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"The Blood is the Life!"
The 1992 movie directed by Francis Ford Coppola from James V. Hart's script.
The film opens with the fall of Constantinople in 1462. Prince Vlad III Draculea successfully defends Christian civilization from the Eastern threat, but a false message from the Turks leads to the death of his love, Elisabeta. As her death was a suicide, the priests declare her damned to hell. Enraged, Vlad renounces God and vows to drink the blood of men.
Despite the title, the film strays from the original novel considerably at times.
- Adaptation Expansion: Dracula's Backstory as a self-cursed vampire because his wife committed suicide, entirely absent from the original novel.
- As is Mina's resemblance to his wife, Dracula's pursuit of her because of it and Mina falling in love with him to the point of nearly sabotaging her heroes attempts to stop him from completely turning her.
- Animal Motifs: Dracula is associated with the usual wolves, bats, and rats. Lucy is frequently associated with reptiles: she wears an evening gown with snake embroidering and has a hairdo that resembles coiled snakes, the nightgown she wears when attacked by Dracula resembles a snake's belly, and her wedding/funeral dress was inspired by frill-necked lizards.
- Backstory: The prologue.
- Bedlam House: Dr. Seward's asylum is depicted as one of these.
- Blatant Lies: Advertising for the film implied it was faithfully adapted from the book. Which it was...except for all the other stuff they put in.
- Blood From the Mouth: Plenty of it!
- Captain's Log: Most of the main characters provide voice over narration in the form of journal entries or letters read out loud.
- Played literally in the case of log written by captain of the 'Demeter'.
- Chekhov's Gun: Quincey's Bowie knife plays part in the scene Quincey is introduced. At the end of the movie Mina uses it to finally kill Dracula.
- Chewing the Scenery:
- Van Helsing yelling "Feed Me" because he apparently can't go vampire hunting on an empty stomach. It normally would just be realistic dialogue, since people do need to eat, but it's this trope because he's bellowing it at the top of his lungs while doing an intentionally ridiculous Tango with Quincy, screaming about how Lucy is "the Devil's concubine," and laughing like a maniac because he's figured out what Dracula is up to.
- A lot of Oldman's performance as the older Dracula can be this, although it actually works to his advantage, he still manages to be really damn creepy.
- Cloudcuckoolander: Van Helsing falls somewhere between this and Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
- Color Coded for Your Convenience: The Transylvanian scenes in the early part of the film are tinted a hellish red.
- If the main color for a scene is orange, it's an almost certain sign that someone is going to be in danger (or just very creeped out.) It's not the first time something orange-related meant death in a Francis Ford Coppola movie.
- Costume Porn: Wonderful and fruitcake, the designs by Eiko Ishioka won (a deserved) Academy Award.
- Cross-Melting Aura: Dracula's brides melt Jonathan's crucifix, thankfully without burning him.
- Deconstruction: The film uses many of the book's ideas about vampires, including the fact that the original book stated vampires are not killed by sunlight. (Rather, they are depowered.)
- Dissonant Serenity : Van Helsing, a couple time.
Mina: Was she in great pain?
- Double Standard Rape (Female on Male): Given that they come out of literally nowhere and one of them bites him in the groin, Jonathan's encounter with Dracula's brides probably isn't entirely willing.
- Of course, they also enthrall him with their vampire powers and, well... YMMV, but it would take a lot more than a suspicious entrance and a little crotch biting (who knows, maybe he's into it?) to make that situation "rape" rather than "fantasy".
- We don't really see much of it other then some biting and moaning. Though one scene does show the view from a mirror and we only see Jonathan with his clothes moving (vampires, no reflection, yada yada) so most of it is implied.
- Dracula: What, did you think this trope page was going to be about Freddy Krueger?
- Eats Babies: Dracula's brides, and vampirized Lucy.
- Faith Heel Turn: "I renounce God!"
- Fake Nationality: Over half of the main cast, with the exception of Dr. Seward, Lucy, Arthur and Quincy.
- Since Dr. Seward's presumably not Swazi/British colonial in this adaptation, he sort of qualifies as well.
- Game Face: Dracula turns into a giant bat thing when confronted by the heroes.
- Glamour Failure
- Gorgeous Period Dress - with the possible exception of medieval Dracula's armor.
- Ham-to-Ham Combat: Hopkins and Oldman had way too much fun with their parts. It's a shame they didn't have more scenes together.
- Haunted Castle
- Heroes Want Redheads: Lucy is a redhead, and three heroes want her. (Four, if you're that sympathetic to the villain.)
- Hey, It's That Guy!: Hannibal plays Van Helsing, the priest at the beginning of the film, as well as providing the voice-over for the captain's log; Neo is Mina's fiance; Westley plays one of Lucy's suitors
- Hollywood Costuming: The ladies' outfits follow the basic tenets of late-1890's fashion, but details are just a bit off, like Lucy's unusually low neckline or Mina's decade-out-of-style bustle dress.
- In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: One of the most awkward examples of this trope, starting with the fact that the core romantic plot between Dracula and Mina isn't in the book. The Internet Movie Database notes, "Director Francis Ford Coppola claims that Bram Stoker's name was included in the title because he has a tradition of putting the author's names in the titles of his movies that are adapted from novels, such as Mario Puzo's The Godfather (1972) and John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997). Others have claimed, however, that Stoker's name was included in the title to avoid legal action from Universal Studios, who claimed to own the rights to the simple title Dracula (1931)."
- Impossibly Low Neckline: Lucy's "snake dress".
- Innocent Innuendo: Averted by the not-so-proper Lucy.
