A list of Dracula-related movies for @NeveyB

Following-up on last week’s list of novels, I present my list of Dracula-related movies. I’m a little more opinionated on these so, please, forgive me if we differ in what we like. It’s not personal. 🙂

  • Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922) — Excellent example of German expressionism and of silent film over all. Though it’s not technically a film version of Dracula, Florence Stoker (Bram’s widow) saw enough of a similarity (and she was right) that she sued on this over copyright issues and won. We shouldn’t have access to this because all of the copies were supposed to be destroyed as a result of the lawsuit (thankfully, wiser minds prevailed). I don’t care if you don’t like silent movies, you need to watch this is you have any interest in vampires on film. Also of note: This is where a vampire’s destruction by sunlight was created.
  • Dracula (1931) — Lugosi. That’s all I should have to write. See it.
  • Drácula (1931) — This is the Spanish language version of the Lugosi one (the English language actors filmed during the day, then their Spanish language counterparts came in and filmed on the same sets at night). Except for not having Lugosi and Karl Freund, this is the superior version.
  • Dracula’s Daughter (1936) — Not enough people know this movie. This is a direct sequel to the 1931 Dracula and it works. There’s some odd stuff (Van Helsing inexplicably becomes “Von Helsing”), but it is an otherwise great, and very underrated, sequel.
  • Son of Dracula (1943) — I wish they hadn’t made this in the way it was released. It’s the first time we see a calculating female human trying to use the count with femme fatale-style wiles. I think it’s the first mass media vampire story set in New Orleans. But the hangdog Lon Chaney, Jr. was the wrong person to cast as Dracula. Lawrence Talbot is one thing for him (the Wolfman, specifically Talbot, should be sympathetic). Not Dracula, though.
  • Return of the Vampire (1944) — Lugosi is back as Armand Tesla! No, Tesla is not Dracula… but he was supposed to be. Republic tried to license Dracula from Universal, but it fell through, so this planned sequel to the 1931 Dracula became a standalone movie set during the time of the German blitz. It’s quite good, but would have been better as a sequel.
  • House of Frankenstein (1944) — Welcome to the first of the monster rally movies. Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolf Man are all running around in this one. It’s fun. This is the first movie with John Carradine as Dracula.
  • House of Dracula (1945) — The second of the monster rally movies. Dracula (still Carradine), Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolf Man are all back. I find this one a little weaker than the first, but still work watching.
  • Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948) — The end of Universal’s classic monsters comes, unexpectedly and in a great way, at the hands of Abbott and Costello. Dracula, Frankenstein’s Monster, and the Wolf Man are back, along with a cameo by the Invisible Man (voiced by Vincent Price). This is also the second, and last, time Lugosi plays Dracula on-screen.
  • The Return of Dracula (1958) — A decade passes, and this comes out. It’s a little-known movie now, but it has quite a bit of a following (I find it a bit silly, myself). Dracula attacks a man on a train and steals his identity, making his way to a typically idyllic Californian town in the 1950’s. He then preys upon the innocent young lady in the house he’s staying in. It’s decent, but it was rightfully overshadowed by another release that year…
  • Horror of Dracula (1958) — Hammer comes to the rescue, beginning the count’s reign of terror upon curvy German ladies (who all speak with English accents) with big busts and deep cleavage. The first one with Christopher Lee as the count and Peter Cushing as Van Helsing. It’s a lot of fun, thought not true to the book at all.
  • Brides of Dracula (1960) — A sequel without Dracula himself. A rarity, but it does happen. Dracula’s spirit haunts this movie, though, as Cushing’s Van Helsing deals with some of the count’s progeny.
  • Dracula, Prince of Darkness (1966) — Lee’s count returns, and he is now a fixture in the horror movie pantheon.
  • Billy the Kid vs. Dracula (1966) — The third movie to have Carradine as Dracula. It’s not that good, but it has its moments.
  • Dracula Has Risen From the Grave (1968) — A direct sequel to Dracula, Prince of Darkness, we carry on with Dracula corrupting the people around him (this time it’s a priest) and going after lovely young ladies (both a blond and a curvy serving wench). It also has my favorite Dracula movie poster.
