Six Worst Draculas: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

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.

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#6 Gary Oldman from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Gary Oldman looking dapper as Dracula in Bram Stoker's DraculaOh, 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).

Gary Oldman looking like he was trying to shape his head like a heart as Dracula in Bram Stoker's DraculaYes, 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.

About Bill Blume

Bill Blume discovered his love for the written word while in high school and has been writing ever since. His latest book Gidion's Blood is being released on August 11th by Diversion Books. His short stories have been in many fantasy anthologies and various ezines. Just like the father figure in his first novel, Bill works as a 911 dispatcher for Henrico County Police and has done so for more than a decade. He also served as the 2013 chair for James River Writers in Richmond, which produces one of the nation’s best annual conferences for educating and connecting writers.
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3 Responses to Six Worst Draculas: Bram Stoker’s Dracula

  1. Pingback: Six Worst Draculas: Dracula 2000 | Bill Blume

  2. Pingback: Six Worst Draculas: Blood for Dracula | Bill Blume

  3. Way, way back when, I would have vehemently disagreed with you.
    That was then, this is now and I so happen to agree.
    Oldman was great, I was glad to watch him, but this film rests a lot on it’s aesthetics as opposed to good story-telling and effective world building.
    I too laughed when Coppola called it Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Dude, this is YOUR Dracula, through and through, it would have been okay if you had officially labeled it Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula rather than the audience.

    Liked by 1 person

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