100 movies: Dracula

100 movies of 2012

[yellow_box]Every year I set myself a target, usually of about 100, of films to watch. These are new films. Not new, new films. But films that are new to me. Any time I’ve seen a new one, I post a bit of a brain dump of my thoughts on the film here. Enjoy![/yellow_box]

DraculaDracula (19/08/12)

The ancient vampire Count Dracula arrives in England and begins to prey upon the virtuous young Mina Harker.

A few months ago I sat down to watch the classic Frankenstein. Turns out Sky Movies were showing all three of Universal’s classic monster films. So Dracula and The Mummy were both recorded. Now finally getting around to watching the second of these monster flicks.

Unlike Frankenstein I found Dracula a little harder to watch. I think that’s more than likely due to all of the decades of vampire films and TV shows and parodies we’ve all been subjected to. For example – seeing Dracula’s eyes highlighted only made me think back to The Addams Family’s Morticia. Dracula’s fly craving assistant gave me the giggles on more than one occasion. The bats on strings? I couldn’t help myself! Perhaps I’m just too immature.

What does impress me in Dracula, much like it did in Frankenstein, is the sets. The scene where Renfield first walks into Count Dracula’s castle is astounding. That set is beautiful! The lighting of it all gave it so much depth and realism. Amazing. The film making world before computer graphics, eh?

Dracula was a stronger film for me than Frankenstein. I understand that Bela Lugosi’s performance of Dracula is meant to be one of the best portrayals of the vampire, but it felt a bit hammy to me. Yes, I know, it’s that the cinematic era, etc. But Boris Karloff’s monster was a much more interesting monster. Perhaps it was because he was more human?

All in all, a good film. Perhaps a little hard to watch now just because it’s from such a different era, it can feel a little … weird watching it. And unintentionally funny.
Rating: 3/5

Read on to see all the films watched this year…

65 Films so far this year

  1. The Tourist 1/5 (02/01/12)
  2. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 5/5 (03/01/12)
  3. World’s Greatest Dad 2/5 (14/01/12)
  4. Haywire 3/5 (19/01/12)
  5. Dead Snow 3/5 (20/01/12)
  6. The Artist 5/5 (21/01/12)
  7. Priest 2/5 (05/02/12)
  8. The Muppets 5/5 (15/02/12)
  9. Faster 4/5 (19/02/12)
  10. Chronicle 4/5 (22/02/12)
  11. Safe House 4/5 (24/02/12)
  12. Reservoir Dogs 4/5 (25/02/12)
  13. This Means War 4/5 (02/03/12)
  14. The Royal Tenenbaums 3/5 (03/03/12)
  15. Reign of Fire 3/5 (04/03/12)
  16. Dear John 2/5 (04/03/12)
  17. Road to Perdition 5/5 (05/03/12)
  18. The Three Musketeers 3/5 (06/03/12)
  19. The Eagle 2/5 (10/03/12)
  20. Everybody’s Fine 2/5 (14/03/12)
  21. Frankenstein 4/5 (15/03/12)
  22. Love and Other Drugs 2/5 (15/03/12)
  23. You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger 2/5 (17/03/12)
  24. The Big Lebowski 5/5 (18/03/12)
  25. The Hunger Games 3/5 (23/03/12)
  26. Headhunters 4/5 (07/04/12)
  27. Super 1/5 (07/04/12)
  28. The Cabin in the Woods 5/5 (13/04/12)
  29. Watchmen 4/5 (14/04/12)
  30. The Hurt Locker 3/5 (21/04/12)
  31. Avengers Assemble 5/5 (26/04/12)
  32. 22 Bullets 2/5 (28/04/12)
  33. Bad Teacher 1/5 (29/04/12)
  34. Red Riding Hood 1/5 (04/05/12)
  35. A Perfect Getaway 4/5 (05/05/12)
  36. Ca$h 1/5 (13/05/12)
  37. Kung Fu Panda 2 3/5 (14/05/12)
  38. Everything Must Go 2/5 (24/05/12)
  39. New York, I Love You 2/5 (25/05/12)
  40. Beginners 4/5 (26/05/12)
  41. Prometheus 4/5 (03/06/12)
  42. The Tree of Life 2/5 (04/06/12)
  43. The Lovely Bones 3/5 (05/06/12)
  44. Snow White and the Huntsman 3/5 (06/06/12)
  45. The Devil’s Backbone 4/5 (07/06/12)
  46. Britain in a Day 5/5 (11/06/12)
  47. The French Connection 4/5 (15/06/12)
  48. Insomnia 3/5 (16/06/12)
  49. Rebel Without a Cause 4/5 (22/06/12)
  50. A Lonely Place to Die 3/5 (26/06/12)
  51. Killer Joe 3/5 (29/06/12)
  52. The Amazing Spider-Man 4/5 (03/07/12)
  53. Raising Arizona 4/5 (04/07/12)
  54. Horrible Bosses 4/5 (06/07/12)
  55. Broadcast News 3/5 (07/07/12)
  56. We Need to Talk About Kevin 4/5 (07/07/12)
  57. Miller’s Crossing 4/5 (18/07/12)
  58. The Dark Knight Rises 5/5 (20/07/12)
  59. 21 Jump Street 5/5 (29/07/12)
  60. The Mystery Team 3/5 (07/08/12)
  61. The Help 4/5 (11/08/12)
  62. The Bourne Legacy 3/5 (13/08/12)
  63. The Expendables 2 4/5 (17/08/12)
  64. Brave 5/5 (19/08/12)
  65. Dracula 3/5 (19/08/12)

