 5 stars
3/02/08 Pamela White unless you read the book first you're lost, shallow 2 stars
12/20/07 Mary Don't care about makeup, effects etc. Script sucks=movie sucks. I miss Lugosi. 1 stars
11/16/07 mahmoud good movie 5 stars
9/26/07 David Cohen Loud and graphic, a dose of subtlty could have made it great 3 stars
9/10/07 Jubei There are only two seminal vampire movies: Nosferatu and this Dracula.Respects to Lugosi. 5 stars
7/30/07 me they wernt real bats they were pretending 1 stars
6/22/07 Dan I wish I could give it 4 1/2 stars. Reeves was the lone drawback to an otherwise great film 4 stars
4/16/07 Dark Enchantress one of the best! 5 stars
3/08/07 dbx Frankly awesome. But if you have no stomachfor gothic romance/fantasy - avoid. 5 stars
2/17/07 Vip Ebriega One of the best'Draculas' out there. 4 stars
12/26/06 Darth Vader gr8 movie. did u guys notice that monica belluci plays in it? YES,she's naked in it 4 stars
9/22/06 Booksworm What, are you poeple high?Do you seriously expect me to believe that you have read the book 5 stars
3/30/06 SushiLover Stylish, Sexy, Great Performances 5 stars
3/24/06 UndeadCaleb All who hate this movie can get bent 5 stars
3/24/06 Dethbyhashi Greatest adaptation to the Novel 5 stars
3/24/06 BlackCat scary and sexy 5 stars
2/24/06 TB Need to get rid of romance and a great Dracula film 5 stars
12/28/05 Matt Terrible script, D-grade acting, flaws galore, pretty good makeup job 1 stars
12/20/05 Indrid Cold Seems wrong to give it less than a 4, but the plot is bad to the point of being silly. 4 stars
9/13/05 Total Crap The most gothic movie out there. Love the cover. 5 stars
8/13/05 ES I liked the suit of armour he wears for five seconds in the beginning= everything else bad 1 stars
8/06/05 Pierre Still haven't gotten the bad taste out of my mouth. Good director, bad movie. 1 stars
5/12/05 norma this flm was well directed, the stars were well chosen and it deserves all the credit it g 5 stars
4/22/05 J K Rowling best dracula movie, not too bright though 4 stars
2/25/05 dbx one of my favorite movies; deliciously excessive, gary oldman is hot. 5 stars
2/15/05 J. Elaine Greenup solid 4 stars
1/29/05 Mmmm...Blood Oldman is Dracula 5 stars
1/29/05 Who is... Invasio? The Irresistable Force! Dracula is the real Irresistable force. Invasio barely compares 5 stars
1/29/05 Dracula This the best adaptation of my undead life! Blah! 5 stars
1/29/05 Cave Dweller Amazing movie 5 stars
1/29/05 Calebx Awesome Dracula movie 5 stars
1/29/05 DethbyHashi The greatest vampire film ever 5 stars
1/23/05 revenge of the poo-nuggets MAAAAAAGOOOBAHHHHHHHH 5 stars
12/15/04 Tom Benton Could have been better, much too erotic - but very well-done nonetheless. Oldman is great. 4 stars
11/18/04 chris some great bits in it 4 stars
11/09/04 Clare Scally The greatest film ever made! Gary Oldman looks gorgeous! 5 stars
8/26/04 American Slasher Goddess Very dull with uninvolving characters and storyline. 1 stars
6/25/04 Karen Stockdale Terrifically filmed if a little overacted at times. Oldman is wonderful!!! 4 stars
5/08/04 Pagan Excellent film John Robertson has no idea whats hes on about, fucking fool 5 stars
2/09/04 danielle it's my favorite movie 5 stars
11/28/03 john lots of camera tricks can't hide terrible casting and bad script 2 stars
11/25/03 Thiago This one will never be forgotten. A classic. 4 stars
10/25/03 Danny I think it is one of the best vamp movies so far 4 stars
