Tuesday, October 6, 2015

Count Dracula (1970)

Original title: Nachts, Wenn Dracula Eerwacht

Director: Jesus Franco

Writers: Erich Krohnke, Augusto Finocchi, Jesus Franco, Dietmar Behnke, Milo G. Cuccia, Carlo Fadda, Harry Alan Towers, Bram Stoker

Composer: Bruno Nicolai

Starring: Christopher Lee, Klaus Kinski, Herbert Lom, Maria Rohm, Fred Williams, Soledad Miranda, Paul Muller, Jack Taylor

More info: IMDb

Plot:  A film version of Bram Stoker's classic novel.

My rating:  5.5/10

Will I watch it again? No.

I've had this for a few years and I've been meaning to give it a spin. Now that I have I wish I'd gotten it over with long ago.  It's not all that good.  I hoped that Lee was finally given a decent Dracula role where he could stretch his acting chops and give the character some much needed life instead of largely playing the monster seen in his Hammer pictures.  I was wrong.  He's got some dialogue in the beginning when he welcomes Harker into his castle but little else in the rest of the picture.  Franco has made some decent Gothic horror pictures but you can't tell from this film.  The camera gets crazy sometimes with more than a few quick zoom ins and outs.  A few scenes even have visible shadows from the crew.  It's lazy film making.  I don't know how closely this follows Stoker's book but I hear it's more faithful than most Dracula pictures.  Nicolai's score has some nice moments but the music he wrote for the "opera" is just awful.  The cast is good.  Hell, it's great having Kinski as Renfield but he doesn't really add much to the role enough to where you're glad he's in it.  He's OK and that goes for pretty much everyone.  No one stands out.  Nothing in this picture stands out. I can't say watch it but you will if you're like me and you won't listen to folks who try to steer you away from early 70s EuroHorror.  The Dark Sky DVD presents the film in its original 1:37 ration (fullscreen...why wasn't this shot wide?).  The  extras you get are a 26 minute featurette on the making of the film with Jess Franco (which is a great watch), Christopher Lee reading Stoker's novel (an hour and 24 minutes of audio with moving images of poster art for this picture as well as music and sound effects - it's quite good), a text essay on Miranda and a still gallery.  Considering you can pick this up for under 8 bucks, it's almost worth it just for the extras. 

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