  • Taste the Blood of Dracula (1969) — Continuing the story started 11 years earlier (as it’s a direct sequel to Dracula Has Risen From the Grave), Dracula is brought back by three upstanding gentlemen who are seeking higher and higher levels of hedonistic pleasure from a creepy Satan worpshipper. After the resurrection ceremony falls apart and the Satanist is… dispatched… by the three gentlemen, Dracula comes for revenge (using the grown children of said “gentlemen” to do the dirty work).
  • Count Dracula (1969) — It’s Lee again, but this is not a Hammer production. It’s a somewhat faithful to the book (though low budget) production by Jesús Franco. I recently watched this again after many years and, while the character of the count is treated relatively faithfully, I have a hard time suggesting anyone watch this. The story goes severely off the tracks after the count leaves for England. Close to a wreck, really.
  • Scars of Dracula (1970) — Someone at Hammer decided it was time to reboot the Dracula franchise after 12 years of continually resurrecting the count, and this was the first shot at doing so. It’s also the only Hammer movie I’ve not seen (it’s a bit rare, and the DVDs are a bit expensive), but I understand it’s decent… and bloody.
  • Dracula vs. Frankenstein (1971) — I haven’t seen it, but it sounds downright bad. Might be good for a rainy Saturday afternoon.
  • Dracula AD 1972 (1972) — The second shot at rebooting the Hammer Dracula franchise. Warner Brothers had quite a bit of success with Count Yorga (a vampire in the then-modern day), so it was decided to bring Count Dracula into 1972. There were… issues. Cushing returns as Van Helsing’s grandson (showing we are so far out of continuity with Stoker’s book, it would have just been best to give him a new name) who is living with his grown granddaughter (and she just happens to hang out with the wrong type of crowd).
  • Blacula (1972) — What to say? In 1780, the African prince, Mamuwalde, goes to Dracula with help suppressing the slave trade. Dracula, instead, turns the prince into a vampire and kills his wife. The prince comes along in 1972 and finds a woman who looks like his late princess. You know where this is going, so I won’t continue. But it does sound familiar, doesn’t it? Like another vampire movie has the vampire chasing after the woman he thinks is the reincarnation of his bride…
  • Scream, Blacula, Scream (1973) — Pretty much a stock sequel, with Mamuwalde chasing after Pam Grier now. Dracula makes no appearance in this one. If you liked Blacula, then I suggest checking this out (rent or borrow it, though).
  • Dracula (1973) — A made for TV movie by Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows, Winds of War) and Richard Matheson… with Jack Palance as Dracula! As odd as that seems, Palance actually makes it work and the story, which veers greatly off the tracks from the novel (Lucy is Dracula’s resurrected lover? This sounds awfully familiar…), is still well done. Well worth watching. A bit of trivia: You might see this dated as both 1973 and 1974. It was supposed to air in 1973, but was pre-empted by Richard Nixon’s announcement of Spiro Agnew’s resignation. It was then rescheduled for February of 1974.
  • The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1974) — Lee actually slammed this movie before it came out. I can’t say I blame him. Hammer kicks the titillation up a notch here, and there are definitely some sexy lady vampires running around (or, rather, not running around, as some are in bondage), but it’s not that good of a movie. And, thus… Hammer’s series sputters to an end 16 years and eight films after starting.
  • Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974) — I actually prefer this over its companion, Flesh for Frankenstein, but that’s not really saying much. Udo Kier does an excellent job playing the count. He decides to move to Italy thinking finding virgins to suck on will be easier in a Roman Catholic country (this count needs the blood of virgins, not just blood). It’s interesting. Warhol enjoyed the idea of playing with genre, shock, and pornography… but I think this (and Flesh for Frankenstein, for that matter) really fail at that. I won’t say don’t watch it, but don’t expect anything great from it… other than Kier’s count (which, had he been in the right movie, might have made him a bigger cult star than he is today).
  • Old Dracula (1975) — David Niven plays Dracula with a bunch of Playboy bunnies running around the castle! What could be wrong about this? Plenty. I think this, along with the Blacula movies, might be interesting to do a paper on for a film class (film studies students, you may have this idea free of charge).
