Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Directed by Francis Ford Coppola

Starring Anthony Hopkins Gary Oldman Keanu Reeves Winona Ryder

One of the most entertaining, big-budget horror films of the 1990s, this Francis Ford Coppola film is mostly hampered by a god-awful performance by Keanu Reeves in the role of Jonathan Harker. His fake British accent is so terrible and acting so wooden, it's amazing that Coppola didn't fire the boy on the spot. But this flaw doesn't prevent "Dracula" from kicking some serious ass, particularly when Anthony Hopkins joins the party mid-way through the film in a dynamite portrayal of the venerable vampire hunter, Dr. Van Helsing. Without Reeves and a few other flews, this flick could have gone down in the history books as one of the best fear films ever.

You know the story by now. Harker (Reeves) shows up at the castle of Count Dracula (Oldman) to sell some British property and quickly finds himself having his blood sucked by the vampire. He's also being bleeded by a group of gorgeous, naked vampire brides.

Dracula falls for Harker's wife (shoplifter Winona Ryder), whom he spots in a photograph, and heads to London to look for her. Harker follows. The oft-told tale is given over-the-top, 1990s filmmaking treatment by Coppola, replete with fast-editing, big-budget sets, wild point-of-view photography, outlandish costumes and—best of all—Hopkins in one of his best roles ever.

Hopkins easily outdoes the late Peter Cushing (who played the same character in the 1950s-1970s) as the obsessed vampire hunter Van Helsing, who relishes in beheading bloodsuckers. There's also a romantic, reincarnation twist to the story.

All in all, a great horror film, although Oldman was also somewhat lame in his role as the count, who is fashioned after the original, real-life Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, upon whom Bram Stoker based his character. His phony accent is almost as bad as Reeves'. With outlandish wigs that make him look like a rock star, he didn't hold a candle to Christopher Lee. He was better than Frank Langella in the 1979 atrocity "Dracula."

Oh well, you can't have anything. The flick is still a powerfully entertaining horror movie, replete with blood, sex and Anthony Hopkins. Go get it.

Coppola followed up the success of this movie by producing the god-awful "Mary Shelley's Frankenstein."

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-- Review by Lucius Gore


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