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Coppola's Dracula
  • Here's a question from the Cultural Aptitude Test. Warren Spahn is to Casey Stengel as Tom Waits is to ........??? Warren Spahn pitched for Casey Stengel in the 1940's for some woeful Boston Braves teams in the years before Mathews and Aaron showed up. He also pitched for Casey in the 1960's for some woeful Mets teams in the days before Tom Seaver showed up. In between, from 1949 to 1960, Casey won ten pennants in twelve years, including five consecutive World Series. Spahnie was fond of pointing out that he was the only man who worked for Casey before and after he was a genius. My analogy doesn't work perfectly for Tom Waits and Francis Ford Coppola, because the chronology is off. Waits never worked in Coppola's pre-Godfather movies, but he worked in some when Coppola's genius seemed to be in remission. Most glaringly, he was Renfield in Dracula.

    What a disappointment it must have been for Coppola to read the reviews of this movie. He was a certified genius, he got enough money to make a comeback big-budget movie, and this is what he churned out. Don't think the movie is without value. If you nominated this as the most visually splendid movie in your knowledge, you'd have a good case. The recreations of Gothic Transylvania and Gaslit Victorian London are splendid - sometimes beautiful, sometimes chilling. The first five minutes of the movie are just brilliant. But what possessed Coppola to cast this cast?

    First there is Dracula. We need the most over-the-top actor in the business. Shatner is too old and fat, and Larry Storch is too silly - how about Gary Oldman? His fag-hag movements and monologues are so exaggerated and campy as to make Burt Ward look like a master of subtlety. I laughed out loud twice when I watched the tape, when he took Keanu's shaving razor and licked the blood off of it, and when he was doing that hand thing while talking to his wives. Tom Waits, the skid row Sinatra, matches Oldman measure for measure, an overacting symphony unmatched since Shatner himself went toe-to-toe with Montalban in The Wrath of Khan. The rest of the cast is equally uncomfortable. Keanu Reeves is Harker, the brilliant young London attorney. OK, let's pause on that one. You want to cast an actor who can be convincing as a brilliant young 19th century attorney, and you want him to speak with an aristocratic accent from Victorian London? Who would you hire? I'll bet not one of you out there would have been stupid enough to hire Keanu Reeves, but that's exactly who the genius Coppola came up with. Cary Elwes was right there on the set, in the cast in a minor part, and could easily have handled Harker in a workmanlike and professional way, but no-o-o-o-o, get me Keanu. Whoa, bitchin', vampire dude! It was like Joe Don Baker playing Hamlet. And what was the deal with that Cowboy guy? "Now jes' hold on there, Dracula, you orn'rey sidewindin' bloodsuckin' whippersnapper, or I'll blast ya to kingdom come, buccaroo".

    The movie is worse if you watch it again, because you realize how badly it was truncated. For example, they must have planned a plot element about why Dracula wanted to buy such specific pieces of land in London - they discussed the logic - then dropped the thread and never picked it up again. There are even continuity errors. Keanu's hair was supposed to gray as the movie progressed, until he was completely free of the vampire's power, I guess. Or maybe it got lighter as he got nearer to Vampy. Unfortunately, it would get lighter in one scene, then darker, then lighter again without logic. Keanu's accent, such as it was, followed the same course. Sometimes the hair changes color in the same scene with different camera angles. No excuse for that. I guess scenes were re-edited from the planned sequence, or maybe they just plain lost track of the details. They simply dropped Renfield at one point, for example, and forgot about him. You know what happened, don't you? It was the emperor's new clothes. Hundreds of smart people involved in the movie knew the parts that sucked and exactly why, but nobody had the balls to look the great genius in the eye and say so. Who could presume to question the guy who did "Apocalypse Now"? Same thing happened to Tarkovsky when he made "Nostalghia".

    The plot centers around Dracula's search for the reincarnation of his centuries-ago true love. Of course, he was looking a little better back in the 1400's, when she committed suicide, thinking him dead. A sweet love story amid the Gothic wreckage? Phantom of the Soap Opera? Well, I suppose Winona isn't going to get a lot of action from Keanu Reeves, so why not take on Drac? Say, maybe that explains why they cast Keanu.

    The movie won the great genius three statuettes, for things like make up and costumes and sound effects. Talk about damning with faint praise. How many sleepless nights have you passed wondering who would win the Oscar for best Sound Effects Editing? It didn't win any f/x awards, and I'm not surprised, All the castles and mountains were painted backdrops, and obviously so. It is easy to fall in love with digitized images, as we all know.

