In celebration of Bram Stoker Festival, we here at Film In Dublin have another Draculist to sink your teeth into. Dracula has mesmerised audiences on the silver screen since cinema began and continues to hold our attention a century later. In view of this you’d be forgiven for thinking that once you’ve seen one Dracula film, you’ve seen them all. That is, until you read this list of 3 Unconventional Dracula Films.
1. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary 2002
What better way to play out all of the sexual politics and tensions present in Dracula than through dance? This film uses ballet to tell Bram Stoker’s tale.
Through silent cinema techniques, fast pacing and beautiful choreography, Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary puts a unique spin on an oft-told story while maintaining a sense of continuity with the canon Dracula classics.
The silence lends the film a tolerant quality; it devotes time to Lucy’s story and her fear at the changes happening to her. One of the most striking dances occurs while Lucy is turning into a vampire. Dracula dances with her and chases her as it snows around them. The film takes time to grieve Lucy’s death and the silence adds to the callousness with which her former suitors led by Van Helsing remove her head.
Mina is an active agent in this film, which is refreshing. In the novel, Mina is extremely intelligent. She devises a system for documenting everything they know about Dracula and vampires, assisting in the men’s mission even though they try to keep it from her. Unfortunately, this aspect of Mina’s character always seems to get lost when it comes to adaptations. Dracula: Pages from a Virgin’s Diary is truly a cut above the rest.
These last two films may not appear to Count as Dracula films at first glimpse but bear with me.
2. Fright Night 1985
Then there’s Fright Night. While Fright Night may not be as progressive as Dracula: Pages From a Virgin’s Diary it’s a really sensational film. If you haven’t seen it then you should consider adding it to your Halloween movie marathon list.
Charley Brewster loves horror, when he’s not with his girlfriend Amy or best friend ‘Evil’ Ed, he’s sure to be watching Peter Vincent’s horror anthology (in the style of the great Vincent Price). But Charley discovers that horror is not so fun when you’re living it; his neighbour is a vampire and no one believes him. With the help of Peter Vincent, a much less poised and brave Helsing character than one might expect, Charley tries to end Jerry’s killing spree.
Fright Night‘s shlocky effects, big hair and new wave soundtrack all add to the eighties charm of the film.
3. The Lost Boys 1987
The Lost Boys is what happens when you take male anxiety about their women being corrupted in Dracula and swap it for the parental anxiety about peer pressure in the 80s, which are much the same thing if you think about it.
It’s about “Truth, Justice and the American Way”. Michael and Sam Emerson accompany their recently-divorced mother Lucy to the beach town of Santa Carla to start a new life. Michael’s is about to end. He falls in with a bad crowd and winds up drinking blood which triggers a transformation.
The Lost Boys has Edgar and Allan Frog in lieu of Van Helsing. Edgar and Allan run a comic store and fight off the evil undead in their downtime. They advise Sam on how to save his brother, although they think the quickest way is to kill Michael and be done with it. The boys embark on a search and destroy mission and hilarity ensues.
If you enjoyed this list, be sure to check out the events of Bram Stoker Festival 2016.