Dracula 2020

Dracula! Blog post by Aspasia S. Bissas

Have you had a chance yet to watch the new Netflix/BBC Dracula? I was pretty excited to watch it, especially given the involvement of Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat. These two have done some amazing work on shows like Sherlock and Doctor Who (Moffat in particular is responsible for some of the best episodes of Doctor Who, ever, and is the writer of the brilliant episode “Blink,” which introduced the nightmare-inducing Weeping Angels).

So, yes, excited for Dracula.

And it was…meh. Some great moments that didn’t seem to go anywhere. Weird pacing. Pointless scenes. And I wasn’t enthralled by Claes Bang’s portrayal of the Count. I mean it was okay, but just okay…much like the rest of the show.

As a reminder of how scary (and fun) Dracula can be, here are some of my favourite portrayals of this most classic of all vampires…

I have to start with the original, Stoker’s Count. Although Stoker wasn’t the first to write about vampires, his character (and book) started an ongoing obsession with vampires, inspiring countless variations over the decades. Many of what we now consider essential characteristics of vampires: aversion to sunlight and garlic, lack of reflection, supernatural powers, vulnerable to a stake through the heart– all came from Dracula. A few have been discarded over the years too– how many modern vampires have hairy palms or need to keep the soil of their homeland handy? If you’re a vampire fan and you haven’t read Dracula yet–drop everything and get yourself a copy.

dracula

Nosferatu is an early, unauthorized, movie based on Dracula. The names were changed (Dracula became Count Orlok, for example) but that wasn’t enough to keep Stoker’s widow from suing (and eventually giving up after the film company went bankrupt and copies of the movie got out anyway). You can’t beat Nosferatu, or Max Schreck’s Count, for atmosphere, dramatic visuals, and general creepiness.

orlok
Count Orlok, Nosferatu

Although Bela Lugosi may be the definitive Count Dracula (and no one is disputing that he did a great job), Christopher Lee gets my vote for best film Dracula. Imposing and intense, it’s hard not to agree that Lee is pretty awesome in this role (I’m not sure he really needs hypnotic powers– he’d do fine all on his own).

I have to admit I’m not a fan of Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula (although after watching Gatiss and Moffat’s version, Coppola’s ranks a little higher now), but I do enjoy Gary Oldman’s performance in it. He seems to embrace the character, especially when he surreptitiously licks Harker’s bloody razor, which is my favourite moment of the entire film:

Here’s the entire scene if you want some context:

One of my absolute favourite portrayals of Dracula is in Buffy in the episode “Buffy vs. Dracula.” It’s a great episode overall (who doesn’t love Xander as Renfield?) and Rudolf Martin does a fantastic job as Dracula. Aside from the show, Dracula makes an appearance in several Buffyverse comic books (scroll down the link to “Appearances” for the full list). It’s well worth tracking them down (if for no other reason than to find out whether Spike ever gets the eleven pounds Dracula owes him).

buffy dracula

And lastly (on what is by no means a comprehensive list), what’s not to like about Community’s Troy attempting to put together a cool Halloween costume by becoming a “sexy Dracula”? 😉

What did you think of Netflix’s Dracula? Who’s your favourite version of the Count?  Share in the comments…

Cheers,

Aspasía S. Bissas

20 Replies to “Dracula 2020”

  1. Sorry (!) but my favorite version is Coppola’s Dracula! Love the settings, the costume, the music, they pretty much adapt all the scenes, and I love all the actor, even Keanu!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thanks for posting your thoughts on this! I’ve not seen this adaptation yet but will do so. I agree, Christopher Lee made an excellent Dracula! Ok, some performances were not as good as others but it’s easy to forget how many times he played the Count and the shoestring budget that Hammer Films operated on! Although their The Devil Rides Out is a great movie 🙂 I also enjoyed the vampire in the TV adaptation of Salem’s Lot – yeas, it was very Nosferatu but enjoyable and James Mason just as spooky! And although I can’t think of his name the chief vampire in Penny Dreadful was good 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you– I’m glad you liked it! I really enjoyed ‘Salem’s Lot the book, so I need to get around to seeing the TV show now. I think even when Christopher Lee’s performances were bad, they were still good 🙂 Let me know what you think of the new Dracula series…

