Monday, November 18, 2013

Jess Franco's Count Dracula (1970)

As a kid, my earliest understanding of Count Dracula came from The Monster Squad (1987), Count Chocula, Sesame Street, and a mythical final boss I could never get to in the Nintendo game Castlevania 2: Simon’s Quest. None of which was the proper way to get to know The Count, of course. And so, I remained ignorant of the real legend of Count Dracula until fairly recently when I was instilled with a desire to read Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), following a pleasurably short read from Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1872). Thanks to Stoker’s novel, I’ve been on quite the Dracula kick lately, watching a lot of films based on the novel, such as Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror (1922), Dracula (1931), Horror of Dracula (1958), Count Dracula (1970), Nosferatu: The Vampyre (1979), Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), and Dracula 3D (2012).

I really think we would’ve had a near-perfect adaptation with Francis Ford Coppola’s version from 1992, if it weren’t for the love story between Dracula and Mina thrown in, and I don’t think Lucy was supposed to seem so promiscuous, either. I’m actually not offended by a soft Dracula that could genuinely fall in love with a living woman without wishing her any harm; just don’t shoehorn it into an adaptation of Stoker’s novel. A lot of people who haven’t read the book will probably think it was a romance novel. I actually thought it was an interesting idea in Count Dracula’s Great Love (1974), where Paul Naschy created and portrayed, for the first time, Count Dracula as a romantic softie.