20 thoughts on “100 movies: Dracula

  1. I haven’t seen the original Dracula yet (or Frankenstein); both are on my list. I’ve been hoping they hold up pretty well, but it’s not surprising to read otherwise. Still going to give them a chance, though; their place in film history deserves that.

    1. Frankenstein holds up a lot better than Dracula. Bela Lugosi’s Dracula was just a little too silly for me to believe. Well, in this day and age.

  2. Hi, Jaina and company:

    Intriguing review!

    Bela Lugoisi’s ‘Dracula’ is kind of hard to sit through for a lot of people. Basically, it’s a stage play put to film. The sets are attractively detailed, as you mentioned. Though the film is nearly bereft of make-up and special effects that became the vampire’s stock and trade when Hammer films brought the genre back in the 1960s.

    That said, for a decent translation of Bram Stoker, it’s pretty hard to beat.

    I’ve long been a fan of the ABC version of ‘Dracula’ that was made for TV in 1979. Directed by John Badham. Set in 1913 London with Frank Langella as the Count.

    1. I found Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of Dracula just a little too… silly. I think being over exposed to Dracula and vampires over all these years makes watching the original just a little too much.

      I’ve not seen the ABC version of Dracula. Sounds intriguing though.

    1. Looks like it! Though new TV is due to start up soon, so I expect numbers to slow down a bit.

      Ahh… that’s what camping’s all about though, no? Glad you had a great time!

  3. It’s been WAY too long since I’ve seen this, and I wonder if it’ll hold up now that I’m looking at it with the eyes of a blogger.

    Universal is releasing a boxed set soon that I’m gonna get… That’s when I start powering through some of them again. I hope I can still appreciate them!

  4. Although this is considered a much loved horror classic, I have always felt that it doesn’t quite live up to its reputation. I love the opening sequences in Transylvania, they look incredible and are wonderfully atmospheric, but that atmosphere is soon lost when the ship arrives in Whitby and the film moves down to London. After that, it becomes quite sluggish and is carried by Lugosi’s iconic performance and not much else.

    On a side note, have you seen Tim Burton’s Ed Wood? Anytime I think of this version of Dracula I can’t help but think of Martin Landau’s fantastically eerie portrayal of Bela Lugosi, it is simply great; he is by turns hilarious and tragic. It is a film that is definitely worth looking out for.

    1. Completely agree – Transylvania is amazing. Beautiful to look at and has a real sense of atmosphere. I wish they had set the whole film there rather than shift to London.

      I’ve not seen Ed Wood – it’s on my to watch list!

  5. I never had the desire to watch this one for some reason, I get the feeling Bela Lugosy would be hammy, like you said.

    Btw, since you are in such agreement about Dalton in my post [YAY!!] I’d kill to see him play the prince of darkness. Even in his mid 60s I think he could still play a seductive and terrifying Dracula!

    1. Yes to Dalton as Dracula! Seriously, he was brilliant as the smarmy bad guy in Hot Fuzz, I don’t see why he wouldn’t be able to pull this off!

  6. Jaina, so crazy when you think about how much shooting they did on a soundstage for these films. You know what you should check out is Abbott and Costello meet Frankenstein that is good one. O and bride of Frankenstein I liked a lot as well.

    1. I am genuinely intrigued as to just how films were made back then. So much ingenuity.

      Abbot and Costello eh? Will have a root around for that…

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