Dracula: Dead and Loving It
|Dracula: Dead and Loving It|
Theatrical release poster
|Directed by||Mel Brooks|
|Produced by||Mel Brooks
|Screenplay by||Mel Brooks
Rudy De Luca
|Story by||Rudy De Luca
|Based on||Dracula characters
by Bram Stoker
|Music by||Hummie Mann|
|Cinematography||Michael D. O'Shea|
|Editing by||Adam Weiss|
|Studio||Castle Rock Entertainment
|Distributed by||Columbia Pictures|
|Running time||88 minutes|
|Box office||$10,772,144 (United States)|
Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a 1995 comedy film starring Leslie Nielsen, directed by Mel Brooks. It is a parody of the novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, and of some of the films it inspired. This is the last film Mel Brooks directed, as of 2013.
Brooks co-authored the screenplay with Steve Haberman and Rudy De Luca. He also appears as Dr. Van Helsing. The film's other stars include Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck, Peter MacNicol, Harvey Korman, and Anne Bancroft.
The film follows the classic Dracula (1931), starring Bela Lugosi, in its deviations from the novel. Its visual style and production values are particularly evocative of the Hammer Horror films. It spoofed, among other movies, The Fearless Vampire Killers (1967) and Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992).
||This article's plot summary may be too long or excessively detailed. (October 2010)|
The year is 1893: solicitor Thomas Renfield (Peter MacNicol) travels all the way from London to "Castle Dracula" in Transylvania to finalise Count Dracula's purchase of Carfax Abbey in England. As the sun sets, and the stagecoach driver refuses to take him any further, Renfield continues on foot despite the villagers (including Chuck McCann and Anne Bancroft in cameos) pleading with him to turn back.
Renfield arrives safely and meets Count Dracula (Leslie Nielsen), a charming but rather strange man who is a vampire. He then casts a hypnotic spell on the suggestible Renfield, making him his slave. Dracula and Renfield soon embark for England. During the voyage, Dracula dines upon the ship's crew. When the ship arrives and Renfield (by this time raving mad in the style of Dwight Frye) is discovered alone on the ship, he is confined to a lunatic asylum.
Meanwhile, Dracula visits an opera house, where he introduces himself to his new neighbors: Doctor Seward (Korman), Seward's assistant Jonathan Harker (Weber), Seward's nubile daughter Mina (Amy Yasbeck), and Seward's ward, the equally nubile Lucy (Lysette Anthony). Dracula flirts with Lucy and, later that night, enters her bedroom and feeds on her blood.
The next day, Mina discovers Lucy still in bed late in the morning, looking strangely pale. Seward, puzzled by the odd puncture marks on her throat, calls in an expert on obscure diseases, Dr. Abraham Van Helsing (Mel Brooks). Van Helsing informs the skeptical Dr. Seward that Lucy has been attacked by a vampire. After some hesitation, Seward and Harker allow garlic to be placed in Lucy's bedroom to repel the vampire. Dracula uses mind-control to make Lucy leave her room, and kills her in the garden.
Van Helsing meets Dracula and begins to suspect him of being the local vampire after the two trade words and phrases in Moldavian, each attempting to have the last word in the foreign language 'discussion'. Lucy, now a vampire herself, rises from her crypt, drains the blood from her guard, and tries to attack Harker. Van Helsing rushes in just in time and chases her back to her coffin with a crucifix. Jonathan drives a stake into Lucy's heart, allowing her to at last rest in peace.
Dracula's next victim is Mina, but he has bigger plans for her; he wants her to be his undead bride throughout eternity. He spirits her away to Carfax Abbey, where they dance, and he sucks her blood. The following morning, she is unusually frisky, and tries to seduce the prudish Jonathan. Van Helsing becomes suspicious at this strange behavior. Noticing a scarf around Mina's neck, he removes it, revealing two puncture marks.
Van Helsing devises a plan to reveal Count Dracula's secret identity. He invites the Count to a ball, and places a huge mirror, covered with a curtain, on one of the walls. The curtain over the mirror is dropped, and guests are stunned to see that Dracula has no reflection. Dracula grabs Mina and escapes out a window.
