BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA (1992) Reviews and overview

 

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a 1992 American Gothic horror feature film directed and produced by Francis Ford Coppola (Dementia 13), loosely based on the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker.

The movie stars Gary Oldman as Count Dracula, Winona Ryder as Mina Harker, Anthony Hopkins (MagicThe Silence of the Lambs; The Wolfman) as Professor Abraham Van Helsing and Keanu Reeves (The Devil’s Advocate; Knock Knock) as Jonathan Harker.

Plot:

In 1462, Vlad Dracula, a member of the Order of the Dragon, returns from a victory against the Turks to find his wife, Elisabeta, has committed suicide after receiving a false report of his death.

Enraged that his wife is now damned for committing suicide, Dracula desecrates his chapel and renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness. In a fit of rage, he stabs the cross with his sword and drinks the blood which is pouring out of the cross.

In 1897, newly-qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker takes the Transylvanian Count Dracula as a client from his colleague R.M. Renfield, who has gone insane. Jonathan travels to Transylvania to arrange Dracula’s real estate acquisition in London, including Carfax Abbey. He meets Dracula, who discovers a picture of Harker’s fiancée, Mina, and believes that she is the reincarnation of Elisabeta.

Dracula leaves Jonathan to be seduced by his brides and sails to England with boxes of his native soil, taking up residence at Carfax Abbey. His arrival is foretold by the ravings of Renfield, now an inmate in Doctor Jack Seward’s neighbouring insane asylum.

In London, Dracula emerges as a wolf-like creature amid a fierce thunderstorm and hypnotically seduces, then rapes and bites Lucy Westenra, with whom Mina is staying while Jonathan is in Transylvania. Lucy’s deteriorating health and behavioural changes prompt Lucy’s former suitors, Quincey Morris and Doctor Seward, along with her fiancée, Arthur Holmwood, to summon Dr Abraham Van Helsing, who recognizes Lucy as the victim of a vampire.

Dracula, appearing young and handsome during daylight, meets and charms Mina. When Mina receives word from Jonathan, who has escaped the castle and recovered at a convent, she travels to Romania to marry him. In his fury, Dracula transforms Lucy into a vampire…

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A 25th Anniversary 4K Ultra HD Sony Region A & B & C disc of Bram Stoker’s Dracula was released on October 3, 2017.

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Reviews:

” … a visual cornucopia, overstuffed with images of both beauty and grotesque horror. Coppola has assembled a virtual Who’s Who of young screen heartthrobs, all of whom–from Winona Ryder to Gary Oldman to Keanu Reeves to Cary Elwes — do their stuff against a range of brilliantly realized settings. Count Dracula’s Transylvanian lair has a deliberately tongue-in-cheek, mythological aura, and Victorian England is brought to life through meticulous, and humorous, production design.” TV Guide

“Has a film ever promised so much yet delivered so little? There was so much potential, yet when it came down to it, Coppola made his Dracula too old to be menacing, gave Keanu Reeves a part and took out all the action. So all we’re left with is an overly long bloated adaptation, instead of what might have been a gothic masterpiece.” Empire Magazine

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“Ultimately, Coppola’s overblown Gothic horror is loaded with stunning imagery, memorable moments and a great magnetic energy coming from Hopkins and Oldman as this particular story’s most interesting characters. Ultimately too, it was Coppola’s last ‘grand’ film and remains his last great work. It’s a great example of a director fully utilising all his power.” Flickering Myth

” …there’s nothing remotely old-fashioned about Coppola’s movie. His Dracula is less a filmed novel than an explosion of lava-hot imagery, most of it jammed together in the glitzy, one-thing-after-another style of MTV. For a while, the onslaught is hypnotic. Yet Dracula, unlike, say, F.W. Murnau’s 1922 masterpiece Nosferatu, doesn’t have a discernible ”look’. What it does have is enough random baroque visuals to stock 150 horror films.” Entertainment Weekly

bram stoker's dracula female vampires

“Coppola doesn’t push it, but underlying everything here, as perhaps it must with any serious vampire story today, is an AIDS subtext involving sex, infected blood, and the plague. Overall, this Dracula could have been less heavy and more deliciously evil than it is, but it does offer a sumptuous engorgement of the senses.” Variety

bram-stokers-dracula

Cast and characters:

Gary Oldman … Dracula
Winona Ryder … Mina Murray / Elisabeta
Anthony Hopkins … Professor Abraham Van Helsing
Keanu Reeves … Jonathan Harker
Richard E. Grant … Doctor Jack Seward
Cary Elwes … Lord Arthur Holmwood
Billy Campbell … Quincey P. Morris (as Bill Campbell)
Sadie Frost … Lucy Westenra
Tom Waits … R.M. Renfield
Monica Bellucci … Dracula’s Bride
Michaela Bercu … Dracula’s Bride
Florina Kendrick … Dracula’s Bride
Jay Robinson … Mr Hawkins
I.M. Hobson … Hobbs
Laurie Franks … Lucy’s Maid
Maud Winchester … Downstairs Maid
Octavian Cadia … Deacon
Robert Getz … Priest
Dagmar Stanec … Sister Agatha
Eniko Öss … Sister Sylva (as Eniko Oss)
Nancy Linehan Charles … Older Woman
Tatiana von Fürstenberg … Younger Woman (as Tatiana von Furstenberg)
Jules Sylvester … Zookeeper
Hubert Wells … Zookeeper
Daniel Newman … News Hawker
Honey Lauren … Peep Show Girl
Judi Diamond … Peep Show Girl
Robert Buckingham … Husband
Cully Fredricksen … Van Helsing’s Assistant

Technical details:

128 minutes | 155 minutes (original edit)
Audio: Dolby Digital
Technicolor
Aspect ratio: 1.85: 1

Box office:

Budget: $40 million (estimated)
Opening Weekend USA: $30,521,679, 15 November 1992
Gross USA: $82,522,790
Cumulative Worldwide Gross: $215,862,692