High atop a foggy seaside cliff lies a foreboding asylum, home to the doctor (Donald Pleasence) who runs it, and his beautiful and free-spirited daughter, Lucy (Kate Nelligan). The doctor and Lucy have taken in Mina (Jay Francis), a weak and sickly young friend of Lucy's, whom they are attempting to nurse back to health. On a dark and gloomy night, a torrential storm ravages their coastal home and a ship crashes to its doom on a nearby craggy shore. The only survivor of the shipwreck, is a seductive and mysterious young man named Dracula (Frank Langella). The debonaire count charms the willing and nubile Mina, who is soon discovered dead from mysterious causes. In horror, her father is contacted and Van Helsing arrives in haste, only to discover the real identity of the suave and beguiling count, just as he has picked his new bride, the lovely Lucy. (official distributor synopsis)


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English First of all I have to say that Frank Langella is an absolutely great Dracula and I enjoyed every look, every gesture, every step. John Badham's dense atmosphere, backed by John Williams' music, is a major contributor, and there is nothing more apt to say about many of the scenes than that they are unforgettable (Dracula's first climb down the house, for example, is a horror extravaganza). As far as the story is concerned, it honors Stoker's novel, but at the same time it bends it substantially. But I guess I understand why the creators did something (for some) so blasphemous. They wanted to surprise the audience familiar with the subject matter and thus scare them more. And I have no choice but to say that they succeeded. ()


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English Badham's Dracula, apart from being overly reverential in its execution, suffers from how old it is. It's like a car. A vehicle that is fifty or more years old will always be appreciated as a vintage classic, whereas a twenty-year-old automobile is a worthless wreck. For film fans spoiled by the possibilities of modern special effects, Dracula contains too few of them, and for lovers of classics, it is not old enough to become an object of adoration. Director Badham conceived Dracula more as a romantic love clash in horror settings. His Count is more of a fop and passionate lover who harms his victims almost casually and sometimes reluctantly. This, however, humanizes Badham's villain; he is not such a terrifying monster and is more of a tragic character. The romanticized approach is reflected in the choice of exteriors and (good) musical motifs. Directorially, it is approached as an artistic matter, but in doing so, Badham relinquished the tempting opportunity to utilize elements of "decadent" eroticism - the love scenes are shot through a red filter. The cast was decently and interestingly chosen, though Frank Langella lacks a greater dose of negative charisma. Overall impression: 65%. ()


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