Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922 IMDb)

Categorization

German expressionist horror, illicitly based on Bram Stoker's novel Dracula, hence names are changed. “Nosferatu”, a term used in the novel, means “not-dead” or “undead”.

Subject

Count Orlok goes to town in 1838.

Commentary

Love the microscope shots.

References here: The Blow Out (1936), The Strain (2014).

movie

From the same novel (via a play):

Dracula (1931 IMDb)

Commentary

Darling special effects.

References here: The Mummy (1932).

movie

Spoof sequel:

Love at First Bite (1979 IMDb)

Categorization

One of at least three Dracula films from the same year, but its parody of the story is clearly centered on the 1931 version.

Subject

Living with Renfield, Dracula is suddenly evicted from his Transylvanian home by the Soviets. Fortunately, his great love has been reincarnated yet again. This time, she bites back.

Commentary

Great sympathy for the devil, and a great careless “hero”. Without that character flaw, Delta Green would have loved him. Extraordinarily racist, even more so than the original novel.

movie

Spin-off:

Hotel Transylvania (2012 IMDb)

Viewing

Seen in 2017.

Review refers to the Swedish dub.

Categorization

Children’s comedy spoofing mainly Universal horror movies.

Subject

Dracula is a single father. His beloved daughter, who takes the place of Bram Stoker’s Lucy Westenra and “Mina” Harker, is just turning 118. He is scared she might move out of his secret hotel for monsters.

Commentary

If one’s attention is confined to the character-based comedic writing and its animated implementation, this is very good. As a children’s film it’s a cut above the norm insofar as the villain is the protagonist, although his “change of heart” comes too easily, is received far too warmly by his customers—on the basis of an insincere theory of love—and costs him virtually nothing. Even the burns disappear with a quick texture meld within a scene.

No reasons are given why all monsters, even the sane Invisible Man (1933) and The Wolf Man (1941), both living outside of Dracula’s staged world, have lost touch with humanity and bought into the hotel owner’s propaganda. Instead, we get vapid celebratory representations of that humanity, like a kick scooter, a halfpipe reference, autotune and rap, contrasted against things like extra slow bingo, a mean-spirited parody of old people, painfully at odds with the atmosphere of the hotel in every other scene. Outside the character interactions, it’s a weak script, and the writers know it. There are numerous goofs, e.g. the contact lenses inserted, incongruously, to explain why Dracula cannot mind-control the problem away, whereupon he mind-controls a pilot through a windshield. Even the costly animation has its flaws: At dawn the sunlight moves upward across the castle roof, perhaps because the director wanted Mavis to burn her foot and didn’t care or think about logic. This is what happens when Hollywood pays more attention to casting than writing.

animation movie

Remake:

Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979 IMDb)

Commentary

Far too much light (daylight and high-power artificial sources, not achieving chiaroscuro), not enough music, poorly conceived hybrid script, very silly prosthetic teeth (extend the canines, not the incisors! Rat symbolism doesn't work that way!), sterile “crowd” scenes. In the end, no punch, neither horrific nor stylistically accomplished. Probably just not enough money, but good actors.

movie

From the same novel (again via a play):

Dracula (1979 IMDb)

From the same novel:

Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992 IMDb)

Commentary

In a perversion of the already complex development of this “franchise”, there was a new “book of the film” for this version: James Hart's “Bram Stoker's Dracula”. I look forward to the book of the film of “James Hart's Bram Stoker's Dracula”.

documentary movie

Parody of this and the preceding films:

Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995 IMDb)

Sequel to the story of the novel:

Dracula 2000 (2000 IMDb)