Today I am watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula for the very first time. This is a movie I’ve had on my ‘watch list’ for years – ever since it came out, actually – and today I am finally giving it a go.
I didn’t watch this movie back in 1992 because I was a little too young and I’ve not watched it in the years that followed because I’ve heard mixed things. Today is the day when I find out if Bram Stoker’s Dracula is worth two hours of my time, or if it just… *cough* …sucks.
*Clicks the play button*
1min – A little bit of backstory to begin.
2mins – Visually, this sequence is superb, but I’m not quite convinced by the voice over. Is that Sir Anthony Hopkins doing an accent? What country is he supposed to be from? TransylWales?
4mins – Why does Sir Anthony Hopkins look like Hagrid in this opening scene?
5mins – Gary Oldman is making some kind of blood pact. It’s all very Gothic. I like it!
6mins 30secs – The story has just jumped forward four hundred years, to a time when Keanu Reeves is attempting a British accent. It’s painful.
7mins 30secs – Sweet jeez, Keanu Reeves and Winona Ryder are confessing their love to each other. They also seem to be competing to win the award for ‘Worst Accent in This Movie’. I think I know who is going to win.
11mins – Putting all these AWFUL accents aside, this film is mesmerising to look at.
12mins 40secs – Gary Oldman is back and he looks like hell. Those four hundred years have not been kind to him.
16mins 20secs – Gary Oldman has hairy palms. This is what happens when you spend 400 years living alone in a castle. Surprisingly, his eyesight is fine.
22mins – Richard E. Grant and Cary Elwes are in this movie! I had no idea.
26mins 40secs – Gary Oldman is brilliant in this movie. Keanu Reeves is not.
30mins – Keanu Reeves is being kept prisoner by Gary Oldman. The charge? Crimes against acting, I think.
33mins – Sex scene alert! Keanu Reeves is copping off with a couple of vampires. I think one has bitten him in a place that no man should be bitten.
34mins – Oh… he seems to like it. Whatever floats your boat, Keanu.
40mins – OK, so everything has gone a bit weird. The music has got very dramatic, Winona Ryder is running around a garden and the crew members working the wind machine are having a field day. I don’t think this movie can get any more bonkers…
42mins – Sadie Frost is shagging Gary Oldman, who is dressed as a werewolf. Yep, this film just upped the weird factor.
51mins – Not content with doing the horizontal tango with Sadie Frost, Gary Oldman is now trying it on with Winona Ryder. Only he seems to be suffering from performance anxiety.
52mins – Gary Oldman is now letting Winona Ryder stroke his wolf. That’s not a euphemism – it’s a real wolf. That said, if he asks her to go back to the castle to stroke his bullocks she should probably decline.
56mins – Sir Anthony Hopkins is back and he appears to be playing the role of Van Helsing. Hang on a minute, how many parts does he have in this movie? So far he’s played a priest, a narrator and now Van Helsing! Nice work if you can get it.
1hr 10mins – Sir Anthony Hopkins seems to be trying it on with Winona Ryder. Bloody hell, is everyone trying to get a bit of Ryder?
1hr 15mins – The wind machine has been cranked up to 11. This thing’s getting more work than Sir Anthony Hopkins.
1hr 30mins – Insert comment about Keanu Reeves’s accent.
1hr 37mins – Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder are about to get it on again.
1hr 45mins – So, Winona Ryder is partway to becoming a vampire, leading Van Helsing to set out on a mission to kill Gary Oldman, in order to free her from the curse of vampirism. #Noble #HeWantsHer #NeverGonnaHappen
1hr 50mins – Winona Ryder is getting hungry and irritable. Quick, someone get her a Snickers!
1hr 58mins – Insert comment about Keanu Reeves’s accent.
2hrs – Gary Oldman is dead. Blimey, that was pretty easy. Oh and the film has ended.
2hrs 2mins – Annie Lennox – Love Song for a Vampire is being played over the end credits. I feel this should have been shoehorned into the movie somewhere.
What a bizarre, yet intriguing movie. Bram Stoker’s Dracula looks gorgeous and is very atmospheric, yet it is also as mad as a box of frogs. One moment it is a dark, very intense movie designed to unnerve, while the next moment it is as camp as Christmas and all very hammy. Keanu Reeves is out of his depth and I am not quite sure what film Sir Anthony Hopkins thinks he is in. But putting all that to one side, it is actually not bad.
Would I watch it again? Yes, I would return to it. Gary Oldman is magnificent, and gives a very captivating performance, and the visuals are another level. The design work on display here is stunning.
For me, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is one of those movies that is flawed, yet fascinating. I almost want to know more about the behind the scenes work than the actual film itself. But either way, there is a great deal of gold to be mined here.
Good work. Very good work.
If you enjoyed reading about my first flush with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, then you might like to know this is just one of 100 movies which appear in my new book: Rewind to the ’90s – A Journey Through 100 Movies of the 1990s.
The book is available as a digital edition from Amazon and features discussions on movies such as including Saving Private Ryan, Quigley Down Under, and Weekend at Bernie’s II, amongst many others.
Disclaimer: I earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article.
One Response to Watching Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
watch the beginning, Winona who is supposed to be dead flinches during some of the she’s dead shots, especially in shots where she is not in the action box, never noticed it till now because HD was not a thing back in the day when I had it on VHS. Only since I watched the Blu-Ray version of it did I see that. But it is quite obvious if you know when and where to look.
Apparently, this problem will be plaguing any film made before the time of Blu-ray. Why? Because up until Blu-ray, movies were not stored in a lossless manner. VHS was terrible and often didn’t catch every frame, DVD used a lossy compression that lumped sections of images together that were ‘similar enough’. So those few segments of eye twitching were lost. Also, the flung off the river scene once in HD was obviously rigid and not a very good dummy. I won’t get started about the “blood”.
Other movies also suffer