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Vampires

Dracula (1979)

R2V SummaryAn almost Gothic presentation of repressed sexuality
Duration1h 49m
RatingsUK: X, USA: R, Norway: 18 
Source of storyA 1920s play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderson itself based on the Bram Stoker book.
DirectorJohn Badham
Writers/ScriptW.D. Richter
StarringFrank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Kate Nelligan, Trevor Eve, Jan Francis, Teddy Turner, Sylvester McCoy, 
RatingsIMDb: 6.5 by 9.6k people .  Rotten Tomatoes: 59% by 17 reviewers.

Elevator Pitch: This is Whitby after the turn of the 20th Century and Dr Jack Seward runs what was known then as a Lunatic Asylum on the coast, to which is attached his own dwelling. Staying in the house is his daughter Lucy and her friend Mina Van Helsing. Lucy’s fiancée Jonathan Harker is dealing with the legal requirements of a newly arrived Count Dracula. The charming count sees the young women as a means of satisfying his need for human blood and they, in turn, respond to his hypnotic approach. When Mina dies Dr Seward contacts her father, but can Van Helsing deal with the count and prevent Lucy from becoming a vampire? 

Content: No sex or nudity, but some heavy breathing. There is social drinking. There are scenes in the lunatic asylum as men who have been associated with Dracula go mad. There is a dramatic shipwreck as Dracula’s transport to Whitby is derailed. Social events take place in the doctor’s house. Mina and Lucy are often seen sleeping in the same bed and when one of them is absent the count bites the remaining one. He, by the way, is often seen creeping up or down walls and also turning into a bat or a wolf. Vampires are staked.

A View: If you know that this film was made from a play which, by the way was extremely successful, the rather odd structure becomes obvious. It was not very well liked by either the critics or the general public. The curious washed out colour was the result of a re-issue on DVD in 1991. So not really a watch unless you have a particular interest vampires on film. 

Other Dracula films on this site: Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Dracula Untold. Also try my Vampire Movie Podcast.

About Victor R Gibson

Author of this site three technical books and two novels

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