Lone Wolf Sullivan is a writer, songwriter, and studio musician.

Sunday, August 31, 2008


DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT is a horror comedy from Mel Brooks. It's a parody of Bram Stoker's 1897 novel as well as some of the movie adaptations. The film is remarkably faithful to the book, pays homage to Bela Lugosi's interpretation and Hammer Films' HORROR OF DRACULA (1958), as well as poking fun at Francis Ford Coppola's BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA (1992).

Thomas Renfield (Peter MacNicol) travels to "Castle Dracula" in Transylvania and meets Count Dracula (Leslie Nielsen). The solicitor finalizes the purchase of Carfax Abbey in England with the vampire, then retires. Two brides of Dracula join him in bed, but Dracula intervenes and casts a hypnotic spell on Renfield, making him an insect-eating slave.

On the ship to England, Dracula eventually kills everybody on board. He goes ashore, leaving Renfield behind, who is discovered and confined to a lunatic asylum. Dracula visits an opera house, and introduces himself to his neighbours Dr. Jack Seward (Harvey Korman), Jonathan Harker (Steven Weber), Seward's daughter Mina Murray (Amy Yasbeck), and Lucy Westenra (Lysette Anthony). Later that night Dracula feeds on Lucy.

Dr. Seward is alarmed by the puncture marks on Lucy's throat and calls in Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Mel Brooks), who announces that Lucy is the victim of a vampire. Garlic is placed in Lucy's bedroom. Dracula releases Renfield from the asylum and orders him to remove the garlic. Renfield is captured, but Dracula kills Lucy in the garden.

Van Helsing meets Dracula and says that his ancestor Vlad Tapish "was a blood-thirsty butchah. He inflicted unspeakable tortures on the peasants: cutting off their hands and feet, gouging out their eyes and then impaling them on iron spikes!" Dracula replies, "They had it coming."

Lucy, now a vampire, rises from her crypt, attacks her guard and tries to attack Harker. Van Helsing rushes to the rescue and orders Harker to drive a stake in Lucy's heart.

Harker: "Oh, this is horrid. Is there no other way?"
Van Helsing: "Well, we could cut off her head, stuff her mouth with garlic, and tear off her ears!"
Harker: (after a moment's thought) "Give me the stake."
(pauses again)
Harker: "No. No, I can't do it... you do it!"
Van Helsing: "It must be done by one who loved her in life."
Harker: "But I only liked her!"
Van Helsing: "Close enough!"

Jonathan Harker drives in the stake, which causes an immense amount of blood to splatter everywhere except on Van Helsing, who explains, "She just ate! Hit her again!"

Next Dracula abducts Mina to Carfax Abbey to make her his bride. Van Helsing invites the Count to a ball with a mirrored wall. When Dracula dances the Csardas with Mina, guests cannot see him in the mirror, only Mina floating in the air. Dracula escapes with Mina and Renfield is locked up again. Dr. Seward orders Martin (Mark Blankfield): "Put him in a straitjacket and give him an enema. Wait, give him an enema first, then put him in a straitjacket!"

Van Helsing believes Renfield is Dracula's slave, so releases him and follows him to Dracula's coffin. There is a fight, and Van Helsing uses sunlight to kill Count Dracula. Mina leaves with Harker, and Renfield becomes Dr. Seward's slave.

Although the film follows the book closely, it makes changes in exactly the same places Lugosi's DRACULA does. Leslie Nielsen makes a fine Dracula, and the other cast members are also quite good. It is a stylish underrated film with close attention to detail. The affected Romanian and English pseudo-accents are quite amusing. There are many sight gags, slapstick humour, prat falls, sex jokes, and an obsession with bodily fluids. The humour is Mel Brooks' typical lowbrow vulgar style. Generally film reviewers dislike this spoof and ordinary viewers love it.

Also in the cast are: Megan Cavanagh (Essie), Gregg Binkley (Woodbridge), Clive Revill (Sykes), Anne Bancroft (Madame Ouspenskaya), Avery Schreiber, Cherie Franklin, Ezio Greggio, Leslie S. Sachs, Mathew Porretta, Rudy De Luca, Jennifer Crystal, Darla Haun, Karen Roe, Charlie Callas, Phillip Connery, Tony Griffin, Casey King, Nicholas Rempel, Zale Kessler, Barbaree Earl Nielsen, Maura Nielsen Kaplan, Robin Shepherd, Elaine Ballace, Maud Winchester, Lisa Cordray, Cindy Marshall-Day, David DeLuise, Ben Livingston, Ric Coy, Tommy Koenig, Michael Connors, Grinnell Morris, Vince Grant, Richart Allen Stewart, Brad Grunberg, Carol Arthur, Sonje Fortag, Derek mark Lochran, Anne McVey, Ira Miller, Henry Kaiser, Kathleen Kane, Loraine Shields, David Savoy, Sharon Savoy, Audrey K. Baranishyn, Delores Nemiro, Jeffrey Broadhurst, Jim Peace, Kevin Crawford, Jodi Peterson, John Frayer, Dennon Rawles, Sandy Johnson, Shirley Kirkes, Sandy Rovetta, Alton Ruff, Manette LaChance, Blane Savage, Stan Mazin, Ted Sprague, Patricia McFarlin-Mattson, Stephen Wolfe Smith, Jude Van Wormer, and Allan Walls.

The story derived from Bram Stoker was written by Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman. Mel Brooks, Rudy De Luca, and Steve Haberman wrote the screenplay. Music was composed by Hummie Mann. Mel Brooks produced and directed.

Blog Archive