Monday, June 02, 2014

dan curtis' dracula

Just released on Blu-ray, Dan Curtis' Dracula features Academy Award winner Jack Palance (City Slickers, Shane, Barabbas) in the title role of the Transylvanian count. Produced and directed by Dan Curtis of Dark Shadows fame, the film adds a more romantic spin to Bram Stoker's classic tale, with Dracula obsessed with a beautiful young woman who resembles his long-lost wife. The film was written by science-fiction and horror legend Richard Matheson (I Am Legend, The Box, Trilogy of Terror), who pared down Stoker's epistolary tale to a fast-moving, but still scary 98-minute film.

The always charismatic Palance is impressive as Dracula.  ...

Jack Palance as Count Dracula

Fiona Lewis as Lucy, after she has spent some time with the Count
... Considered one of the scarier versions of the tale, even co-star Nigel Davenport seemed put off by Palance's take on Dracula, "I was pretty frightened of that gentleman, because he was so bloody tall! He was six-foot-four and, as he wanted to look like Dracula, he had three-inch lifts in his shoes, so he was like six-foot-seven ..."

Dan Curtis' Dracula, although adapted from Stoker, made some changes to the origin story that turned up in subsequent vampire films. Dracula's search for his lost love was not only similar to Curtis' anti-hero Barnabas Collins love for Josette from Dark Shadows, but was also echoed in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula and Gary Oldman's more romantic take on the Count. Coppola's Dracula also followed Curtis' version in taking Stoker's inspiration for the character, historical figure Vlad the Impaler, and making him and Dracula one and the same. With an emphasis on scares, and even (gasp) blood, it's great to re-welcome Dan Curtis' Dracula to the filmed pantheon of the infamous bloodthirsty Count.

You can read my complete review on Cinema Sentries


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