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Bram Stoker's Dracula

Love Never Dies. 

Year: 1992 
Running Time:
Aspect Ratio: 1.85:1 (XWide) 
Certificate: BBFC 18 Cert – Not suitable for under 18s 
Subtitles: The level of subtitling in this film is unknown to WSC 
Directed by Unknown 
Starring: Unknown  

Throughout the history of movie making, vampires have provided a reliable, if often cliched, storyline, turning up in countless dubious flicks. So it is refreshing to see in 'Dracula', director Francis Ford Coppola ('Godfather' trilogy and 'Apocalypse Now'), firstly returning to his previous form and secondly returning to Bram Stoker's original tale (hence the film's title), developing the story usually sacrificed in favour of endless carnage. I am of course, referring to the sacrificial-love-that-defies-time theme, superbly played by the leads, Oldman and Ryder.

The film's action moves beween Victorian England and Vlad/Dracula's Transylvanian castle (where Reeves is soon incarcerated as the sex slave of a group of scantily clad girls known as the Brides of Dracula), but centres on the heroine Mina (Ryder). Presented as a reincarnation of Dracula's great love five centuries earlier, Mina is torn between good and evil, the good meaning nursing her victim friend Lucy (Frost) on a rapid decine from flirt to undead blood-spewer and being faithful to her rather dull estate-agent fiance Jonathan Harker (Reeves); while evil means gadding about with the strange, but glamourous foreign prince who wears blue granny glasses, and quaffs many dubious substances. Far from Mills and Boon twaddle, Dracula is a real love story that will engage even the most cynical hearts. The passion that endured for four centuries is resurrected in the powerful attraction between Dracula and Mina, and is played out in incredible, lavish, Oscar-winning costumes and stunning sets accompanied by an excellent, atmospheric soundtrack. The film also won Oscars of Best Make-up and Sound Effects Editing, and was nominated for Art Direction.

The performances live up to the film's lavish appearance, but special credit must go to Gary Oldman who is consistently brilliant whether playing a 15th century knight, a rather wrinkly, pancaked host at his castle, a 19th century amorous Edgar Alan Poe look-a-like or any of the host of forms he transmogrifies into. Anthony Hopkins is in sparkling form as Van Helsing and Tom Waites steals several scenes as the maggot-munching maniac Renfield, while Winona Ryder raises herself above her typecast teen roles and proves herself as an adult actress of great worth.

All in all a stunning picture, laced with action suspense, often demented humour, drama and award-worthy acting, and a film that Bram Stoker himself would undoubtedly have been proud of.


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Screenings of this film:

1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Autumn Term (35mm)
1993/1994 Summer Term (16mm)
1994/1995 Summer Term (35mm)
1998/1999 Summer Term (35mm)