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Macabre Films

DRACULA (’79) (1979, USA / UK)

dir: John Badham
109 min
starring: Frank Langella, Laurence Olivier, Kate Nelligan, Donald Pleasence

A ship drifts into town with a wordless crew of cadavers. White horses gallop knowingly over graves of the damned. Crucifixes burst into flames. A specter shapeshifts into a demonic wolf, while the gore soaked remains of a dead girl stalks a cemetery’s catacombs. Welcome to the nearly forgotten universe of John Badham’s horrific adaptation of the classic Stoker novel. Unlike countless other Dracula tellings, Badham chose to base his version on the cult play that was at the time enjoying a huge revival. A screenplay that already packed a cryptful of surprises for familiar audiences was enhanced tenfold by a nightmarish, sometimes surrealistic visual sense and an unbelievable cast of British stage & screen legends. Most impressively, Sir Laurence Olivier makes a phenomenal and tragic Van Helsing. Langella’s turn as the count, reprising his role from the stageplay, as Lugosi had before him, is the perfect balance between menace and seductive charm. Next to HORROR OF DRACULA, this is probably the most startling and effective DRACULA ever shot - ten times more atmospheric than any other and dead serious in its approach, with moments of horror that are truly bone chilling. An out and out Cinemascope extravaganza, this is one film that can never be replicated on home video. Rarely celebrated and unscreened in Montreal for over 21 years, DRACULA 79 will rise from its psychedelic tomb to stalk new generations of moviegoers in all its undead, big screen glory. (MD)

Inspiré d'une pièce de théâtre des années 70, mettant en vedette Sir Lawrence Olivier, cette version de DRACULA est une véritable expérience psychédélique. Tourné en cinémascope, et visionné pour la première fois en 21 ans à Montréal.


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