    I could have forgiven the comic opera acting and the painted frames because of the movie's strengths, except that the movie has one unforgiveable element. It is boring. Tedious. Seems infinitely long. Stylish, but not scary. In the entertainment field, boredom is the only true sin. I loved the first 15 minutes, especially the symbolic and minimalist scenes from the 15th century, then I had to fight off sleep except during the unintentionally comic interludes. My friend Count Floyd sent over these tips for you youngsters who want to make scary monster chiller horror films (1) Speeches aren't scary, unless Ted Kennedy makes them and they use a lot of close-ups. (2) Monsters that can be clearly seen and defined aren't scary. People fear the unknown, the unseen, the shadowy, the unexplained. When you show things too clearly, they start to seem familiar, or comical, or trite. Oldman's haircut might have been scary if kept in shadow, but when you see it, well it's just silly and perplexing.

  • Here's a strange element of the movie. Winona Ryder and Sadie Frost kissed each other in the rain. This kiss looked like it was supposed to go on for a longer time. All of a sudden they started a passionate kiss, and then the camera cut away immediately and it didn't relate to any other plot element. No idea whether they were turned on or embarrassed or what? We don't know if this was a one-time thing or a part of their relationship. Looks like there was a subplot lost on the cutting room floor. I don't know why they left the kiss in at all, except Winona was wet and we get to look.
  • I don't know what Ryder is wearing under this nightie, but it was really suggestive and sexy, probably sexier than if we could see it clearly. Winona had a nice body, and I suppose we aren't going to get to see it any better than this. Pity. She's seven years older now, so I think the meter is running.
  • one more of the see-through
  • I love this frame. Michaela Bercu, one of Dracula's wives.
  • Sadie Frost. I love redheads, but they sure are heard to capture in photographs.
  • Sadie Frost
  • Sadie Frost
  • There is no dedicated Johnny Web website, but those scans and caps are introduced in the Fun House, and archived in the back issues. In fact, this is the only site that has ever had an authorized Johnny Web image (although, the internet being what it is, they end up elsewhere - but we always have them first!). Search for "Johnny Web" with the search function in the back issues. We have more than a year of back issues, plus the rasslin' babes site, the fakes, the Fun House, the Encyclopedia, and the Mardi Gras pics. Click here to sign up, log in, or get info
  • A couple more redheads
  • Young Nicole Kidman in Windrider, Note how different she looks.
  • Nicole Kidman in Windrider. The famous butt shot.
  • Nicole Kidman in Windrider. The shower scene.
  • Crow got a possible unintentional slip of nipplage from Penelope Ann Miller in Leaving Ozona.
  • She's not a redhead, but the movie is "Red Meat". Another great find by Crow - Jennifer Gray in a flimsy t-shirt.
  • I may as well keep going with Crow. Here's three of rasslebabe Stacy Carter - no nudity but bikinis and stuff.
  • Stacy Carter
  • Stacy Carter
  • Tuna
  • More classic porn from Tuna. By the way, Tuna, if you're reading, I got a lot of people requesting more of these. Bambi Woods, "Debbie Does Dallas"
  • Juliet Anderson, "Erotic Interlude"
  • Linda Lovelace demonstrates her talent in Deep Throat.
  • Seka in "Erotic Interlude"
  • DiamondEdge
  • The Edge takes a fresh look at "Breast Men." Emily Proctor before
  • Emily Proctor after. We've never figured out if it was prosthetics or what.
  • miscellaneous in "Breast Men"
  • miscellaneous in "Breast Men"
  • miscellaneous in "Breast Men". If you can ID, please do so. The girls, I mean, not David Schwimmer.
  • Paparazzi
  • are you kidding me? How old is Thora Birch, and she's appearing like this in public and doing a nude scene in American Beauty? What the hell does she have planned for us when she turns 18?
  • Helen Hunt on holiday/honeymoon in Australia. Wearing a thong!
  • Helen Hunt
  • Helen Hunt
  • some Elizabeth Hurley. One of them was new to me.
  • ... more ...
  • Requested re-run: Realist's exquisite caps of Marisa Berenson in Barry Lyndon
  • Charisma Carpenter, on the cover of FHM. Hot.
  • Two of Helen Slater in Betrayal of the Dove, from Don Juan
  • Helen Slater in Betrayal of the Dove
  • Donna d'Errico pre-bosom, from Pushe
  • Esther Canadas shows a breast on the runway. New to me. Bizarre facial expression.
  • Mariah Carey in the pink top from Heartbreaker.
  • Lim Delaney in Temptress, from GR
  • Kyra Sedgwick in Pyrates, from GR
  • Mia Nygren in "Plaza Real" (UC99)
  • Mia Nygren in "Plaza Real" (UC99)
  • Mia Nygren in "Plaza Real" (UC99)
  • Pamela Anderson yearbook picture with her high school volleyball team. Fully dressed, of course.
  • The Night is still working on the opening sequence from Barbarella. Three more of Jane Fonda
  • Jane Fonda
  • Jane Fonda