Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Frankensteining The Perfect Dracula

We have all faced this dilemma:

-Dracula is cool

-There is no Dracula movie that does not contain many things that are boring or stupid.


-A lot of Dracula movies have good parts.

-The Dracula story is familiar


-It’s probably possible to make a perfect Dracula movie by editing together clips from all the Dracula movies



So what would we use?

Right off, we want to use a lot of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, sure. But every single man in that movie except Gary Oldman does a really bad job.

So, obviously we want Peter Cushing from the Hammer movies as Van Helsing as much as we can get.

Once Dracula gets to England, we’re gonna want some Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi, and maybe some Frank Langella Draculas. We definitely need as many of Miriam Giovanelli’s scenes from Dario Argento’s Dracula as we can get.

Would also like to repurpose some part of Herzog's Nosferatu to fit in here but don't know how because it's great.

Also I think we could jam some of Castlevania and the recent gay british Dracula in there and I hear good things about the 1931 Spanish version of Dracula that was shot on the same sets and at the same time as the Lugosi one, but I haven’t seen it all the way through.

So here are the minimum scenes you’d need for a perfect Dracula. If you got ideas for which Dracula does which scene best, let me know:

1. Jonathan Harker, English real estate rube, goes to Transylvania to try to close a deal and meets Transylvanian villagers who warn him about Dracula

2. Harker approaches castle Dracula.

3. Dracula invites him in.

4. Dracula is creepy to Harker in his castle in a number of scenes.

5. Dracula tells him he can’t leave at some point.

6. Harker meets the three hot brides of Dracula.

7. Meanwhile, in England, Harker’s fiancee Mina frets about Harker being away.

8. Mina’s friend Lucy is dealing with 3 suitors: Dr John Seward, Arthur Holmwood, and the American, Quincey Morris.

9. Lucy wants to be poly, but its 1897, so she chooses Holmwood.

10. Dracula’s put on a ship bound for the UK and kills everyone on it.

11. The ship wrecks in England. 

12. Lucy begins acting weird, as if, say, a vampire is draining her blood at night

13. Dr Seward contacts his teacher, Professor Van Helsing.

14. Harker gets back with the rest of the cast in one way or another.

15. Van Helsing is like “What you got here? That’s a vampire”.

16. Something goes wrong and  the anti-vampire precautions he proposes are ignored or reversed.

17. Lucy is killed by Dracula in wolf form or some other way.

18. Van Helsing and crew go to Lucy’s tomb, she’s eating a baby, they stake her.

19. The entire human cast gets together and is like We Gotta Kill Dracula

20. Meanwhile Renfield, one of Dr Seward’s mental patients who has been under Dracula’s spell this whole time, helps Dracula attack Mina.

21. Mina is turning into a vampire. Oh no!

22. The stakes (no pun intended) then having been established, action ensues as Harker, Van Helsing, Seward, and the two disposable male cast members chase Dracula down wherever he is and kill him.

That’s only 22 scenes, and I’d say Coppola alone could handle scenes 2-6 and 18, no problem. Probably one of the Hammer movies handles the actually killing of Dracula best, though the non-Dracula scenes in those movies are soooooo slow I don’t have the heart to rewatch them and see.

That leaves about 16 scenes. I’m all ears.


shanepatrickward said...

Would also like to repurpose some part of Herzog's Nosferatu to fit in here but don't know how because it's great.

Agreed. I haven't watched it in awhile.

FloatyBoats said...

Leaving a couple off, four potential Hammer kills leap to mind:
1-Their first Dracula: Cushing chases Count around the castle, eventually Count gets trapped in sunlight and disintegrates.
2-Dracula Has Risen from the Grave: Count gets to castle, orders Girl to remove cross barring his entrance; it's thrown into ravine, landing upright. Good Guys show up, there's a scuffle, Count is tossed down, impaled on the cross; someone recites Lord's Prayer, and he disintegrates.
3-Taste the Blood of Dracula: Count is lured to what he thinks is his Rocking Satanic Chapel, only to find out too late it's been reconsecrated.
4-Satanic Rites of Dracula: Count chases Cushing into woods; Cushing lures him into hawthorn bush (which movie establishes is a weakness); Count gets tangled in thorns (including a crown, natch) and Cushing stakes.
If we're looking to cut out the 'and then we chase him all the way across Europe back to his castle' bit, #4 explicitly happens in England, though any of the other kills can just be happening at Carfax Abbey, or some other lair in England. Also, only 1 and 4 feature Cushing/Van Helsing; in 2 and 3, the Hero is just a guy named Paul (though I suppose just insisting that 'Paul' is actually Harker would have the advantage of letting Harker be somewhat useful for once.)
Also, did any Renfield other than Dwight Frye justify their screen time?

Simon Tsevelev said...

I have very mixed feelings about this. I love Bela's Dracula, and find Coppola's film ridiculous. At the same time, I think the best Dracula movie would be one where you never see Dracula himself... which probably would be easier to frankenstein together, Garfield minus Garfield style?..

Zak Sabbath said...


I don't see why.

Simon Tsevelev said...

Why it would be easier? Because it feels like this way, the image of the terrifying count is created completely by the audience's imagination, and thus is wholesome (if the audience have an imagination, and if it doesn't, it doesn't really matter what you do). You show the reactions of the characters, the bits and pieces, and the spectator's brain works its complex biochemistry to build the character of Dracula.
Horror is in the eye of the beholder.
Why would it be the best Dracula movie? Because the scariest thing is the one you don't see. I think Hitchcock said that the scariest moment is when you see that the doorknob begins to turn - you don't know who or what's on the other side, but you know it's coming.
Why I love Bela's Dracula? He's theatrical, and I love it.
Why I find Coppola's film ridiculous? So many reasons, starting with the baboon's butt of a hairdo and ending with, well, the ending.

Zak Sabbath said...


I have never held to the belief that the scariest thing is the thing you don't see.

It's an unexamined commonplace.

Kinski as Nosferatu is magnificent and I wouldn't trade seeing him for anything else in film--I could say the same for a lot of monsters

Simon Tsevelev said...

That's a subject for a Disagree-a-thon for another day, then.

Zak Sabbath said...


Perhaps. In the end it's a matter of taste, so hard to argue.