Saturday, October 1, 2011
Dracula 1931 vs Dracula 1992....ish?
going with the Stamp to start this review out. I'd hate to start out the review like this because this is a comparative work, but it's funny to think of how much Bela Lugosi influenced our image of vampires and how little that's changed in almost 100 years now. Before Bela Lugosi's Dracula vampires were not sexy, I would like to point out THIS is what people used to think of vampires.
How Max Shreck EVER got laid as a vampire is beyond me. But Bela Lugosi? you can see it in his trip to the opera in like the third scene of Dracula from 1931, women were just DYING(haha) to polish his stake? oh my god that sentence made me want to kill myself and almost die laughing at the same time.
Ok, so it's easy to say Dracula from 1931 is the better film, but honestly is it? the 92 dracula had some GREAT and I don't use that term lightly but it had some absolutely wonderful aspects to it. this is going to be a rant, so hold on and let's look at which is better at least for this time of year.
Score: this is an easy place to start, Dracula from 1931 barely had any music and what music they did have was reworked and remastered for 1992 just to show you the comparison of the main theme here. 1931 vs 1992 the 1992 vs is more ominous, I think the 1931 version is the better song, but the score through out the film is better and borrows just enough to tie it to the original while in it's own way making something new. so score goes to 1992. BTW, the Phillip Glass score that comes with the 1931 universal edition, 1992 still wins.
So comparing the Dracula's Gary Oldman vs Bela Lugosi
This is almost a draw, Gary Oldman really did a wonderful job in the most recent adaptation (that was memorable and not awful) of Dracula, he was sexy, he was evil, he was gary oldman 20 years ago. I'd hate to be predictable here, but Bela Lugosi really is the only reason Gary Oldman was able to portray Dracula the way he did. point goes to 1931 and Bela, this did end up being the role that defined him, no one else has had the same effect on cinematic history.
1:1 TIE GAME!
Special effects: this is another easy one, the 1992 version had practical effects but at no point did you think everything was fake. A lot of the special effects in the 1931 version take place off screen meaning they're not special....or even effects...they're just people going "look a wolf over that way!" They have some incredible transformations, a significant amount of the budget was put in to costumes and scenery and it shows. If anything can be said about the 1992 version of Dracula, it's a BEAUTIFUL film, problems? yes, but pretty? FUCK YEAH! point here goes to 1992.
side Characters: The presence of Reeves as Harker, and Ryder as Mina make me just want to say 1931 and move on. I'll also say Dwight Frye does a WONDERFUL job as Renfield. BUT then again Anthony Hopkins is the superior Van Helsing. while Edward Van sloan was maybe more believable as a professor who spent his life studying the undead, Anthony Hopkins could more believably fuck shit up, and Lucy, who has literally 1 scene in the old one, takes a more important role in the 1992 film and you actually feel for her when she's killed by the wolf Gary Oldman. I'm gonna go tie here based on the strength of side characters from both films. this is in fact was the only one that wasn't clear cut for me, despite Keanu Reeves trying to speak in an english accent for 2 hours....seriously 2 hours of trying to listen to that man speak in an english accent! FUCK IT!
2:2 point goes to 1931 for side characters FUCK YOU REEVES! Yeah! I totally owned you on my blog...yeah.
Story? it's pretty much the same, 1992 adds more motivation for Dracula making him a more believable character and making the movie more understandable as a result. The 1931 version is pretty much just Van Helsing VS Dracula and it's hard to care about anyone in it. Don't get me wrong, I watch this film pretty regularly, I like it A LOT! Personal bias aside the 1992 film was just better scripted.
While the original is well worth seeing, and in it's own right a great film, the 1992 one, while it is flawed as well is the better film. I know this doesn't seem to convincing, and a lot of fans of the 1931 film will argue that it's the superior film, but while I won't deny the other it's place in cinema history, I won't sit her deny a film, which was great in it's own right, it's place in history. If you're looking for 1 dracula to watch this halloween, watch the spanish version.....wait! I still haven't Reviewed that one!