Dracula is without question the most vampire of all time and has been presented in dozens of horror films, television programs, comic books and video games across the globe. The character was first envisioned by Irish author Bram Stoker in his 1897 novel, Dracula. The titular antagonist, Dracula, was in fact based upon a 15th century Wallachian prince named Vlad Ţepeş III, also known as Vlad the Impaler. The first cinematic representation of Dracula was in the unauthorized 1922 silent film Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens by F. W. Murnau. The role of Dracula was played by German actor Max Schreck. Since this film was never approved by the Stoker estate, later versions of the film have changed the character's name to Count Orlok. Since then, the character has been presented in various films played by a wide range of actors such as Bela Lugosi, John Carradine, Christopher Lee, Udo Kier, Gary Oldman and many, many more.
Dracula came to Venice Beach, California in search of the last known member of the Frankenstein family. He discovered this individual living under the alias of Doctor Durae. Dracula knew that Durae's work with blood would enable him to become truly invincible, so he decided to enter into a bargain with the wheelchair-bound scientist. To help curry Durae's favor, Dracula went to Oakmoor Cemetery and exhumed the remains of the original Frankenstein Monster, which had been presumed lost for several years. He brought it to Durae's laboratory and told him that he could use the monster as the instrument of his revenge against those who crippled him. In exchange, Dracula would inherit the power produced by Durae's blood formula.
When Durae resurrected the Frankenstein Monster, the creature was left to Dracula to do his bidding. Dracula found one of Durae's former associates, Doctor Beaumont, and led him into the path of the monster who subsequently killed him.
Dracula's plan for appropriating Durae's research came to an end when Durae met an untimely death after accidentally falling upon a guillotine blade. Dracula then set his sights on a woman named Judith Fontaine. Hypnotizing her, he bound Judith to an exterior landing adjacent to the laboratory. Echoing the sentiments of the late Doctor Durae, he told Judith that her fear energized the molecular structure of her blood and the resulting formula would make Dracula invincible, enabling him to command legions of the undead.
Judith's lover, Mike Howard, came to her rescue, but first had to bypass the Frankenstein Monster. He ignited a flare and shoved it into the monster's face, temporarily blinding him. The Monster wheeled about and attacked Dracula, mistaking him for Mike. Dracula reassumed control over the monster through hypnosis, but their brief scuffle provided Mike enough time to free Judith. The two attempted to run away, but Dracula pointed his ring finger towards them and fired a death ray, which burned Mike Howard to cinders.
Dracula and the monster then recaptured Judith and brought her to an old abandoned church. By this point however, the monster had developed an interest in Judith and did not wish to see her come to further harm. As Dracula prepared to bite her throat, the monster rebelled against him and the two began fighting one another inside the church. During the fight, the monster succeeded in pulling the ring off of Dracula's finger.
The two continued their fight outside and their struggle brought them into the nearby forest. Although Dracula was weaker without his ring, he was still strong enough to overpower the Frankenstein Monster. He tore both of the creature's arms out of their sockets, then ripped his head from his body. Unfortunately for Dracula, too much time had passed since the beginning of their fight and the sun was beginning to rise over the horizon. He desperately raced back towards the church, but he wasn't able to reach his coffin in time and he disintegrated in the sun. Judith managed to free herself and walked outside only to find a ring, a discarded cape and a pile of debris that was once Count Dracula.
Original Death Edit
Dracula's death in the final cut of Dracula vs. Frankenstein is radically different from the original script. In the original ending, Dracula met his end slightly earlier in the film when he first captured Judith Fontaine. Just as he was preparing to bite Judith, the Frankenstein Monster (who had become smitten with the young woman), betrayed Dracula and the two fought one another at the top of a set of steel steps. Dracula vanquished the monster with a heat ray from his special ring, then tried to escape. Judith and her lover, Mike Howard, got into a police cruiser and ran into Dracula, driving him backward against the side of a building where he was impaled on a sharp, metal pipe.
- One of the more telling elements from the reshot ending and the rest of the film is the appearance of Count Dracula. In the finale, Dracula is wearing a set of prosthetic fangs that are too big for the actor's mouth. He is also wearing an excessive amount of white face paint, which was not present in earlier scenes.
- Zandor Vorkov, who played the role of Dracula, is actually a former stock broker named Roger Engel. His screen name was created by Horror/Sci-Fi mogul Forrest J. Ackerman and was a combination of Anton Szandor LaVey and Boris Karloff. Anton LaVey was the founder of the Church of Satan. Vorkov, which sound similar to "Karloff", was named for the British actor famous for immortalizing the role of the Frankenstein Monster in the 1930s.
- In one of the early drafts of the film, Dracula was to bite the Frankenstein Monster, turning him into a vampire. However, actor John Bloom had too much difficulty fitting the fake vampire fangs in place in addition to his regular makeup, so the idea was scrapped.
- All of Dracula's dialogue was spoken through an echo box to give his voice a reverberating, staccato effect.
External Links Edit
- ↑ Although released in 1971, the events from Dracula vs. Frankenstein take place in March of 1969.
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