Film, video and television productions based on the novel by Bram Stoker:
Originally Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (German)
Director F.W. Murnau; writer Henrik Galeen; featuring Max Shreck
English and Spanish versions of film. English: director Tod Browning; writers Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston,; variably featuring Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, David Manners, Dwight Frye, Edward Van Sloan. Spanish: director George Melford; writ. Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, Baltasar Fernández Cué; featuring Carlos Villarías, Lupita Tovar, Pablo Álvarez Rubio
Three films variably featuring Gloria Holden, Otto Kruger, Edward Van Sloan, Lon Chaney Jr., Robert Paige, John Carradine, Onslow Stevens, Glenn Strange
Also called Dracula
Director Terence Fisher; writer Jimmy Sangster; featuring Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing, Michael Gough
Three films variably featuring Peter Cushing, David Peel, Yvonne Monlaur, Martita Hunt, Christopher Lee, Barbara Shelley, Andrew Keir, Rupert Davies, Veronica Carlson
Director John Badham; writer Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston, W.D. Richter; featuring Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasance, Kate Nelligan
Two films. 1979: director Stan Dragoti, featuring George Hamilton, Richard Benjamin. 1995: director Mel Brooks, featuring Leslie Neilsen, Steve Weber, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman
Also called Dracula
Director Francis Ford Coppola; writer Jame V. Hart; featuring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Cary Elwes, Tom Waits
Director E. Elias Merhige; writer Steven Katz; featuring John Malkovich, Willem Defoe, Udo Kier, Cary Elwes
Director Patrick Lussier; writer Joel Soission, Lussier; featuring Gerard Butler, Christopher Plummer, Jonny Lee Miller, Justine Waddell, Jeri Ryan
Marc Warren is Dracula as an aging punkster in the classy British TV production of Dracula in 2006.
Dracula in the blood
For yet another, and very different, modern take on Dracula, you could check out the 2006 TV version of Dracula made for Masterpiece Theatre.
But you may find it hard to recognize your favourite villain in this piece. The aristocratic old gent is replaced by a pouting youngster, played in a punkish vein by Marc Warren, who is actually close to forty but looks like a spoiled brat of about twenty-two.
The story line is rather novel too, placing at the centre a subplot about a character with syphilis trying to eradicate his disease. He seeks the services of a blood-worshipping religious cult that has grown up around Dracula.
There might actually be an interesting interpretation of Dracula somewhere here, connecting the apprehension of sexual wantonness in the original story with today's fear of blood-borne diseases, especially AIDS. But it's handled too confusingly in this conceptually murky production.
The character of Johnathan Harker is practically written out of the story and the figure of Van Helsing, essayed by the accomplished David Suchet (of Poirot fame), is also twisted beyond recognition. Van Helsing is now a prisoner of the cult, discovered only in the latter part of the film and rescued just in time to save London—and the world—from the wicked count.
The acting, staging and cinematography are all quite fine (if very dark), as expected in a high-class British production.
But ultimately this supposed update of the Dracula story disappoints. So many of the main characters are dead by the end, fulfilling the pessimistic foreboding tone of the drama. And yet we get the idea we're supposed to feel uplifted—at least until the before-the-curtain-dropping "twist" that we saw coming a crooked mile away.
By that time we're neither surprised nor gratified, and definitely not scared. Just tired.
We were infected by Dracula a long time ago but medicine does not offer a cure for what ails us. If we even want one.