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I'm Joe Bob Briggs, and this is the night of Drah-kools and Vahm-peers. Do you notice how, if they want to make an artistic version of a horror film, they change the pronunciation? Count Drah-kool is a vahm-peer, in Bram Stoker's Dracula, the 1992 big-budget Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of the neck-biting blood-sucking classic. Mel Brooks was so impressed by this movie that he did a full-scale big-budget parody of it, called "Dracula: Dead and Loving It," starring Leslie Nielsen as the Count, and that's our SECOND feature tonight, when we go out to the trailer house a little bit later. I'll be here with you to follow the sinister Gary Oldman as he tries to give the lovely Winona Ryder an involuntary transfusion, and lure her away from her boring boyfriend, Keanu Reeves, in what is probably the most faithful adaptation of the original 1897 novel ever filmed.

The Doctor needs help

Although the standard remains the 1931 version with Bela Lugosi and I HAVE seen every Dracula movie ever made - about 160 of them - so don't even try to mess with me tonight. Some people still like the very FIRST adaptation, the German "Nosferatu" in 1922. Actually, that wasn't the first adaptation. There was a 1921 Hungarian movie. Called "Drakula." No one has seen it. They lost it. "Bram Stoker's Dracula," starring Gary Oldman and Anthony Hopkins. Lets roll it.

[fading] I'm not kidding. Hungarian film. I've seen so many Dracula films that I know films that don't exist. Film preservation, very important. Especially in Budapest. Dracula's home country. That's tragic.

Click here to stop Bram Stoker's Dracula themesong playing or to save it (midi)

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Gary Oldman apparently uses Oral Roberts' hairdresser, doesn't he? Going for sort of half camp, half serious, right? AND he's using the same accent that Bela Lugosi used. If this was the 1930's, we would say that he was copying Lugosi. But since it's the nineties, we have to assume that it's an HOMAGE to Lugosi. And Lugosi WAS Hungarian. It was his real accent. He used it in the 1927 production of "Dracula" on Broadway. The accent should be close to the real historic Dracula, though, because Transylvania is in northern Romania, but Hungarians lived there. It was at one time part of the Austro-Hungarian empire.

So. Let's continue, after the commercials, with Francis Coppola's version of "Bram Stoker's Dracula." I love the part where Anthony Hopkins shows up, as Van Helsing. Technically this would be Jim Hart's version of "Dracula." The same screenwriter who wrote "Hook." And, technically, Anthony Hopkins was already in the movie. He was the priest who said Elizabeta was damned. He plays two parts.

Do I miss a trick? [Lugosi accent] Very rarely. That wasn't a Lugosi accent. Or an Oldman accent. That was kind of a Count Floyd accent.

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Gary Oldman kinda gets a twinkle in his eye when he sucks the blood off that razor blade. Usually it's serious, but Coppola puts those little comedy things in there. Bela Lugosi would never have done that. Actually, he did a comic Dracula one time, in Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein. And I think he regretted that. Because he was serious about this stuff. Bela Lugosi was buried in his Dracula cape, with full Dracula makeup. And, Bela is buried not far from this very house. I would tell you where, but unscrupulous people might be tempted to desecrate.

[off] No, not Bella Abzug. Bela Lugosi. Bella Abzug is buried in New Jersey or somewhere. Strangely enough, ALSO in a cape with full Dracula makeup. That's why people get confused.

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What just happened there? Do you realize you could take any three minutes of this movie, put it to music, and it would be a music video that could go into heavy rotation on MTV? But why does he go to England? Can't he control people with his mind? In the book he doesn't go to England. Well, he does go to England, but only as a wolf. They're actually following the play. He goes to England in the play. In fact the whole play is in England. Hamilton Deane wrote the play in 1912. The original book does begin in Transylvania, then shift to England. The sole difference lies in Dracula's appearance. And the fact that, on the stage, he's not a wolf. He's a gentleman. In the book he had bad breath, hairy palms, and sharp fingernails. In the play he had a tuxedo and an opera cape and he looked like David Niven. So, they're really going for the book AND the play.

Oh. Sorry. Sometimes I forget where I am. Little (shrieks}. I'm back now.