Van Helsing deduces that Renfield is Dracula's slave, and thus might know where he keeps his coffin. He lets him out of his cell, and the three men secretly follow him to Dracula's lair. Once discovered, the Count locks himself in a room to finish making Mina his bride. His pursuers break down the door, and they fight. Van Helsing, noticing sunlight creeping into the room, starts opening the blinds. As his body begins to burn, Dracula transforms himself into a bat to flee, but is inadvertently killed by the inept Renfield opening a panel of the roof.
With Dracula finally vanquished, Renfield falls into despair with no master to serve. Seward tells him "You are free, now", and he realizes this to be true with Dracula gone, and seems relieved. But when Dr. Seward calls for Renfield to follow him out of the church, he follows with "Yes Master". Van Helsing dusts himself off, opens Dracula's coffin and yells something in Moldavian to ensure that he has the final word between himself and the count. However Dracula somehow manages to have the last word as, after the end credits roll, he makes one final statement in the same language, at which point the film fades entirely to black.
Filming began in May 1995 and wrapped in September 1995
- Leslie Nielsen as Count Dracula
- Mel Brooks as Abraham Van Helsing
- Peter MacNicol as Thomas Renfield
- Steven Weber as Jonathan Harker
- Amy Yasbeck as Mina Seward
- Lysette Anthony as Lucy Westenra
- Harvey Korman as Dr. Seward
- Anne Bancroft as Madame Ouspenskaya (Gypsy Woman)
- Ezio Greggio as the coachman
- Megan Cavanagh as Essie
James Berardinelli of ReelViews wrote: "Alas, Dracula: Dead and Loving It doesn't come close to the level attained by Young Frankenstein. It's a toothless parody that misses more often than it hits. ... Ultimately, however, Dracula is infected with the same disease that has plagued the last several Brooks films -- it's just not all that funny. Sure, there are humorous bits here and there throughout the running length, but not enough to justify an entire movie. ... Given the comic turn his career has taken since the early '80s, it's hard to believe that Leslie Nielsen was once a serious actor. These days, thanks to the Zucker brothers (Airplane, The Naked Gun), he has become an accomplished satirical performer. His sense of timing is impeccable, and this asset has made him a sought-after commodity for a wide variety of spoofs. Here, Nielsen takes on the title role, but his presence can't resurrect this stillborn lampoon. Unless you're a die hard Mel Brooks fan, there's no compelling reason to sit through Dracula: Dead and Loving It. The sporadic humor promises some laughs, but the ninety minutes will go by slowly. The general failure of this movie leads to one obvious question: why couldn't Brooks just leave Dracula dead and buried?"
Joe Leydon of Variety wrote: "Leslie Nielsen toplines to agreeable effect as Count Dracula, depicted here as a dead-serious but frequently flustered fellow who's prone to slipping on bat droppings in his baroque castle. ... Despite his initial appearance in a fluffed-up wig very similar to Gary Oldman's hairdo in Bram Stoker's Dracula, Nielsen sticks with a Bela Lugosi accent and a traditionally Continental interpretation of the part. ... Trouble is, while Dead and Loving It earns a fair share of grins and giggles, it never really cuts loose and goes for the belly laughs. Compared with the recent glut of dumb, dumber and dumbest comedies, Brooks's pic seems positively understated. Indeed, there isn't much here that would have seemed out of place (or too tasteless) in comedy sketches for TV variety shows of the 1950 s. ... As a result, unfortunately, Dead and Loving It is so mild, it comes perilously close to blandness. ... The only real sparks are set off by MacNicol as Renfield, the solicitor who develops a taste for flies and spiders after being bitten by Dracula. ... Brooks himself playfully mangles his dialogue with a Middle European accent as Professor Van Helsing, vampire hunter extraordinaire. As Mina, Harker's fiancee, Amy Yasbeck is amusingly saucy once Dracula has the chance to nibble on her neck. But neither Brooks nor Yasbeck ever gets a laugh as big as those earned by Anne Bancroft in her one-scene cameo as a gypsy woman named -- of course! -- Madame Ouspenskaya."
Box Office 
The movie debuted at No.10.
- "Dracula: Dead and Loving It". Rotten Tomatoes. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- "Dead and Loving It - A Film Review by James Berardinelli". reelviews.net. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- "Dracula: Dead and Loving It - Review by Joe Leydon". variety.com. 1995-12-17. Retrieved 2012-02-11.
- Dutka, Elaine (1995-12-27). "Weekend Box Office : 'Exhale' Blows Down the Competition". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2012-06-03.
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