Search the Cinema Head Cheese Archives!

June 2, 2014

Movie Review: Dan Curtis' Dracula (Blu-ray)

There have been some amazing monsters created for books and film over the past few centuries but possibly the most iconic is Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  We’ve seen plenty of exceptional representations of the suave bloodsucker on film with Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Gary Oldman and even Frank Langella’s turn as Dracula. Horror TV producer extraordinaire Dan Curtis ( Dark Shadows, The Night Stalker, Trilogy of Terror) put his imprint on the vampire genre with the TV film, Bram Stokers’ Dracula starring the great Jack Palance (City Slickers, Alone in the Dark  ). MPI video has remastered this incarnation for Blu-ray and added some fine extras that may please genre fans.

Palance takes the lead as Dracula with veteran actor Nigel Davenport (Island of Dr. Moreau, The Portrait of Dorian Gray) playing the always doggedly determined vampire hunter Van Helsing. Dracula’s biggest weakness here, in addition to his stronge aversion to sunlight and crosses is the fact that he longs for being together with his lost love Lucy (Fiona Lewis, The Fearless Vampire Killers).

This incarnation of the Dracula story really is really propelled to the next level by the by pen of horror writer extraordinaire Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone, Trilogy of Terror) who infuses a romantic element and structures an almost fragile persona of Count Dracula. Drac has feelings...but this is what makes him all the more dangerous. Palance is as imposing as Christopher Lee with his stature and projects perfect menace as he throws grown men like their nothing. Palance’s chiseled facial features also add a look that really makes you not wanna be caught in a dark corridor with the fella.

Shot on film, Dan Curtis’ Dracula doesn’t feel like a television movie because it has that theatrical feel. MPI source material is in great shape and doesn’t bare noticeable DNR to my eyes. The overall color and fleshtones appear to be just fine on the whole and together this makes for a quality representation on the format. It would be wonderful to see Curtis’ other TV horror films get this kind of treatment on Blu-ray. Here’s hoping!

MPI has put together a few notable extras on the Blu-ray that includes outtakes, TV edits and a couple on camera interviews with star Jack Palance and the man himself, Dan Curtis. Both are from a few years back but still very good. I was kind of surprised to hear that the tough as nails Palance felt his character was quite scary. Curtis talks about the production process and how he actually ripped himself off in making the movie by taking some elements from his classic series Dark Shadows.

This television incarnation of the legendary bloodsucker gets a fine release from MPI and should give fans of the wonderful work of Dan Curtis a quality addition their library. Recommended

1 comment:

  1. interesting little trivial tidbit, associated with this exceptional version of the Dracula story...a year before this film's release, Marvel Comics began running their comic book rendition of the character, calling the publication, "Tomb of Dracula". Before even being aware of this film's production, the artists were inspired by Jack Palance's expressive visage, in creating their version of the character. If one check's out the resemblence between the two, it's quite uncanny...