7 Alternative Dracula Entertainment Pieces To Watch
This Thursday, May 26 marks World Dracula Day, commemorating the 125th (!) anniversary of the publication of the original novel. To celebrate, horror fans can always stick to the classics: Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931), Christopher Lee in Dracula Horror (1958), or even Gary Oldman in Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), my favorite.
But if you’re looking for something a little less conventional to mark the occasion – this World Dracula Day or any other World Dracula Day – read on…
Blood for Dracula a.k.a Andy Warhol’s Dracula (1974)
Although Dracula is portrayed as repulsive and horrifying in Stoker’s novel, he was so well established as alluring through the various media adaptations that his appearance in this Paul Morrissey film was genuinely subversive. As Count, Udo Kier is utterly pathetic, a wheelchair-bound wretch desperate to hold on to virgin blood – but, alas, there’s little to be found in the Italian villa where he and servant Anton (Arno Juerging ) attempt to ingratiate themselves with the former wealthy Fiore family.
Dracula sets his sights on the girls (Milena Vukotic, Dominique Darel, Stefania Casini and Silvia Dionisio) whom Il Marchese di Fiore (Vittorio de Sica) hopes to marry. But their daring behavior — the eldest daughters don’t mind going topless in public or dating, for example — leads Kier to bellow the immortal line, “These bitches’ blood is killing me!!!!” (His epic vomiting scene in an ornate bathroom is a spectacle.) Kier delivers it with a ridiculous Eastern European accent, while Marxist handyman Mario (Joe Dallesandro at his finest) speaks in pure Brooklynese .
The movie is a campy delight, with gorgeous locations, explicit sex (Mario makes sure not a drop of virgin blood is left, especially once he’s aware of Dracula’s machinations) and a dose of humor. exhilarating.
Available on Shudder and Vudu.
Monster Cereals Records: “Monsters Go Disco”, “Monster Adventures in Outer Space”, “Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood” (1979)
Dracula was immortalized in cereal form with the introduction of Count Chocula in 1971, and by the time these discs were included in specially marked boxes he had been joined by Monster Cereal characters Frankenberry and Boo Berry. These entertaining adventures feature a Lugosi-lite vocal portrayal of the Earl, while Boo Berry steals the show with a delightful Peter Lorre impression. In “Count Chocula Goes to Hollywood”, the monsters travel to Los Angeles after the Count “wins” a television role involving dangerous stunts. The producer, of course, continues to call it “Baby Account”. My favorite is “Monsters Go Disco”, in which the trio compete in a disco dance contest and meet the “Donna Disco” sound. “Hey guys, let’s go to the disco,” she buzzes, sounding like she’s just come out of Warhol’s factory.
Surely it was fun for the kids, but it’s also fun for the adults.
Available on YouTube.
The Halloween that almost wasn’t a.k.a The night Dracula saved the world (1979)
I grew up watching this Emmy-winning TV show courtesy of Disney Channel, and it was surely a major influence on my love of horror and classic monsters. The cast includes all the biggies: Dracula (Judd Hirsch), Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy, a Zombie and the Witch (Mariette Hartley). When the witch feels underappreciated by Dracula, she goes on strike, refusing to perform her annual broom ride on the moon to kick off Halloween. Dracula tries to force her participation, but naturally learns to appreciate her instead – with the help of adorable costumed children. The special offers a straightforward explanation of the party’s origins, but it’s the antics and monstrous banter that make this experience unforgettable.
The Witch’s Castle was actually Lyndhurst’s magnificent mansion in Tarrytown, New York (also the 1970s setting House of Dark Shadows film). The performances of Hirsch and Hartley are remarkable: as Bob Madison writes in Dracula: The First Hundred Years (1997), “Judd Hirsch of Television Taxi did an outrageous impersonation of Bela Lugosi’s Dracula… Hirsch is having a great time and maintains a hectoring banter with Henry Gibson’s Ygor throughout. For fans of classic monsters, The Halloween that almost wasn’t is a loving tribute to Halloween.
Available on YouTube.
“Treehouse of Horror IV”, The simpsons (1993)
For this take-off inspired by Rod Serling night gallery, Matt Groening and co. delivered the perfect “Bart Simpson’s Dracula” pitch. Mr. Burns assumes the mantle of Dracula (“His hairstyle is so weird”), inviting the clan to his home in “Pennylvania”. Naturally, Lisa discovers her true nature, but is powerless to prevent the rest of her family from succumbing to the curse of vampirism.
In typical anarchist Simpsons style, we get slide gags, denture fangs, and a climax takeoff on A Charlie Brown Christmas (?!).
Available on Disney Plus.
Dracula: dead and in love (1995)
After the resounding success of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), Mel Brooks created a sequel to his classic Young Frankenstein (1974). As such, it’s more of a homage to the Lugosi era than Francis Ford Coppola’s film, although the director takes the opportunity to dress star Leslie Nielsen in Oldman’s instantly iconic hairstyle. Brooks plays Van Helsing, while the formidable actor Peter MacNicol (Ghostbusters II) nearly walks away with the film as Renfield.
Bob Madison writes in Dracula: The First Hundred Years (1997), “An inept villain with two crooked fangs who trips over bat poo, crawls around walls and trades crude Moldavian insults, Nielsen is a delight. …Although not in the same league as Brooks Young Frankenstein, Dracula: dead and in love guarantees laughs for any Dracula fan.
A postal product Scream era– and nominally “featured” by Wes Craven– Dracula 2000 is a fun and silly attempt to reinvent Dracula for the new millennium. The pulpy story sees a descendant of Van Helsing (Christopher Plummer) pursue an escaped Dracula (a pre-famous Gerard Butler) to contemporary New Orleans, where the latter searches for his oblivious descendant Mary (Justine Waddell). The film has many fun and tacky aspects, from the early 2000s cast (Omar Epps! Danny Masterson! Jeri Ryan! Vitamin Freakin’ C!), to the excessive Virgin Megastore product placement, to the bombastic soundtrack. made of metal. But damn if it’s not fun.
Director Patrick Lussier (My Bloody Valentine 3D) delivers a slick film that never pretends to be anything more than a hyper-stylized, hokey twist on the Dracula mythos.
Available on Paramount Plus.
“Buffy vs. Dracula,” buffy the vampire slayer (2000)
2000 was a banner year for Dracula, with Dracula 2000the Nosferatu theme The shadow of the vampireand this memorable episode from the fifth season of the classic “Buffy” series.
Buffy and the gang tangle with the most famous bloodsucker of them all (a formidable Rudolf Martin), and episode writers Joss Whedon and Marti Noxon and director David Solomon get all the fun out of the premise. Perhaps the most inspired bit is Dracula’s Renfield-ization of hapless Xander (Nicholas Brendon), a common thread that later carried over into the official comics. True to the character’s enduring appeal, Dracula is ultimately “beaten” by Buffy – but not defeated.
Available on Amazon Prime and Hulu.
How do you celebrate World Dracula Day? Comment below and let us know!