You may have noticed a small change with my blog. Thanks to B-Sol at The Vault Of Horror, I now have a new banner for my blog. He came up with a better banner than what I was thinking of for it, so thank you B-Sol. I do appreciate it very, very much. I have had it for a while now, but I wanted to wait to use it when it was B-Sol's turn at the guest spot light. Since it is now up, and being shown off, I guess that means it is time to hear from B-Sol!
I met B-Sol kind of through CRwM. When the contest for favorite female horror blogger came around, CRwM encouraged me to throw my blog in with all the rest. I didn't want to at first, but I folded on the last day to enter into it. From there I have talked to B-Sol on and off. He is a really good guy who will go out of his way to help out. You can even see this in his blog at times, as he tries to get other blogs involved with what he has planned. Since I don't go around asking people to check out my blog, it is always nice when blogs that are more popular are willing to share the love, so to speak. Not only is he willing to share, but he also keeps his blog interesting with a wide variety of things within the horror world. If you haven't checked out his blog by now, and I would be very surprised if you haven't already, then you should. If for no other reason than to check out the pod cast with Roddy Piper!
Since B-Sol is nice enough to get other blogs involved with his ideas, it seemed only right that I invite him to do a guest post here. The Vault Of Horror is one of my favorite blogs, don't get me wrong about that. I enjoy heading over there to see what B-Sol has come up with next. Anyway, here is the B-Sol himself to tell us about one of his favorite movies.
I’d like to talk a bit about a movie that I realize is far from universally loved, yet has always been close to my heart, and one of my favorite horror movies of all time. It’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola.
When this movie first came out, I went to the theater to see it a total of six different times. Each time, I would find people that I knew who had never seen it, and drag them out to go see it, mainly so I would have an excuse to see it again.
At the time, I was in college and on a huge Anne Rice kick. And for me, Coppola’s vision of Stoker’s novel was as much an interesting adaptation of a long-cherished horror classic as it was a perfect synthesis of Rice’s contributions to the vampire mythos.
Because let’s face it, the movie is not the ultra-faithful adaptation of the original novel it’s marketers touted it as in 1992. After all, Bram never had even the slightest hint of a love affair between Drac and Mina, and all that reincarnation stuff was a pure invention of the filmmakers. Yet what the film did was to distill the best of what Rice brought to the table, and graft it on to the most recognized vampire tale of all.
Call it hammy if you like, but I found Gary Oldman’s performance as Dracula to be breathtaking, and I still think he deserved an Oscar nomination for it. The problem with the role has always been the shadow of Bela Lugosi that has lingered over everyone else that attempted it—yes, even Christopher Lee. But what Oldman did was to absolutely and completely make it his own. And for that, I applaud him.
The rest of the cast, admittedly, is hit and miss. I love Cary Elwes as the stuffy Arthur Holmwood, and Richard E. Grant is interesting as Dr. Seward. Tom Waits is amazing as Renfield—this was my first exposure to him, and I was shocked to discover he was American and not British.
But then you have a way too over-the-top Anthony Hopkins chewing up the scenery as Van Helsing—he makes the stagey Edward Van Sloan appear to be a study in subtlety. And then there’s Keanu. Oh boy. The man almost single-handedly derailed the flick with his terrible, awkward performances. Almost.
But despite Keanu, BSD fascinated me utterly from beginning to end. The gorgeous set design, the lush costumes, and that instantly iconic score by Wojciech Kilar—a European composer I can’t believe has never made bigger strides in America, given his obvious talent. That foreboding and majestic music is a big part of what makes this movie work.
Over the years, the reputation of this movie seems to have taken a hit, I suspect owing to some of the somewhat histrionic performances. Or maybe it’s due to the perceived disingenuousness surrounding the adaptation, whose faithfulness was far less than Coppola declared it to be. Nevertheless, it does remain perhaps the most faithful adaptation we’ve seen thus far. And I stand by the belief I’ve held for the past 17 years, that when all is said and done, Francis Ford Coppola will be remembered as the guy who directed The Godfather, Apocalypse Now, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula.