The biggest, baddest vampire of them all remains Dracula. The king of the vampires has appeared in near-countless films and TV shows since he was created by author Bram Stoker. We’ve seen some brilliant takes on the legendary bloodsucker, but sadly, not all Draculas are created equal. For every Dracula who successfully fangs and woos the ladies, there are far more who miss the jugular. With that in mind, I want to count down to Halloween the six worst Draculas. To be fair, I’m only going by some of the more widely seen and those I’m personally familiar with, so I’m certain there are worse performances to be found. With that in mind, let’s begin with what I’m sure will be a controversial selection.
#6 Gary Oldman from Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Oh, I know. Many of you vampire lovers get all hot and bothered thinking fondly on this 1992 classic directed by Francis Ford Coppola. One can hardly fault Winona Ryder’s Mina for lusting after Gary Oldman’s Dracula while engaged to Keanu Reeves’s flat, boring Jonathan Harker. I will grant you that Oldman delivers some solid acting for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but the way the character is written is where I take fault with this interpretation of the classic monster.
For whatever reason, the filmmakers decided Dracula needs to be a sympathetic character, so they created this ludicrous story where Mina Harker is the reincarnation of his lost love Elisabeta. Dracula ends up more like someone suffering from multiple personality disorder than a well-written, fleshed out villain. One moment, he’s this evil, tyrannical monster, and the next, he’s this misunderstood victim who just needs a little lovin’. It doesn’t work, and what’s worse, it has nothing to do with Stoker’s original novel. Calling this film Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a murderous joke.
Certainly, this isn’t the first Dracula production to suggest the reincarnated/lost love storyline. Sadly, I think this film planted the notion so solidly within the public mind that people just assume the Mina/Dracula romance is part of Stoker’s novel and have recycled the idea many times since then. Not only did it show up again in the recent NBC television series Dracula starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers, but the film Dracula Untold ended with the obvious intent of recycling this storyline for the sequel that has yet to happen (and likely never will).
Yes, I know you Dracula/Mina shippers love your Gary Oldman Dracula. You keep posting those photoshopped memes of how romantic this doomed romance was, but I think this version of the king vampire is a miserable joke. If Coppola hadn’t had the audacity to call the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula, I might have been more forgiving. Then again, that bizarre hair style for the sickly old version of Dracula near the beginning of the film was sin enough (seriously, Wolverine’s hair looks less improbable by comparison).
Feel free to comment if you agree or disagree, and come back tomorrow for another “Worst Dracula” that features some serious vampire beefcake.