Lucy (to Quincy): Please let me touch it? It's so... big. (pulls out Quincey's knife)
- Last of His Kind: Dracula calls himself this, as the last of the Draculs.
- Licensed Game: Interesting in that the available versions barely resemble each other. The NES version plays like a horror-themed Mario (complete with ? blocks!), the SNES/Genesis version is a more generic action platformer, and the Sega CD version injects the previous with at-the-time high tech 3D rendered backdrops... and injects context-less clips from the film that suffer from house-sized artifacts. There is also a PC game played from the first person perspective.
- Living Shadow: Dracula's shadow often moves independently of its owner, entering scenes from the opposite direction as the vampire, making threatening gestures at other characters, and at one point, knocking over an inkwell.
- Looks Like She Is Enjoying It/Kiss of the Vampire
- Malevolent Architecture: Normal laws of physics don't quite seem to apply in Castle Dracula, most notably seen when Harker opens a perfume bottle that starts dripping upwards into the ceiling. For extra creep factor, the castle itself vaguely resembles a ghoulish figure crouched on a cracked throne. The model that served as a source of inspiration for the design of Dracula’s Castle was the expressionist painting The Black Idol (Resistance) by František Kupka.
- Match Cut
- Ms. Fanservice: Lucy Westenra, a gorgeous redhead who is dangling three suitors at once and who spends her time wearing revealing dresses, getting hypnotized by Dracula and indulging in a little Les Yay with her best friend Mina.
- No Sense of Personal Space: Dracula and Van Helsing share this trait throughout the film. Amusingly both manage to freak out Mina with it in their first meetings.
- Off with His Head: No less than five decapitations.
- Ominous Latin Chanting: SANGUIS VITA EST!
- One-Winged Angel: Dracula does this twice in the movie. Once as a werewolf like creature. Another as a humanoid bat.
- Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Good Lord, where do we start?
- The Ophelia: Elisabeta. Coppola even calls refers to her as such on the set.
- Pet The Escaped Zoo Wolf: At first, Dracula makes to bite a hypnotized Mina, but hesitates, just as the crowd in the theater panics over said wolf wandering in. Instead, his ability to calm the animal impresses and fascinates the no-longer-entranced Mina, and for the first time she's genuinely charmed by him.
- POV Cam: The film switches to Dracula's POV when he's about to attack Lucy.
- Pimped-Out Dress
- The Professor
- Rage Against the Heavens: Film Dracula, who somehow became a vampire with nothing but his own hatred of God.
- Recursive Adaptation: The film was adapted into a novelization by Fred Saberhagen.
- Reincarnation: It's all but directly stated that Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula's first love Elisabeta. She even carries some of Elisabeta's memories.
- Scenery Porn: The studio sets, from rose-filled gardens to Hammer taverns. Bound to happen with Mike Mignola involved with the art design.
- Shout-Out: The thrusting of a crucifix into the foreground is a direct reference to Hammer Films' Horror of Dracula.
- Also Dracula's shadow and his rising from the grave is taken from Nosferatu, while many famous quotes are included from the Lugosi version. Coppola also included a lot of Shout Outs to his old mentor, Roger Corman, with the style similar to the Corman Poe films.
- The Living Shadow sequences owe something to the Carl Dreyer film Vampyr (1932).
- Staking the Loved One
- Tag-Team Suicide: Played with. At the beginning of the film, set in medieval times, Dracula's noble love throws herself off a tower when she hears false news of his death in combat. When Dracula returns, the bishop tells him that she is damned to hell for her suicide. Enraged, he renounces God and becomes a vampire, technically committing suicide.
- Tragic Monster: Dracula is portrayed as one in this version due to his backstory. While he away at war, his love kills herself based off a lie his enemies wrote in a letter. Since she committed suicide she can't go to heaven and he renounces his faith as a result and becomes a monster.
- Truer to the Text: The intent was to make a more faithful adaptation of the book than previous films had been (hence the In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It title). Intentions and execution are two different matters, though...
- Uberwald: Although this is subverted in Mina's description of the Count's homeland.
- Ultimate Universe: Gary Oldman's portrayal of Count Dracula incorporates both Bela Lugosi's distinctive accent and Max Schreck's "creepy and clawed" comportment from Nosferatu.
- Unlimited Wardrobe: Lucy can get away with having lots of different outfits since she's an aristocrat, but Mina has too many nice dresses for a school teacher.
- What should not go unmentioned is that the costume design also draws heavily from symbolism, expressionism, and European art history in general, rather than trying to “realistically” depict the Victorian era; a nice example is a robe of Dracula that looks like a painting by Gustav Klimt. In the book Dracula - The Film and the Legend, costume designer Eiko Ishioka explained: “Costumes should be more than just items that explain the role of the actors who wear them. (...) And at times, the costumes should challenge the audience and make them think about why the actor is wearing that costume.”
- Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Harker is remarkably blasé about Dracula's habit of extending his limbs beyond their natural reach, moving out of sync with his shadow, teleporting from one side of the room to the other and gliding across floors like he was floating without legs. Ironically these tricks stop almost entirely after his true nature has become apparent to the characters.
- Vampires Are Sex Gods
- Victorian London
- Villainy Discretion Shot: According to Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula has killed and tortured thousands of people. But of course we only get to see this through old medieval pictures, otherwise Dracula wouldn't be half as sympathetic.
- Villainous Crush: Dracula for Mina.
- Voluntary Shapeshifting: Dracula retains this ability from the novel, turning into a wolf, a Wolf Man, a giant bat, and green mist.
- What the Hell Is That Accent?: Keanu Reeves' laughable attempt at a British accent.
- World of Ham
- The Worm That Walks: At one point Dracula turns into a pile of rats.