7/04/03 Dave Hopman Not scary, but still a very good movie, although it's not very faithful to the book. 4 stars
4/05/03 Jack Sommersby Unscary and uninvolving. More concerned with f/x than story and character. 1 stars
11/22/02 brianna bah! its ok, but not a patch on the novel... 3 stars
11/20/02 Uncle Salty Two words: Overdone. (I know it's only one but, just say it twice.) 2 stars
9/30/02 Charles Tatum Overacted costume drama, Dracula without scares?? 3 stars
8/04/02 Edler False advertizing. This don't follow the book at all! It sucks wang! 1 stars
5/11/02 Butterbean I love Oldman, Coppola,and vampire flicks but I was very disappointed here. 2 stars
2/06/02 Nevz this film is pretty shallow, could of done better. 2 stars
1/06/02 Rhonda Fricker one of the best movies I have seen..Gary Oldman is amazing 5 stars
1/05/02 kevin very good nice compliment to john 5 stars
12/10/01 john linton roberson Awful postmodern failure.More dated than any version;painful to watch. 2 stars
10/17/01 Evil Kittie THis movie kicked ass!!1 5 stars
10/14/01 E-Funk One of Coppola's best. Visually stunning and horrifically entertaining. 5 stars
8/19/01 Andrew Carden Very Crazy Remake Of Dracula. Like A Roller Coaster Ride. 4 stars
7/27/01 Miguel Nuno Montes For me, one of the best movies of all time!! 5 stars
7/27/01 TLsmooth Keanu sucks ass but Oldman is fucking awesome. Ryder is a slut. 4 stars
4/03/01 Ro Ryder and Reeve are miscast and Van Helsing's written wrong. Apart from that - delicious! 4 stars
2/07/01 HELEN McBRIDE TOTALLY COOL MY FAVOURITE FILM IN THE WORLD 5 stars
1/25/01 Kat Best Dracula movie ever!!!!!!!!!!!! Gary Oldman is the best actor ever! 5 stars
1/09/01 Keanuette A sumptuous gothic flick! Keanu as Harker was a good choice, Shame about the accent.... 5 stars
11/14/00 The EVIL Penguin a stunning feast for your eyes, but stilory 4 stars
10/08/00 matthew didn't like at first viewing, but grew on me 4 stars
9/18/00 Tom McCullough Yes, it is scary, and incredible to look at and listen to on a good home theater system. 5 stars
5/18/00 Creeper Not scary, more romance than the novel, but an incredible film. 5 stars
12/04/99 PervertedPixie Funky, horney goth flick. The English actors piss on the Americans. 5 stars
11/15/99 Sherif Nashaat A touching story of love amid a visually stunning atmoshere. Complete Genius. 5 stars
10/26/99 Karahde Khan This is not Bram Stoker's Dracula. It's Barbara Cartland's Dracula. Oldman sucks anyway. 2 stars
9/22/99 Kandinsky Agree with that "Victorian MTV" comment...only good part is Waits as Renfield 2 stars
9/12/99 the Grinch Disagree w/ JLR's vampire purism. Coppola used no modern filmaking techniques...very worthy 4 stars
8/25/99 jeff heath pretty entertaining, great cast. 4 stars
8/15/99 Elizaveta Gary Oldman makes this excellent film into an absolutely astounding experience! 5 stars
6/15/99 Dylan Pretty good 4 stars
1/09/99 Thorn Silvertree Severely flawed, but VISUALLY! What a FEAST! 5 stars
11/28/98 Mr.Pink Only Oldman shows something of a performance. Some stunning visuals, though........ 3 stars
11/24/98 Lord Of The Dunce I hate vampire films, but Oldman was superb. 5 stars
11/18/98 MinxxDaShorty I love this film, it puts me in a trance every time i watch it! 5 stars
11/13/98 Jules Alright, it has faults, but it's PURE FILM MAGIC!!! 5 stars
IF YOU'VE SEEN THIS FILM, RATE IT!
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  13-Nov-1992 (R)

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