Wednesday, November 20, 2013

I know it's late, I know you're weary

Because nothing says sexy like a Beatle-esque, aesthete Dracula.
Yes, yes, yes, I know it's late. I know you're tired. I know this goes against all blogging etiquette about when is the right time to post ... yadda yadda yadda. But I have been thinking, all day, in and out of grading a mountain of student essays on Dracula (ok ok, maybe not a mountain ... maybe a molehill) about why, when I was a very impressionable 16-year-old, I was extremely hot for Gary Oldman's version of Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola. I mean, like, I wanted Gary Oldman's Dracula to be my boyfriend (totally).

Not this one. 
This one. Minus the Beetlejuice armor. 
First of all, let me state for the record that the fact that this film is called Bram Stoker's Dracula is thoroughly hilarious, because it is anything but. This film, although true to some dialogue ("Listen to them, the children of the night ... What sweet music they make!"), completely derails from Stoker's version. While Stoker's Dracula wants to invade England (in all its modern stupidity) and turn it into his new vampy stomping ground, Coppola's Dracula is a lovelorn, romantic man ... yes, man on the hunt for his long-lost love, his young wife, who threw herself from the castle's edge when she thought her husband had been killed by his enemies.

Coppola's film is campy in all the best ways. I mean, at one point, blood actually shoots out of every single wall in Lucy Westenra's bedroom. Several smart people I know absolutely hate this stuff, and I value their opinion. But I find that it makes the film, for me, ... well, fun. Coppola almost seems to be sending up his movie while he is making it. I absolutely love Anthony Hopkins's version of Van Helsing. Perfect.

Obviously, my young attraction to this filmic representation of the vampire is disturbing. Nonetheless, I own it. In fact, I continue to be enamored by Oldman's portrayal of this monstrous being, primarily because he does such a wonderful job capturing Dracula's monstrosity (his duality, his doubleness). I couldn't make sense, even in my young brain (I recall debating this then, in fact), why I would be attracted to an entity that destroyed one woman all while courting another. Dracula's destruction of Lucy is utterly reprehensible; everything that he does, in fact, outside of the circle of Mina's purview is disgusting, something to be reviled. If I am being perfectly honest, I see my youthful attraction to Oldman's Dracula, partly, as demonstrative of my cultural brainwashing as a young, developing female. It's like falling in love with that guy who, while he hated everyone else in the world, loved you (been there, done that). "Hey there Little Red Riding Hood, you sure are lookin' good ..." A/J

Post a Comment