The Frida Cinema

Orange County's Year-Round Film Festival

Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Bram Stoker's Dracula

Francis Ford Coppola month continues with Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the director’s 1992 adaptation of the classic horror novel. An unexpected blockbuster hit featuring iconic performances from some of Hollywood’s biggest stars, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a morbidly lush and unconventional horror film.

In 1897, solicitor Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) travels from London to Transylvania to help Count Dracula (Gary Oldman) with some legal matters, after his previous solicitor (Tom Waits) suffered a mental breakdown. Unknown to Jonathan, Dracula is an ages-old vampire, still mourning the death of his wife Elisabeta from his mortal days as a Byzantine warrior in 1462. After Dracula sees a photograph of Jonathan’s fiancée Mina (Winona Ryder), he becomes convinced she is the reincarnation of his dead wife, and imprisons Jonathan in his castle as he sets out for England in search of Mina.

Winner of three Academy Awards for Best Makeup, Best Sound Effects Editing, and Best Costumes for the late, great Eiko Ishioka’s sumptuous designs, Bram Stoker’s Dracula made waves for its hyper-sexualized and ultra-bloody retelling of the iconic tale, and found an ardent fan base among lovers of its rich style, and of the sweeping and dark tale of star-crossed lovers at its heart.

“With a blitz of in-camera effects, the likes of which Hollywood seemingly would never employ again, Coppola turned Stoker’s novel and Hart’s script into a erotic dream; a blood-drenched fantasy, bursting with the type of life a vampire crawling from a fresh grave could only dream of.” Chris Evangelista, Slash Film

“[T]he movie takes its cues from silent film, using double-exposures, forced perspectives, and mirrors to create its oneiric, flagrantly artificial Victorian world….This makes Bram Stoker’s Dracula one of the strangest-looking Hollywood films of its time, both opulent and handmade.” Ignatiy Vishnevetsky, The AV Club

 “With its gorgeous sets and costumes, its hallucinogenic special effects and mad montages that recall the original grandeur of Abel Gance’s Napoleon, this Dracula transcends camp to become a testimonial to the glories of film making as an end in itself.” Vincent Canby, The New York Times