Not everybody likes a simpering love story, some of us like a little extra spice thrown into our romance to get a rise out of us, so to speak. And sometimes a little extra spice still isn’t enough. In fact, add a dollop of horror, blood, passion, and sex, masterfully crafted by a genius filmmaker and you get my most favorite movie and love story of all time: Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
On many a wonderful night, nerding out over cinema with friends, I have argued that Coppola’s Dracula is one of the greatest love stories of all time. Dracula loves so profoundly and with so much passion that ALL other epic love stories pale in comparison. Allow me to explain. The entire story hinges on the fact that God exists, and as the ultimate power in the universe, we must all live by his set rules. It doesn’t matter what you really believe, this is the reality of the Dracula universe, because, at least in the movie, Dracula couldn’t become a vampire, without God or the dogma that follows suit. This is where the love story comes in, because Vlad the Impaler, or Dracula, was at one time a man of great faith and he loved God. He defended Christianity with his life, risking his life and kingdom to fight off heretics from his land. The only thing that eclipsed his love for God, was the love he had for his wife, Elisabeta. While away on one of his religious wars, his wife is fooled into thinking he had died in battle. She stupidly kills herself, thus preventing her soul from entering heaven, and condemning it to purgatory.
Now here’s where the ultimate love story part comes in. Vlad is SOOO enraged that God would condemn his beloved wife, despite the fact that her death was, in part, due to his mission to defend God, that he uses his fierce free will to defy God. He decides that God’s laws will no longer apply to him, and amazingly, it works. That is how great his love is. He loves his wife so much that it gives him the strength to defy God. Using a focused and powerful free will, he turns the communion blessing on its ass and uses blood to fuel his own immortality to spite God. He figures, if God’s rules steal my one true love, he then can steal the sanctity of God’s most holy ritual. Woah. And per the movie, it isn’t even Satan lending a helping hand here, it’s just the wrath of one very strong individual who stands toe-to-toe with the most powerful force of all. He curses himself to live outside of God’s laws so that maybe, just maybe, he will live long enough to see Elisabeta again. Hands down, this is best vampire origin story ever, and endlessly romantic. And the even the end, it’s his love for her that frees him from his wretched existence. She is his soul’s linchpin and he even finds peace with God again through her love.
Of course, Elisabeta is reincarnated as Mina, played by Winona Ryder in her glorious prime, after Dracula waits “oceans of time” to see her again, and an erotically charged horror/love story begins. If you have a thing for the gothic flavor, you’ll be treated to a healthy dose of sensual imagery including a topless Monica Bellucci as one of the Brides of Dracula and of course, lots of Lucy, the gorgeous Sadie Frost, writhing and frolicking about in lingerie.
Sensuality aside, this movie is freaking amazing! Gary Oldman steals the show as Dracula and he exudes an erotic aura, filled with longing, endless sadness, and brutal cruelty. This man is one of the greatest actors of all time and his work in this film doesn’t disappoint. His character undergoes thirteen physical manifestations throughout the story, including extensive make up and two full body suits. Not only does he emote with speech and charisma, he uses his entire body to physically make Dracula’s many forms come to vivid and terrifying life. And to help him along, an outstanding make up team was enlisted and they snagged 2 Oscars for their work. This film also won for Best Effects and Sound Effects Editing. It’s truly stunning.
Perfect for those with a darker taste in love and a discerning eye for cinema, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is my date night cup of tea. It’s sexy, scary, and saturated with gothic beauty. Enjoy it with the lights out and a cup of dark, aged, red wine.
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The Diva Del Mar