Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Many Faces of Dracula

Henry Irving

A star of the theatre in Victorian London, Henry Irving never played Dracula, but it is said that his stage manager, a certain Bram Stoker, was inspired by him for the character of the immortal Count. Notice a certain resemblance to Christopher Lee?

Dracula (Unabridged Classics)

Bela Lugosi
Dracula, 1931

Lugosi wasn't the first on-screen vampire, but his evening garb, cloak and well-groomed hair gave birth to an icon. Just take a look at the amount of caped vampires you see around on Halloween.

Dracula (Universal Studios Classic Monster Collection)

Max Schreck
Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens, 1922

Count Orlok is a far cry from the gorgeous vampires of our days, but his rodent teeth, bald head, pointy ears and long claws are unforgettable. And to think this amazing silent film nearly didn't make it to our day because of the law suit between Florence Stoker and the production house! Lucky for us that not all the prints were destroyed.

Christopher Lee
Hammer Horror Dracula, 1960s & 1970s

Christopher Lee is one of THE faces of Dracula of the 20th Century. The low budget Hammer Series flaunted lavish scenery and buxom beauties, and their Dracula series is now a cult, having made Mr Lee as strong a Dracula icon as Bela Lugosi.

Frank Langella
Dracula, 1979

Frank Langella starred as one of the 3 Draculas of 1979 in John Badham's Dracula. The film was a disappointment at the box office, but, according to Wikipedia, it became quite popular for a time in the home video market.

Klaus Kinski
Nosferatu, Phantom der Nacht, 1979

The second of the 1979 Dracula movies, Werner Herzog's Nosferatu takes us back to the bald head and rodent teeth in this remake of Murnau's 1922 Nosferatu. This time, since the novel's copyright had expired, Herzog could use the original names of the characters, something that Murnau had been unable to do.

George Hamilton
Love at First Bite, 1979

The third Dracula of 1979, directed by Stan Dragoti, is a comic horror character who is forced to abandon his castle in Romania and discover the wonders of New York (and its blood banks). At his side, his faithful bug-eating servant Renfield. Tagline: "Your favorite pain in the neck is about to bite your funny bone!"  What more can you say?

Love at First Bite

Gary Oldman
Bram Stoker's Dracula, 1992

Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola's amazing Oscar-winning adaptation has become the face of our fin de siecle Count. Coppola's lavish sets and costumes and eye for detail make this one of the all-time Dracula favourites. One of the most romantic vampire movies of our time.

Bram Stoker's Dracula (Collector's Edition)

Leslie Nielsen
Dracula: Dead and Loving It, 1995

Leslie Nielsen and Mel Brooks (director and Van Helsing) - a recipe for spoof. What more can I say, except that this is a version Stoker never dreamed of. Watch out for the Coppola Dracula hairdo, the British bosom and closing windows. 

Dracula - Dead and Loving It

Rudolf Martin
Buffy vs Dracula, Ep. 1, Season 5, 1997

So he might not be the most famous actor to play Dracula, but he did play the role in Buffy in a campy episode. The Slayer cannot escape the Count's bite and even Xander becomes his slave. At the end, of course, Buffy slays the Count, but as we all know, he always comes back.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 5

Count Duckula

He's green and he's a duck, but, hey, he has his own castle on a lonely mountain top in Transylvania, his own poultry servants and he's famous. And he's not that bad when you consider he isn't after blood but tomato ketchup. 

Count Duckula - The Complete First Season

Count von Count, aka The Count
Sesame Street

Another not-so-serious version of Dracula, modeled on Bela Lugosi. A Count is very good at teaching children mathematical concepts, such as ... counting. With his many bats, his cat and his Countmobile, this is one Count you can count on. 

Sesame Street: 40 Years of Sunny Days

No comments:

Post a Comment