There is much to be learned from beasts

I updated the music page this mornin’, if you’re achin’ for a recommendation.

As I said I was going to do, I re-watched Coppola’s Dracula. And lo and behold…I DID like it better. Here’s why:

1. What I originally thought of as “cheesy” special effects I think were of the low-budget variety for a reason. I think Coppola wanted to try his hand at making a Classic Horror Movie of the Frankenstein, original Dracula, Lon Cheney Phantom of the Opera variety. I think he wanted to access the scary movies of his childhood.
2. Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker actually makes a ton of sense. Harker is a wiener! Harker isn’t deep enough for Mina. Keanu v. Gary Oldman makes a lot of casting sense. Harker needs to be outdone by Dracula in every sense, including acting.
3. I never caught some of the humor before.
4. Dracula is the anti-hero…which of course is evident just by reading the novel. But what I didn’t catch seeing this as an eighth grader is that Coppola loves The Count. The Count is tragic and noble figure…damned though he may be. You want to the Count to win. You want Von Helsing to fail, though you realize his heart is in the right place.
5. I was not married to an actual descendant of Transylvanians at the time of my first viewing of this movie. Now I am. While I could wax intellectual about traits of Gypsies as passed down through ages…that’s another post. What I really got out of this film was the landscape…certainly altered to be darker than reality. I’ve looked up pictures of the Transylvanian countryside and I noticed no more bats than are flying around my parents’ farm. But it’s such an old country. With such a rich and violent and dark history. And truly, Vlad Dracul is a local hero in Romania. He saved the country from the Ottoman Turks. He loved his country. Sure he impaled people and perhaps ceremonially drank their blood, but to know this about the Romanians gives one a little perspective on certain old world loyalties. Now I really need to bug Nani to make me some mama liga.
6. Dracula isn’t a horror story. Or a monster story. It’s a love story. Maybe THE love story. Never doubt for one second that Brahm Stoker was an upstanding member of the Romantic Period.

I did a paper on Vlad Dracul in high school. In retrospect, it probably really freaked out my Nazarene widowed wife of a pastor English teacher, but I also fell in love with The Count. Check out my books page for an honorary recommendation.

This may be making it’s way on to my Alternative Top 100…maybe.

“Do you believe in destiny? That even the powers of time can be altered for a single purpose? That the luckiest man who walks on this earth is the one who finds… true love?” – Dracula


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