Tomorrow is Halloween and partygoers every year are bound to run into at least one bloody vampire at each party. These creepy figures also seem to be a bottomless source of inspiration to moviemakers for the last century, as there are no fewer than 60 Dracula films since the first one was made. Here we take a look at five of the many versions that are out there today scaring viewers and inspiring Halloween costumes throughout the world.
The OG In a sense, the 1931 version of ”Dracula” was where it all began. It was the very first sound adaptation of the original Dracula novel (1897) by Bram Stoker onto the big screen. Directed and co-produced by Tod Browning, it is based on the 1924 stage play ”Dracula,” which was adapted from the 1897 novel of the same title. Hungarian-born Bela Lugosi plays Count Dracula, the Transylvanian vampire who moves to London living the good old double life of sleeping all day and going out to find his next victim all night. Setting the standard for all the Dracula stories to follow, this version was both a critical and commercial success, and left a profound mark on pop culture.
As a side note, last week was the 140th anniversary of Lugosi’s birthday. And to make it even more interesting to Hungarian readers, the Hungarian Hollywood Council along with ORIGO Studios organized a trip to Lugoj in current day Romania – the birth place of the real life Count Dracula – to commemorate his birthday and legacy over the past 140 years. The Council also declared October 20th as ”Bela Lugosi Memorial Day”. Lugosi left a real legacy behind that earned him his very own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and had many actors following in his footstep playing Count Dracula.
The Classic Alternative
One of the masterpieces of the German Expressionist cinema, ”Nosferatu” is the 1922 Dracula classic directed by F.W.Murnau that predates the previous contestant on our list. Peculiarly, it is ”an unauthorized and unofficial adaptation” of the same 1897 novel that the Lugosi film was based on but it is one of the most famous horror movies out there when it comes to vampires.
This silent film version was not a commercial success but it certainly earned its place in the list of ”great movies of all times” due to its eerie, supernature feel and the incredible acting of the animal-like vampire played by German Max Schreck.
Next up is ”Hotel Transylvania,” which deviates from the previous versions for several reasons. This 2012 version, directed by Genndy Tartakovsky, takes the audience on a magical ride away from the human world. Part of the ”Hotel Transylvania” franchise, here Dracula’s mission is to keep his daughter, Mavis, from falling in love with a human visitor. It is also different from the other ones mentioned here because this is an animated comedy, as opposed to the good old horror genre. Due to its success with the audiences, it kicked off the creation of a franchise and a series of three sequels.
The Pop Culture Remake
A comprehensive list couldn’t be complete without including the ”Twilight Saga,” the version that truly romanticized vampires and reinvented the concept turning it into a glorious, teenage fantasy love story. Under the direction of Catherine Hardwicke, Kristen Stewart and Robert Pattinson introduced a whole new generation to the vampire legacy in Twilight (2008) that left millions of teenagers drooling over Edward Cullen’s personification of what a modern day vampire looks like.
Unlike the others, this storyline highlights the romantic nature of the relationship between the protagonists. Like in the previous version, the heroine’s family also does everything they can to keep this love from becoming fulfilled and keep her out of harm’s way. The production of the movie took three years and even though it received mixed critical reviews, it set multiple records that still strongly resonate in cinema history today.
The Modern Twist
Our list flick is the 2009 Swedish horror/romance version ”Let the Right One In.” Directed by Tomas Alfredson, this one puts a spin on the story similar to „Twilight” because both of the protagonists are (young) children: the 12-year-old Oskar, who is a sensitive child bullied by his mates, and Eli, the strange but gorgeous little girl who becomes his new neighbor. Gender roles are reversed here because Eli is the one who needs blood harvested for her vampire functioning. This less commercial work is a moody, beautiful piece of art cinema that received massive critical acclaim.
The list goes on, of course, and there are plenty more that may be worth mentioning. With Halloween only a whisper away, we will let you choose your own scary story to indulge in. Don’t let the bed bugs bite!