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I love the Coppola version, mostly for Gary Oldman but also for entertainment value. Keanu’s accent! Winona’s eyebrows and eyelids wiggling when she’s meant to be dead! What’s not to love? 🧛‍♂️

    Liked by 2 people

    1. You forgot Winona’s green “leprechaun” outfit 🙂 My favourite part of Coppola’s movie is when Winona and Keanu accidentally got married for real by the Orthodox priest in Mina and Jonathon’s wedding scene lol

      Liked by 2 people

  4. Ah, yes Dracula! One of the most iconic characters EVER!

    I quite enjoyed the BBC version, from Dracula’s bravado and sassyness to having a very self absorbed and social media addicted Lucy Westenra. I did find the descriptions of the Undead questionable and can see why people didn’t get the ending (No spoilers for those who haven’t seen it yet).

    My favourite Dracula? (I have to CHOOSE!?) Has to be Bela Lugosi and Gary Oldman. Although, I did enjoy the Japanese Anime interpretations for Vampire Hunter D (hinted at D being Dracula as not only extremely long lived, but the original vampire) and the gun toting- loving battle and war and unleashing all manner of powers against man-made vampires Alucard of Hellsing.

    Presently, I’m reading Dracula: The Undead by Dacre Stoker (indeed, relative of Bram) and Ian Holt. This is supposedly the official sequel based on Bram Stokers notes, have you heard of it?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hated the Lucy storyline in the Netflix/BBC version lol I did get the ending, though, and thought it worked.

      Vampire Hunter D I still need to see. I know of Dracula: The Undead, but haven’t read it. Debating whether I want to– let me know what you think!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Male sure you go with the original 1980s Vampire Hunter D and not Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust. The former is set in a distant dystopian future and only hints that he is Dracula, so don’t get your hopes up too much.

        When I’ve finished reading it, I will. So far I’m enjoying it, it reads third person rather than first person letters and Dacre has a different take on how the vampire reveals it’s true nature.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. And so, I finished reading Dracula: The Undead. Over all, I’d day it was ok. It isn’t a world shattering piece of literature, neither is it the B-movie sequel by Stoker’s great-grand-nephew.

        Set in 1912, it follows Quincey Harker who has decided to become an actor in an act of defiance against his father’s wishes of studying law. He comes across Bram Stoker and Hamilton Deane with their new play….
        Meanwhile the original protagonists are being killed off one by one but by who or what?

        It follows traditional 3rd person point of view rather than us reading the letters.

        There are creative choices that work the Dracula and vampire mythos slightly differently, but the biggest one is that the Dracula story we all know and love wasn’t the proper version….. and it actually took place 25 years ago in 1888….. in fact, if I had to read another reference to “It was twenty-five years since” or “from twenty five years ago” one more time I will personally hunt down the authors (Dacre Stoker and Ian Holt) and do to them what Vlad the Impaler was famous for…. Yes we get it was twenty five years ago, you don’t have to keep reminding us of it! Ahem. Sorry.

        But yes, what were the repercussions of the events from Dracula on the original heroes? Who or what is killing them now? Did Dracula survive? What do the police of 1912 think is going on?
        What really happened in the events of Dracula? Where did Stoker get the story about Quincey’s parents and what they did? How will this affect Quincey as he knew nothing of this?

        And remember….. It’s been twenty five years…..

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Lol Blame the editors for the excess of “25 years”; that’s the kind of thing authors don’t notice but editors should catch 🙂 I’m still not going to rush out to read it, but maybe one day. Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

        Liked by 1 person

      4. No worries, it’s not a book I’d have rushed out to purchase, in fact, it was my girlfriend’s copy it was sitting there and I was curious.

        Liked by 1 person

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