Today the Dracula day… How do you stay? Yes, the myth of terror and maximum exponent of the vampire, created by the Irish writer Bram Stoker more than one hundred and twenty years ago, has its own day on the calendar. And it is today, May 26; date of publication of the original novel.
How is Dracula Day celebrated, you wonder? As each one wants. In fact, it does not have to be celebrated, since it is an ephemeris with no more sense than to remember the birth of an icon of popular culture that, yes, remains in force today. That is not little. But, after all, we are talking about a fictional character.
Stoker was inspired to give background to his particular Earl in Vlad Tepes, a bellicose prince of the Wallachian region – in present-day Romania – of the 15th century, whose bloody history perfectly married the legends about the undead that were told in the area from centuries ago. However, Stoker changed everything forever and since the publication of his novel, Dracula and vampire are synonyms that have evolved to the beat of the times, no matter how many attempts there have been to redefine the specimen.
One way to celebrate Dracula today would be, for example, hosting a Halloween-style costume party; but since we are not for meetings, the best thing to pay tribute to the most famous bloodsucker that literature has given and enjoy it, is precisely rereading the original novel, an authentic wonder of the horror genre that gave such good results in those years -the second half 19th century- whose reading remains fascinating.
Another way to do it more, accessible and immediate, is the one that concerns us: review the filmography that exists around the character and look for the best adaptations that are available on the main video on demand platforms, which is what we are going… Although we have to notice that I have been able to find them all. But we are not going to stop mentioning them for that reason.
In fact, this is a short list, because as you can imagine, Dracula has had dozens if not hundreds of adaptations, each one more bad. If you’re not convinced, you can always find out for yourself what about Dracula or vampires in the service you’re subscribed to, because there’s always something. In chronological order, the best Draculas in the history of cinema have been…
Directed by Tod Browning and starring the mythical Béla Lugosi, who had already embodied the character in the theater, this was the first film made of Dracula and the beginning of Universal’s old universe of classic monsters (that same year Frankenstein was released , to the next The mummy, The invisible man …). It is not a faithful adaptation of the book, but a sort of prequel that had its continuation and that despite the ways and means of the time, transmits what much more modern adaptations cannot.
You can see it on Movistar +.
More than two decades after the first adaptation of the vampire – in fact it was not like that, I clarify it later – the second arrived, also known as Horror of Dracula to avoid legal problems with Universal. Directed by the horror master Terence Fisher, who a year before had already been in charge of filming The Curse of Frankenstein, the classic horror cinema of Hollywood began its golden age at the hands of the Hammer, consecrating in passing two of the greats actors of the genre, Peter Cushing (here as Professor Van Helsing) and Christopher Lee, the definitive Dracula of the collective imagination. It also had its aftermath, yes.
You can see it on … nowhere, but you can rent and buy it on various platforms.
Time passed and Dracula reawakened Hollywood’s interest in resurrecting the vampire. Specifically, Universal’s interest in reviving one of its most popular franchises, also enjoying much more advanced technical means. And so they did, sticking more to the story of the novel and with the American actor Frank Langella in charge of the leading role. The result? Much less brilliant than what has already been seen, but worthy of mention as it is the last adaptation in a classical key.
You can see it on Filmin.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)
And Dracula of Bram Stoker arrived, such was the title given by Francis Ford Coppola to what has been his last masterpiece, as if wanting to make it clear from the same poster that this was the definitive adaptation of Stoker’s novel. And, when there are only a couple of years left until it turns three decades old, it can be said that it did. He also did it after filming The Godfather III, which has its merit. With Gary Oldman as Dracula, Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker, Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, Winona Ryder as Mina Murray, and an exquisite as well as faithful staging, Dracula by Bram Stoker managed to untie the adaptation of the classic concept and give it a new verve that has not yet been overcome.
You can see it on … nowhere, but you can rent and buy it on various platforms. However, it was recently on Amazon Prime Video and a little earlier on Netflix; no wonder they play it once in a while.
Finally, the most recent twist to the original Dracula was released this year in serial format, produced by the BBC and by the same authors as Sherlock … It’s a bit of a strange thing, really. A mix between classic and modern that, nevertheless, has its point. It is not a brilliant or overly faithful adaptation of Stoker’s novel, despite which it works. And since pointing out some of its characteristics would be a gut, we leave it here. But like the rest, you have my recommendation.
You can watch it on Netflix and Sky TV.
Are you a fan of Dracula? Then you will have seen everything and not only that, you will be raging for some of the affirmations and absences of this article. However, I wanted to focus on Dracula as such. That said, it is worth the couplet, it would be negligent to dismiss this article without mentioning the other and -more if possible- terrifying Dracula, better known as …
Although the origin and true meaning of the word nosferatu is not entirely clear, its use in the horror genre as a synonym of undead is the one that endures, and under that name the first adaptation of Bram Stoker’s Dracula of the history, lacking legal rights: Nosferatu (1922), or Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. A true silent film masterpiece directed by F.W. Murnau and starring the sinister Max Schreck in the role of Count Orlok (everything was changed, except the bulk of the story) that still gives chills and that you can see on Filmin, but also on YouTube or the Internet Archive, given that their rights expired long ago.
Nor would it be acceptable not to mention Nosferatu, vampire of the night (1979), a readaptation of the previous one written, directed and produced by the veteran and multidisciplinary Werner Herzog, as well as the excellent performance of Klaus Kinski in the role of Count Orlok or Bruno Ganz in that of Jonathan Harker. It does not have the intensity level of the original, but it does manage to transfer it to the cinema of the time with grace and a truly shocking result. You have it on Amazon Prime Video, if you are interested in seeing it.
We end up with The vampire’s shadow (2000), a small pleasure for vampire lovers whose mission is to recreate the peculiar process of filming the first Nosferatu, with John Malkovich in the role of F.W. Murnau and Willem Dafoe in Max Schreck’s. Fun and curious about everything that counts. Although not everything is true. The pity is that this is also not available to see anywhere, at least for now.
So far the review of the best that has given the seventh art around Dracula, the vampire of vampires. It is true that we could have published it before to give you time to choose and search before the day is over … But vampires leave at the time they leave.