Dracula first editionFirst edition

Dracula

Publication details ▽ Publication details △

First publication
1897

Literature form
Novel

Genres
Literary, fantasy

Language
English

Author's country
England

Length
Approx. 180,000 words

George Hamilton as Dracula
George Hamilton is the first and best of the funny Draculas.

Dracula

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE DRACULA MOVIES

1922, 1931, 1936–1945, 1958, 1960–1974, 1979, 1979–1995, 1992, 2000, 2000, 2006

Dracula, you kill me

Love at First Bite (1979): Director Stan Dragoti; writer Robert Kaufman; featuring George Hamilton, Richard Benjamin.

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995): Director Mel Brooks; writers Brooks, Rudy De Luca, Steve Haberman; featuring Leslie Neilsen, Steve Weber, Brooks, Harvey Korman, Anne Bancroft

Given he's such an iconic figure in literature and cinema, it took long enough for the Dracula parodies to start appearing. There was Bela Lugosi poking fun at his image as one of the villains in 1948's Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein, (1948), but that hardly counts—so to speak.

Finally in 1979 we get the first sustained take-off on the Dracula legend. And for me it's the best and funniest. It's Love at First Bite (1979), a surprise hit in which George Hamilton plays Dracula for laughs. (Not to be confused with the 15-minute short with the same title by the Three Stooges, which has nothing to do with vampires and is even stupider and also funny in a slapstick way.)

Hamilton is terrific and shows great comic timing in the role. The oily vampire is forced out of Romania when his castle is turned into a gymnasium, and he comes to New York to raid blood banks and woo Susan Saint James (later co-starring in TV's MacMillan and Wife) to become his bride. Comic actor Arte Johnson is his Renfield and everyman Richard Benjamin is a Van Helsing descendant who has changed his name to Rosenberg to start a career as a psychiatrist.

Very funny in a throwback kind of way. Biggest in-joke: how does night-stalking Dracula get the tan that Hamilton famously sports?


Disco-dancing Dracula (George Hamilton and Susan Saint James) in Love at First Bite.

Hamilton has been trying to get a sequel to Love at First Bite—Love at Second Bite?—off the ground ever since, most recently being reported as hoping to update the story into the Twilight era.

Dracula, you're such a dope

Not quite as successful is Mel Brooks's Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), starring Leslie Nielson. Brooks had earlier struck comic gold with his monster spoof Young Frankenstein but this companion piece was dismissed by critics.

Leslie Neilsen as Dracula
Leslie Neilsen as goofy Dracula

Dead and Loving It is a straight-ahead spoof of the original story, possibly inspired by Francis Ford Coppola's Dracula, a few years earlier.

And it's not as dismal as claimed by critics, who were perhaps expecting something more outlandish than an old-fashioned parody.

Neilson is his usual goofy self, perhaps putting even more into his comic acting for Brooks here than he usually does.

If you like slapstick and obvious humour (I admit I do), you'll enjoy Dracula: Dead and Loving It. If not, you really don't need to see this.

Except maybe to help you stop taking Dracula too seriously.

— Eric McMillan

THE NOVEL | THE TEXT | THE DRACULA MOVIES

1922, 1931, 1936–1945, 1958, 1960–1974, 1979, 1979–1995, 1992, 2000, 2000, 2006

See also:

Movies
Frankenstein

Movies
Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde

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