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Posts Tagged ‘Dracula’

Lily Wight

Updated 03/06/2014

     Despite obvious extensive research and the Stoker seal of approval belated Dracula sequel Dracula The Un-Dead is a wasted opportunity which panders to modern tastes instead of keeping faith with the original vampire classic.

     Dacre Stoker and collaborator Ian Holt throw in everything from Elizabeth Bathory and Jack The Ripper to The Titanic creating a convoluted yarn which, although fast paced, struggles to find themes and focus.

     This sort of  Victorian Gothic Alternative History, or Literary Re-imagining, has been done far more successfully before by author Kim Newman whose Anno Dracula series is both effortless and ingenious in its use of similar settings and characters.

     The Un-Dead reads more like a sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula movie and when Dracula intones to Mina’s son “I am your father!!!” you may just die…

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     Welcome to the wonderfully audacious and wickedly macabre world of Resurrection; the realm of Requiem, Vampire Knight.

     Nickel Editions Franco-British collaboration features the dark imaginings of Pat Mills (Sláine) and the art of Olivier Ledroit (Black Moon Chronicles) in a wildly addictive graphic novel series best avoided by the faint of heart!

     Volume 1 begins as Nazi war criminal, Heinrich Augsburg is reincarnated as a vampire in an ingeniously inverse Hell dimension; landmasses have switched places with seas of flame and cursed residents grow ever younger and forgetful.  Heinrich’s quest to be reunited with his lost love refuses to pander to any conventional ideas of supernatural romance as war, violence, treachery, occult science and good old-fashioned sexual deviancy tussle for page space.

     The Vampire Knight series (also known as Requiem Chevalier Vampire) is magnificently rendered in such exquisite detail that it demands repeated browsing and there are numerous historical and movie references to discover among the lush design and proliferation of ideas.

Mills’ and Ledroit’s work belongs to an adult audience with a taste for extreme Horror-Fantasy.  The humour is cynical and the banter often falls flat so there is little light relief but it seems churlish to complain when graphic novels simply don’t come any better than this.

 

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     If you dust-off June in The Arcade Of Arts & Arcana’s Archives (head to the sidebar on the homepage) you’ll find Pre-Raphaelite strumpets, naughty vintage movies some ridiculous facts about the Victorian Era and a popular post on that favourite guilty pleasure – Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula (click the link to read the original post).

     Perhaps it was Eiko Ishioka’s demonic raw-muscle armour that made the post so popular.  You can see it again here along with more of Ishioka’s Oscar-winning costumes for Gary Oldman…

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     Count Dracula (alongside fellow Victorian gentleman, Sherlock Holmes) holds the dubious honour of being the Movie World’s hardest working (and most abused) literary character.

     Francis Ford Coppola’s 1992 adaptation is a gloriously bombastic mountain of soft-focus eroto-nonsense but a highly recommended guilty pleasure.

     Coppola claimed that his version would be the closest ever interpretation of Stoker’s classic novel but his attempts to include every character whilst frequently switching narrative perspective makes for a cluttered and unfocused movie.  Dracula is depicted in his numerous evolving guises but the inclusion of a psuedo-historical prologue forces a new reincarnation theme on the tale.

     Dracula was released just prior to Neil Jordan’s adaptation of  Interview With The Vampire and has too much in common with Anne Rice’s genre-changing interpretation of vampire archetypes as immortal dreamboats.  Coppola’s film oozes lush Freudian imagery; sinking suns, blood cells, eyes, nipples and fragrant blooms are everywhere.

     Oldman himself admitted to essaying Dracula as “a Fallen Angel” and the beloved actor deserves much credit for creating a tour-de-force (and cohesive) performance with a role that required him to play a medieval relic, a romantic Victorian Prince, a wolfman, a bat and just about every stage in between.

     His Eastern European accent is sublime or ridiculous but unforgettable either way.  Many have forgotten that he was nominated for an Oscar for this role.  As a Fantasy character he was never likely to win (even The Lord Of The Rings failed to gain plaudits for its cast) but his creation is every bit as unique as Depp’s Jack Sparrow.

     Rumour has it that Winona Ryder petitioned hard to have her then boyfriend Johnny Depp cast as Jonathan Harker.  Depp fans would no doubt love to have seen this but it is hard to imagine how he could have improved or altered the end result.  Some films are actually enhanced by unintentional comedy moments.  Keanu Reeves is one long comedy moment.   It is enough that Reeves is simply awful and memorable (with a grey streak that turns into a continuity nightmare and helpfully distracts from his lack of performance).

     Perhaps it is time to watch Coppola’s Dracula again.  The set and costume designs are lavish, Lucy’s beheading has genuine chills, Antony Hopkins goes all out to match Oldman’s Method mania and the orchestral score is magnificent.

     It’s guilty, yes…but pleasurable.

 

 

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Updated 03/06/2014

     Despite obvious extensive research and the Stoker seal of approval belated Dracula sequel Dracula The Un-Dead is a wasted opportunity which panders to modern tastes instead of keeping faith with the original vampire classic.

     Dacre Stoker and collaborator Ian Holt throw in everything from Elizabeth Bathory and Jack The Ripper to The Titanic creating a convoluted yarn which, although fast paced, struggles to find themes and focus.

     This sort of  Victorian Gothic Alternative History, or Literary Re-imagining, has been done far more successfully before by author Kim Newman whose Anno Dracula series is both effortless and ingenious in its use of similar settings and characters.

     The Un-Dead reads more like a sequel to Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula movie and when Dracula intones to Mina’s son “I am your father!!!” you may just die laughing.

     A fun read, but shouldn’t this have been a modern-day classic?

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