Let’s face it, when it comes to the Monsters, Dracula is the s#@t! The supreme scary, the hippest of the horrors, the shizzlest with the sizzle. He’s just really cool.
I remember the first time I saw Bela Lugosi’s version on television. It was on a show they had Saturday nights called Creature Features. I still remember the theme song: Dun dun duh dun, dun dun duh dun. Can you hear it? So cool. And there he was, coming down the stairs in glorious grainy black and white. Those movies weren’t preserved very well so there may have even been a couple of skipped frames. But man those eyes were something. He looked like someone that would “vont to drink your blood”, although I don’t think that was an actual line of dialogue in the movie. The dude moved slow; he had his victim in a trance after all so what’s the point of rushing.
There were no special effects in this movie, save for the light they put on his eyes in a couple of scenes to accentuate them. Like they needed it! Ha. This was not your grandmother’s scary movie. Wait. Well, anyways then there was Renfield. The creepiest little bite victim this side of the mosquito coast. And that crazy laugh. Man if you don’t know what I’m talking about do yourself a favor and find this movie for Halloween.
Since then there have been all kinds of vampire depictions: there was Blacula, Asiala, Hispanicala and of course The Count on Sesame Street. There was Gary Oldman in Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” which I believe was supposed to be more the definitive version of the book but, although he’s a great actor, his hair looked like my grandmother’s did when she wrapped her “do” in a towel to keep it “set” when she went to bed. There was another movie called “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” with Jack Palance, but I think he just did push-ups on the coffin every morning (night).
Christopher Lee played Dracula in a bunch of movies in the 70s but they just kept coming up with plots and new titles ala Planet of the Apes. Oh and I should go backwards and mention Nosferatu, the 1922 silent film starring Max Schrek, who come to think of it looks more like a thin Shrek than what one would consider the iconic portrayal of Bela Lugosi.
He’s the one people emulate when they put together the costume. The reason they’re wearing a white shirt and cape. He’s the stuff. Just like no one will ever be a better talk show host than Johnny Carson, no one will ever be a better Dracula than Bela Lugosi. “Listen to them. Children of the night. What music they make.” Yeah!