BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA is a grotesquely heavy-handed tribute to man’s perverse fascination with his own potential for brutality, sinfulness and rebellion. Francis Ford Coppola’s corny vision of Stoker’s wicked fairy tale equates love and sexuality with the most barbarous, bloodthirsty evil and exploits Christianity by abusing its symbols and its scriptures–stripping them of their meaning. In a revisionist prelude, Prince Vlad Dracula of Transylvania (Gary Oldman) discovers that his wife Elizabeta has committed suicide and renounces God. Four hundred years later, Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) journeys to Transylvania to visit Dracula, who is buying property in London. Dracula discovers a portrait of Harker’s fiancee, Mina, who appears to be a reincarnation of Elizabeta. Leaving the young man at the mercy of three demonic female vampires, Dracula sails for England to seduce Mina.
BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA takes the eroticism of the vampire legend to an unholy extreme. Along with the perversion of human sexuality, there is also a twisted leitmotif of the perversion of Christianity. The effect is to bring Christianity down to the level of a spiritist religion, with totems, fetishes, and magical chants. BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA is rendered in a gauche cine-baroque style that is betrayed by second-rate acting and directing.
(L, VVV, NNN, SSS, Ho, O, Ab, RH) 1 obscenity & 1 profanity; men impaled on stakes, beheadings, stabbings, throat slashing, throat and genitals bitten, stake driven through chest, female vampires devour infant (partly obscured); many erotic scenes of upper female nudity; lewd "Kama Sutra" type pictures in Arabian Nights book, beast graphically rapes woman, vampire attacks which resemble fornication, seduction of man by female vampires, & lesbianism; hypnotism, lycanthropy, witchcraft, & reincarnation; unbiblical statements, blasphemy, cross is stabbed and bleeds, crosses burn when growled at by vampires, Christian symbols & scripture exploited, & Dracula quotes Jesus' dying words before being beheaded; Vlad the Impaler misrepresented as defender of the Church who renounces God after wife commits suicide.