Reviews of “Dracula’s Guest” (1914) and related work

“Dracula’s Guest” (1914)

Bram Stoker (writer).

Read in 2017.

The date of publication is posthumous. This was probably intended as the first chapter for an early draft of Dracula (1897), but it’s stylistically disparate.

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Dracula (1897)

Bram Stoker (writer).

References here: Nerd argues about distinction between fantasy and science fiction, “Dracula’s Guest” (1914), “Sucker of Souls” (2019).

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‣‣ Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens (1922)

Count Orlok goes to town in 1838.

German expressionist horror, illicitly based on Bram Stoker’s novel, hence names are changed. “Nosferatu”, a term used in the novel, means “not-dead” or “undead”. I love the microscope shots; these were taken during the third pandemic of the bubonic plague (1855–1960), in which the cause of that disease was discovered.

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

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‣‣‣ Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (1979)

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.

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‣‣ Dracula (1931)

Darling special effects.

References here: The Mummy (1932).

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‣‣‣ Love at First Bite (1979)

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.

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

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‣‣‣ Hotel Transylvania (2012)

Seen in 2017.

Review refers to the Swedish dub.

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.

Children’s comedy spoofing mainly Universal horror movies. 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 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 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.

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‣‣ Dracula (1979)

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‣‣ Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

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”.

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‣‣‣ Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)

Parody of US film adaptations to date.

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‣‣ Dracula 2000 (2000)

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