Director – John Badham (Short Circuit, Saturday Night Fever)
Starring – Frank Langella (Masters of the Universe, Brainscan), Laurence Olivier (Clash of the Titans, Spartacus), and Donald Pleasence (Halloween, Escape from New York)
Release Date – 1979
Rating – 4/5
Blu Release – 4/5
Tagline – “Throughout history he has filled the hearts of men with terror, and the hears of women with desire”
My Dracula marathon has finally come to an end. After a week or working through the Hammer Dracula series I decided to end with a Dracula film that has nothing to do with Hammer. In 1979 John Badham directed the Frank Langella lead Dracula adaptation that also featured Laurence Olivier and Donald Pleasence.
This is one of those movies I had found many years ago when I first started collecting movies and never got around to checking it out. I want to thank Scream Factory for sending a review copy my way. I have no idea why I slept on this film for so long because I absolutely loved it!
**Spoiler Alert**The movie follows Count Dracula who buys Carnifex Abby and moves to London. He meets Jonathan Harker, his girlfriend Lucy, Mina, her father Dr. Seward, and Lucy’s father Van Helsing. Once Dracula arrives Mina falls ill and soon dies. Upon her body they find two puncture wounds on her neck but Dr. Seward dismisses it as of importance. Soon Minas father arrives to bury his daughter and suspects that Dracula is more than just a count relocating to London. Soon Lucy starts to show the same symptoms as Mina forcing Van Helsing and Jonathan to work fast before Dracula can fully turn her into one of his brides.**Spoiler Alert**
I blame the boring ass artwork on the DVDs that I saw when I first started collecting. They made me think that the film was more romance than horror which was something I just didn’t want to fucking see. However, after finally checking it out I can safely admit that I fucking missed the boat on this one. It was fantastic and easily the best Dracula movie in my marathon.
The acting in this one is fucking top notch. Frank Langella is superb as Dracula. Sure, he looks ridiculous but he still delivers a phenomenal performance. I didn’t care for the way he looked but his acting makes the film. The same can be said for Jonathan Harker who was portrayed by Trevor Eve. He does a fantastic job as well. With that being said, Donald Pleasence and Laurence Olivier do decent jobs but their characters are just not likable. They are extremely bland and even a screen great like Pleasence could save it. The supporting cast is solid as well.
The story for this one does follow the book to an extent but the film does take some liberties. Honestly, I had a lot of fun with this one. I was pulled in and the changes to the novel does keep the viewer on their toes to an extent. There is some romance still in the film but it wouldn’t be Dracula without that little love triangle aspect. The film has great pacing and the viewer will find themselves quickly disregarding the film’s lengthy run time.
Finally, the film does have your typical vampire kills but they are more graphic than most vampire films of the time. The kills are rather brutal and we get some great practical effects. This was the aspect that impressed me the most with the film. I was not expecting the brutality and awesome effects. Overall, Dracula 1979 is fucking amazing. I absolutely loved this film and the blu from Scream Factory is god damn beautiful. I highly recommend checking this one out and adding it to your collection!
DISC ONE: DESATURATED COLOR TIMING
NEW Introduction By Director John Badham
NEW King Of My Kind – An Interview With John Badham
NEW What Sad Music – An Interview With Writer W.D. Richter
NEW Dracula’s Guest – An Interview With Camera Assistant Jim Alloway
NEW Interview With Editor John Bloom
NEW Interview With Make-Up Artist Peter Robb-King
NEW Interview With Hair Stylist Colin Jamison
NEW Interview With Assistant Director Anthony Waye
NEW Interview With Production Manager Hugh Harlow
Audio Commentary With Director John Badham
The Revamping Of Dracula Featurette
DISC TWO: ORIGINAL THEATRICAL COLOR TIMING
NEW 4K Scan Of The Best Available Original Film Elements
NEW Introduction By Director John Badham
NEW Audio Commentary By Film Historian/Filmmaker Constantine Nasr