  • Count Dracula (1977) — I like this. Not only is it fairly faithful, it has some strong parts to it that make it rise above the others. First, it should be noted this is a 1977 BBC production. Anyone who has ever seen an episode of Doctor Who with Tom Baker (the fourth Doctor? the one with the long scarf? really? you don’t know him? you need to watch more television…) knows that the BBC was willing to air quite a bit back then… but the budgets were small. That’s the case here: Massive potential, hindered by a tiny budget. Louis Jourdan plays a dapper, cosmopolitan version of the count, but he and the other main characters actually take second stage to Susan Penhaligon’s Lucy and Jack Shepherd’s Renfield. It drags a bit during Lucy’s “illness,” there are a few things the count does that is out of character (the loving way he treats the brides after they attack Jonathan, for example), and the special effects are atrocious (mostly a negative film effect that’s just a touch too trippy). If you can look past the dated effects and the clear lack of a budget, this is definitely one to add to your viewing list.
  • Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) — The late 1970’s was a bit of a resurgence of the vampire. 1979 alone had this, a remake of the 1931 Dracula, a comedy, and then, four years later, came The Hunger. This, in particular, is my favorite of the group. There are some things, shot-for-shot, taken from the original movie, and I do not like this better than the original, but this is quite a bit of fun.
  • Dracula (1979) — Some people really like this movie. I find Langella lacking (and I like his acting) and I find Badham’s direction in serious need of someone to rein him in. Worth watching once. Wear sunglasses during the laser light show.
  • Love at First Bite (1979) — George Hamilton in a (then) modern-day comedic homage to Lugosi and Browning in NYC. It oddly works. Some of the more 1970’s references might go over the heads of anyone born after 1985.
  • Monster Squad (1987) — Mentioned here because, from what I can tell, there was no strict Dracula movie in the 1980’s. This follows in the tradition of the monster rally movies, and really could be considered The (unofficial) Goonies Meet Frankenstein (in reference to Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein). It’s cute.
  • Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) — Oh, Mr. Coppola. Let’s take what is essentially a rape scene in the original novel, turn it into a romance between the count and Mina, then steal the basic premise of Blacula and Curtis’s Dracula, and then call it Bram Stoker’s Dracula when it has almost nothing to do with the story Stoker wrote! This movie killed my crush on Winona Ryder because it sucked that much. They just had to call it Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula to get around that (though I would likely still dislike the movie). If this is the only version you’ve watched, you need to read the book and watch another movie — you are only failing yourself by assuming this movie has anything to do with Bram Stoker’s story. Just writing this makes me angry once again about how poorly Coppola handled this story…
  • Dracula: Dead & Loving It (1995) — Again, some folks really like this. I haven’t been a fan of Mel Brooks since Spaceballs (and that, in my opinion, was also a bit weak). Worth watching once and checking out the send-up of the 1931 Dracula (with nods to others, especially Bram Stoker’s Dracula).
  • Dracula 2000 (2000) — I like this movie. It could be better, no doubt, but I like it. It’s a good update, the brides are more than just window dressing, it plays well in the New Orleans setting, and can even serve decently as a sequel. I feel like the Judas part is tacked-on, just for the need to have that explanation of what Dracula is what he is. There is no need to explain his background… let him be a monster.
  • Shadow of the Vampire (2000) — Not really a movie about Dracula, but about the filming of the original Nosferatu. I include it in this list because of its relation to that first movie. Well worth checking out.
  • Dracula 3000 (2004) — Orlock (Dracula) looks like a rejected Love at First Bite cosplayer at some sort of Alien LARP event. And they cast Erika Eleniak in a role where she doesn’t use her best assets. This movie is the worse I’ve ever seen (and, yes, I’ve seen Manos: Hands of Fate in its non-MST3K form). You will feel your jaw drop and smash against the floor when you realize how poor it actually is. Watch it when drunk. Then make sure you never watch it again.
  • Van Helsing (2004) — Another monster rally movie, which should be cool, but it wants so much to be everything for everyone that it is absolutely nothing to anyone. I really dislike this movie. It got the brides of Dracula right, but I don’t think it got Dracula or anything else right — especially Van Helsing. For masochists only (and those who enjoy watching Hollywood completely miss the point of their properties).
  • Dracula 3D (2012) — This is Dario Argento’s take on the story and it does seem to be massively different than the book. Looking at the stills, it looks like it will be a typical Argento-style flick. That may be good, it may be bad (and the reviews on IMDB seem to point closer to the “bad” end of that spectrum).