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You know there are 38 different editions of this movie? Depending on whether you saw it in America or Europe or on premium cable or basic cable or free TV, or you saw it in Pakistan or wherever? Because Francis Ford Coppola keeps control of the editing of all his films, and he makes all these different versions. Actually, 39 versions now, counting this special late-night TNT version. You know those three bodacious wives of Dracula? Francis wanted to show em nekkid on TNT. But Ted said no.

Keanu Reeves wasn't struggling THAT much, was he? Those girls, by the way, are Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, and Florina Kendrick. Sounds like one Italian, one English, and one . . . Romanian! "Michaela Bercu." I have a question. The white wolf was in the same scene with Vlad, right? But Vlad IS the white wolf. How? Why? You'd have to ask somebody at a Lost Boys reunion to get a straight answer to that.

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Okay, guys, who's the best Dracula? Lugosi? How many Dracula movies did he make? One. I'm not counting "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein," in which he appeared as Dracula. He played many vampires, but only one Dracula. "Son of Dracula," was Lon Chaney, Jr. And he played Count Alucard. Dracula spelled backwards. Now Christopher Lee did Dracula 11 times between 1958 and 1978. Frank Langella? One movie, one play. Klaus Kinski? Talk about somebody who was born to be Dracula. One movie. Werner Herzog's "Nosferatu." 1979. William Marshall? I stumped you! Right? 1972. Who's William Marshall. Do you know? Blacula! I loved "Blacula."

Gary Oldman, take it avay.

"BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA" Commercial Break #6

Whenever you hear Prince Vlad scream -- like when he drove the sword into the cross, and in that last section where he was crying about getting the goodbye note from Mina and then he ROARED -- whenever you hear that, it's actually the voice of Lux Interior, lead singer of The Cramps. Remember the Cramps? I guess Lux was a good screamer. Okay, a few ads and the more movie.

[fading] Sadie Frost is the actress who plays the loose Lucy. They decided to die her hair bright red because she looked too much like Winona Ryder. Two leading ladies, you've GOT to have different colored hair. It's one of the RULES.

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And so ends . . . Tom Waits. Great performance by Tom Waits, the singer, as the insane servant-of-Dracula, Renfield. In most Dracula movies, they don't leave him in the cell the whole movie. Dracula breaks him out and he becomes his faithful slave. Anyway, they're doing it again. They're saying "vahmpeer." "He is vahmpeer nosferatu." "Nosferatu" being the old Slavonic word for "plague carrier." A Romanian peasant word. It's not really a big part of the original book. The only reason we know the word is that this German director named Murnau, in 1922, wanted to make a movie version of "Dracula" without PAYING for the RIGHTS to "Dracula," and so he used the word "Nosferatu" instead, with the exact same story. And the widow of Bram Stoker sued the guy for three years, but she never got any money. But the German film company was supposed to destroy all copies of the film. Fortunately for film history, a couple of em got loose.

Okay, back to Gary Oldman's very interesting interpretation of Dracula as a sort of . . . well, he has a little Bela Lugosi in there, like when he says "cheeeldren of the night," and some Vincent Price, and some Charles Manson, and some Byron, and some Heathcliff, and some Satan, and of course that's not counting the times he's a wolf or a bat or a zombie, and, of course, in that first scene, he looked like Liberace at his funeral. Let's get back to the movie, after this.

[fading] Mixed reception from the critics. They said it was all over the lot. You be the judge.


Man! Tough luck for Keanu! He's not getting his wife back, is he? Because there's something about a vampire man that satisfies a woman. Even a proper English girl like Winona. Once you've had Drac, you can't go back. When this movie came out, it did pretty well, but it wasn't the blockbuster everyone originally expected. And I think it's because people went "Ooooo, I really didn't expect Winona to be so INTO IT." Kinda kinky right in here. Not as kinky as "The Hunger," when Catherine Deneuve was the bisexual vampire with Susan Sarandon and David Bowie -- but almost. Okay, let's see where this ends up -- I'm not sure I can stand it -- in the pretty dang exciting conclusion to . . ."Bram Stoker's Dracula."

[fading] Winona Ryder is the person who made this movie possible when she read the script and asked the screenwriter if she could personally take it to Francis Ford Coppola. She wanted this part because she thought it would make her a grownup in people's eyes. Mission accomplished. Whoa!

Host segments continue tonight with Dracula: Dead & Loving It

Joe Bob's review of the Dracula 1931 versions (one was filmed in Spanish)

I bid you Welcome. I am Dracula (Bela Lugosi, from the 1931 movie)

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