Written by Richard Matheson
Produced & Directed by Dan Curtis
Distributed by MPI Home Video
There have been tons of films made about the story of Count Dracula. There are a few good ones, and there are some really bad ones. Luckily, the subject of tonight's review falls into the category of good ones! Dan Curtis' DRACULA was released in 1974 as a TV movie, which explains the lack of gore in the film. Yet even with minimal gore, this is a very well made adaptation of the Dracula story! Here is some info on this new release from the MPI press release:
Academy Award winner Jack Palance stars in this terrifying adaptation of Bram Stoker's classic vampire novel Dracula, written for the screen by sci-fi/horror master Richard Matheson (The Twilight Zone, I Am Legend, Duel) and produced by the legendary Dan Curtis (Dark Shadows, Trilogy of Terror, The Winds of War). Palance (City Slickers, Batman, Shane, Contempt) is Count Dracula, whose centuries-old existence is threatened after he attacks the lovely Lucy Westenra (Fiona Lewis, Dr. Phibes Rises Again), and her fiance (Simon Ward, The Tudors, Young Winston) calls in famed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Nigel Davenport, A Man for All Seasons; Mary, Queen of Scots) to investigate. Originally shown on CBS-TV in 1974, DAN CURTIS' DRACULA has long been considered among the most frightening versions of the Dracula story; the
Los Angeles Times called Palance "the definitive Count Dracula - as flesh-crawling an experience as you've ever had." Filmed on location in England and Yugoslavia,
DAN CURTIS' DRACULA has been transferred and restored in 2K High Definition from the original 35mm camera negative and presented here on Blu-ray for the first time.
I have to admit, I had no idea of this movie's existence. I never knew Jack Palance had ever played Dracula. I really haven't seen Jack Palance in too many things, other than his later stuff like when he hosted Ripley's Believe it or Not back in the 80's or for his role in the film CITY SLICKERS. I am not familiar with his earlier work, but if this performance is any indication, he was a remarkable actor in his day. Christopher Lee has always been my favorite "Dracula", but after seeing this film, Mr. Palance may have taken my top spot!
This film had some great names involved, and it is hard to believe it was a made for TV movie. The production value is very high for a TV movie from this time. The film was written by Richard Matheson and was produced and directed by Dan Curtis who gave us the TV show, DARK SHADOWS. So with that much talent behind the camera, and the talent of Mr. Palance in front of the camera, this film was sure to be a hit, and I believe it is.
The film is pretty tame by today's standards. There is very little blood except for when a couple of the vampires get staked, then they spit up some blood, but overall it is very tame. I didn't know it was a made for TV film before I started watching it, but as I watched it I noticed some fade to black breaks in the film that seemed like a perfect spot for a commercial break. Once I read the press release, I saw that is was in fact made for CBS Television. That explains why the film is not gorier than it is, and contains no nudity or bad language. The film could probably get a PG rating if released to theaters today, yet it still manages to have a very creepy/scary feel to it.
I would highly suggest you check out this version of DRACULA if you are a fan of that character. Dan Curtis' DRACULA is available now on Blu-ray from MPI Home Video and contains the following special features:
* Interviews with Actor Jack Palance
* Interview with Producer/Director Dan Curtis
* TV cuts
* Spanish & French Audio Tracks
* English SDH Subtitles
CLICK HERE to watch the trailer
CLICK HERE to purchase the Blu-ray