With Dracula Untold out in cinemas, we revisit some of the most memorable
screen appearances the famous vampire has enjoyed getting his teeth into
Time Out Abu Dhabi staff
Blade: Trinity (2004) Back in 1998, Blade gave a short, sharp kick to two franchises: the comic book movie, and the vampire flick. With Wesley Snipes as the snark-tongued half-human, half-vampire Eric ‘Blade’ Brooks patrolling the streets, the bloodsucking underworld is kept at bay from the innocent humans who walk its streets, believing vampires to be nothing more than the stuff of horror stories. In the third movie of the series, Blade: Trinity, he must yet again battle the forces of darkness – but he needs help this time, because the daddy of all vampires, Dracula, has arrived on the scene. Jessica Biel and Ryan Reynolds star as Abigail Whistler and Hannibal King, the Nightstalkers, and together they steal the movie from Snipes, while Dracula, played by Dominic Purcell, and given the nickname ‘Drake’ instead of his true, more famous name, falls by the wayside in an entirely forgettable, thankless role.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) How do you take an age-old monster like Dracula, complete with rubber fangs and camp cloak, and make him scary again? You get the director of The Godfather, Francis Ford Coppola, to take on the task. When Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) travels to Transylvania in order to negotiate Drac’s purchase of real estate in London, the wrinkled, pale husk of a vampire (Gary Oldman) feels he should pay Harker’s fiancee, Mina (Winona Ryder), who he believes is his beloved lost love, reincarnated a visit in England. Coppola made sure his interpretation of the Count would be fresh, and he did this by returning to Bram Stoker’s original 1897 novel, Dracula (hence the movie’s title). Hiring veteran British actor Gary Oldman, who transformed himself into perhaps still the most disturbing version of Dracula we’ve yet seen, didn’t hurt either – just check out the scene where Dracula helps Harker shave for a good dose of the heebie-jeebies.
Ed Wood (1994) After the massive success of two Batman films and the fairytale Edward Scissorhands, director Tim Burton decided to make a movie about the movies. Recasting Mr. Scissorhands himself, Johnny Depp, as terrible 1950s director Ed Wood, was the first masterstroke; the second, that this tale of a man living in his own world of delusion, was all completely true. Being responsible for cinematic junk such as Plan 9 From Outer Space, Wood was a laughing stock in Hollywood, but he always made his terrible pictures with love, if not talent. His friendship with Bela Lugosi, the first movie actor to play Dracula (and played by Martin Landau here), is at the heart of Ed Wood; an old man tries to resurrect a dead career, while a young man tries to start a new one. It’s not strictly a Dracula movie, but it does concern a monster (Hollywood) who sucks the lifeblood right out of a victim (the naive Ed), so it’s rather fitting.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000) Beloved cult TV show, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, took an entire five series of vamp slaughter before it even dared to tackle the great Count Dracula. During the continuing adventures of teenager Buffy Summers (Sarah Michelle Gellar), a small blonde girl who also happens to be the world’s front line against the undead, a mysterious crate on its way to a rich collector is smashed, and out crawls the Count himself (Rudolf Martin), a much younger-looking and handsome version than what we’re used to. Despite her boasting a body count of vampires in the hundreds, Dracula has a strange effect on the Slayer; using his looks and charm, and probably some dark magic, too,he casts a spell over Buffy, freezing her before he sinks his teeth in. Like most aspects of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, stereotypes even as strong as Dracula himself were given a subversive twist; Drac’s appearance in the show felt old-school, but entirely fresh at the same time.
Dracula Untold (2014) Most times we see Dracula turn up on our screens, he’s a bad guy. Not so in the brand new Dracula Untold, which charts the Count’s rise as a mortal man who chooses the power of the vampire to help his people. Played by Luke Evans, who we’ve most recently seen as Bard the Bowman in The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug, Vlad is facing a threat to his reign and his family from a large army virtually knocking on the door of his lands. In order to protect them all, he decides to visit a mysterious temple and ask the dark forces that are laying in wait within for one thing; power. Of course, those dark forces happen to have fangs and a displeasure for daylight; once granted the magical elements of the vampire, the newly-born Dracula is able to wipe out enemy armies with legions of bats (something that’ll look great on the big screen).