Jessica's September Pick
Bram Stoker's Dracula
When I look back to pinpoint where my fascination with vampire lore came from it always takes me back to when first saw Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) starring Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes and Winona Ryder. My mother had a copy of the film on VHS and I remember sneaking it with me to my best friend’s house for our regular Friday night sleepover and Saturday hangout. We started watching it late that night when her parents had gone to bed, but did not finish it until the next day because we fell asleep. However, the next morning we finished the film and I remember getting so freaked out by that one scene when Dracula transforms into the giant bat creature and threatens our heros as well as the scene in the end when Dracula’s Brides are trying to take Nina and Dr. Van Helsing. As a preteen, this film made quite the impression on me, as well as getting into trouble when it was discovered that I had sneaked it out of the house.
From that point on I was fascinated by vampire lore and studying anything and everything to do with the concept of vampirism. I would read folktales and various countries’ myths and legends about vampires and vampire-like creatures. I read many novels and short stories about vampires and of course read and reread the novel Dracula. I wasn’t huge into watching horror in my teens and early twenties, but I would watch anything to do with vampires. However, I did and still do have a certain level of standards when it comes to movies on vampires and adding them to my collection. So yes, Twilight will never make the cut! Vampires are meant to be immortal sexual and scary predatory creatures of the night - not angsty sparkly immortal teenagers.
In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula opened number 1 in the box office and would make $215 million world wide. While it may not have aged well I adore this film. It is not only the first official horror film that I ever watched, but because I love the interpretation of the original story with the combination of the history of Vlad the Impaler and the love story. I also love the setting, costuming, the score and of course, Gary Oldman as Dracula. He oozes that dark and dangerous sexuality that draws his future bride’s to him and enhances that appeal of ‘vampire’ fantasy. This film is my guilty pleasure. Yes, some of the acting is cringe worthy and the effects don’t compare to other more recent vampire films, but I still return to this movie time and time again.