Saturday, April 17, 2010

Dracula: I Don't Trust a Man Who Drives His Own Stagecoach

I started watching Dracula months ago but stopped due to the fact that I had been watching an unnecessarily high amount of vampires movies. Don't get me wrong- I love vampires but for some reason while seeing the typical Transylvania, the villagers who freak out about going to Count Dracula's castle and Bela Lugosi's cracked out facial expressions just didn't sit well with me. I do know that many people don't love this installment of the Universal Monster's collection- I myself much prefer The Wolf Man, so that too added to my constant dread. However, I signed a contract with myself promising that I would indeed watch every movie on the Scariest Moments List and so on this rainy afternoon I have strapped myself down and watched that lovely hour and 14 minutes of family fun.

I never realized how un-alluring Lugosi's Dracula really was. His face is comical in most aspects and he looks more like he's constipated or maybe just telling a funny joke inside his head and less like he's hypnotizing women with his sexy vampire eyes.
I'm not sure what he was, he just seemed so stagnant or something. It's a step away from the Count Orlok vampire, in that Lugosi is not a gruesome representation and we are not repulsed by his image. Lucy even finds him enticing plus he's not exactly...ugly. But there was still something so uninteresting about him! And dare I say it--boring? He had the unfortunate blunder of being neither alluring nor terrifying- which Dracula of course should be both.

There were some rather interesting bits but for the most part I was just surprised how much was hidden. The deaths of crew on the ship we never saw- but we were given this really nice shadow of a dead crew member slouched on the ship's wheel which I loved.
Other than that however, most things just seemed so removed. The atmosphere didn't feel as creepy as it should and I was very disheartened when we did not get to see at least Dracula's eyes while he was being staked through the heart. For all I knew it could have been one of his brides getting staked.

So unfortunately I won't be spending tons of time on this one. It's a film that remains important for it's impact on the iconic character of Dracula- yet when stood next to Nosferatu and even it's brother's in the Universal Monster's collection, it seems to fall flat. I just longed for something spookier I guess and although I do understand this film was one of the first movies that brought 100% horror to audiences (it did not contain humor or some kind of twist at the end that explained the terror) it still didn't affect me as much as I had hoped it would. Plus I still can't get past those awful bats! Anyways....yeah. Hahah John Landis calling out the armadillos! More proof that we were made to be together.


Scare Sarah said...

Dracula is awesome, especially the old stuff.

Andre Dumas said...

I love Dracula but I don't necessarily love this stab at it. I like it...a lot but I don't love it. My love is reserved for things like delicious sandwiches and Suspiria--also John Landis. And my cat.

Pax Romano said...

Now watch the Spanish version - made on the same set at night when the American actors went home(really) it's a great curio.

As for Lugosi, I think he's the greatest Dracula of all time - I think his acting was indicative of the fact that he had been doing the same role on the stage for years, so he brought some of this heavy handed stuff with him to the film. You do know that women reportedly swooned over him in this movie? Of course that was, what, seventy years ago.

Andre Dumas said...

Oooo thanks Pax I must check that out immediately.

I enjoy Lugosi's performance but I'm not sure he's my favorite. Ok well I KNOW he's not my favorite because I voted for someone else on B-Sol's poll! I just wanted more fire from him. I do of course appreciate how he in a sense began the very character and charisma of Dracula. An iconic role that would be repeated and mimicked even still today!

I did reckon those broads fancied him back in the day but I suppose it does make sense since they were uptight and.....depressed. So they would like a man with an uptight, constipated look. Totally get it.

Emily said...

So this has nothing to do with Dracula, but since you mentioned your love for John Landis (who I also love), I was wondering if you ever watched the show "Psych"? It's one of my favorites, and I just realized that John Landis directed 3 episodes of the show!! If you haven't seen it, I definitely recommend it! The episodes that Landis directed are hilarious!

B-Sol said...

I'm a little surprised that Chris Lee is winning my poll actually! I mean he's amazing, but Lugosi is THE icon. Still it's telling that Lee and Lugosi together have more votes than the other 10 choices out together.

You're the joker who voted for Leslie Nielsen, aren't you...?