The legendary creature Dracula has mesmerized readers and viewers for nearly a century. In Bram Stoker's masterpiece, Dracula, the infamous monster affects each reader in a different way. Some find the greatest fear to be the sacrilegious nature of his bloodsucking attacks, while others find themselves most afraid of Dracula's shadow-like omnipresent nature. The fascination with Dracula has assimilated into all parts of society. Dracula can now be seen selling breakfast cereals, making appearances on Sesame Street, and on the silver screen. Countless film adaptations of Stoker's original novel have been undertaken by the some of the most skilled directors in Hollywood including, Francis Ford Coppola who completed a film adaptation of Dracula in 1993.
In creating his film, Coppola strived to create a film that remained true to Stoker's original creation. In fact, he insisted upon calling the movie Bram Stoker's Dracula, but in reality the movie fell well short of his lofty goals. Coppola realized the complexity of Dracula's character and hoped to combine all of the irresistible qualities that have made him legendary. Coppola however, became too attached to the loving seductive nature of Dracula and neglected the monster's horror. Stoker's original novel centers on the fear Dracula creates and the omnipotent nature of his existence. Dracula only directly appears in the novel a few places. The majority of his existence occurs on a sub textual level, which starkly contrasts the most recent film version.
In Coppola's film, Dracula has a very active and visual role in almost every scene. It is quite understandable the temptation Coppola had of showing Dracula a...
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... it is not. The movie is simply a vehicle for making money and is not truly a retelling of the original Dracula. The story is not Stoker's and is merely Coppola's representation of what he feels Dracula means to people in the twentieth century. The film has certain aspects of fear but falls drastically short of the fear that exists in Stoker's classic story. The movie will simply be added to the long list of films that have attempted to recapture the magical horror of Stoker's novel but have fallen drastically short.
Holte, James Craig. Dracula in the Dark: The Dracula Film Adaptations. Westport: Greenwood Press, 1997.
Stoker, Bram. Dracula. New York: Signet, 1992.
Bram Stoker's Dracula. Screenplay by James V. Hart. Dir. Francis Ford Coppola. Perf. Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves. Columbia Tristar, 1992.
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