As part of our ’13 Days of Halloween 2022′ content, we asked Dean Mason of Bleeding Raven and Gnostic Gorilla to tell us about his favourite horror movie.
Here we are, approaching Halloween yet again (Samhein) and with that comes the revisiting of the “vampire” myths, especially the most famous vampire… Dracula.
I admit at the outset, that for most of my young life, whenever I heard the name “Dracula”…I immediately imagined Christopher Lee’s portrayal of the legend. As a kid, whenever the old Christopher Lee “Dracula” movies came on late at night, or Saturday afternoons during October, the bloke left an impression on me. He was a cold, vicious, dark and sinister but also slick Dracula. As Gary Numan once remarked in an interview, when asked if he was into vampire movies, he said, “No! And I wouldn’t fancy meeting Christopher Lee in the dark! That bloke gives me the shivers”. (He made that comment because the interviewer remarked about his “vampire like” look…especially the cover of REPLICAS)
Yes, Bela Lugosi’s portrayal of the famous vampire—Dracula— is certainly a classic, but for me personally Christopher Lee was “Dracula”.
However, come 1992, when Gary Oldman played DRACULA in Francis Ford Coppola’s version of the Bram Stoker myth…everything changed. Honestly, and I admit this is a personal opinion, Gary Oldman’s manifestation of Prince Vlad is THE absolute best portrayal since Christopher Lee and Jack Palance.
The cinematography and makeup FX etc. in Coppola’s Dracula is breathtaking…especially the first time one views this now classic vampire movie. But it needs to be said that Oldman’s acting was absolutely genius! At times Dracula was a charming young prince, at other times a very old wizard like creep, and then there were the extremely horrific manifestations of the beast as a giant decrepit bat that turned into a colony of rats in a instant when faced with Hopkins’ pious presentation of Van Helsing.
The way in which the Coppola story evolved is brilliant. Much of it was focused on the romantic connection between Mina and her “handsome prince”. In this version of Dracula, the story ends…it really ends. It doesn’t allude to a sequel…it ends with Mina’s beheading of Dracula at his request. Dracula ceases to be the undead beast and returns to an original state of grace if you will and is reconciled with God. It was Mina’s persistent love towards Prince Vlad that would be the conduit of his salvation. It’s an interesting twist to the vampire legend…and it ends not in everlasting evil but the triumph of love.
Love never dies.