Movie Draculas – Brian Teegarden’s Top Five
It all started with the legend of a medieval Romanian prince, Vlad Tepes, or Vlad the Impaler. This dude was so bad to his enemies, that his nickname was “The Devil” or “dracul” in the local lexicon. Irish author Bram Stoker took the legend, and crafted it into one of the great works of horror fiction of all time. It was only natural that the fledgling motion picture business, hungry for stories, would make Dracula a character that would be portrayed in film after film. All of these Draculas would have Edward Cullen for lunch. No,really, they would eat him alive. Many actors have donned the cloak, but in my opinion, these are the Top Five.
Gerard Butler in “Dracula 2000″
Before he has Leonides in “300”, or got to mess around with Jennifer Anniston, Gerard Butler had a go at playing the Prince of Transylvania. Only he's not from Transylvania. He's actually Judas Iscariot, and being a vampire for 2000 years is his curse for betraying Christ. Interesting twist on the legend. Gerard was pretty scary in this role.
Gary Oldman in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.
An interesting take on the legend. The film explores Dracula's medieval roots and how he renounced God and became a vampire. The line about “oceans of time” has been parodied many times. The make up in this one is probably the best of all of the versions.
Christopher Lee in the British Hammer film series.
Before he played Saruman in “The Lord Of The Rings”, or Willie Wonka's dentist dad in “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, Christopher Lee played Dracula in 1958 for Britain's Hammer Films. The first Technicolor Dracula, Lee was evil embodied. Just plain scary.
Frank Langella as Dracula in 1979
Frank Langella had played Dracula in a Broadway revival of the stage play, so when Hollywood made this version in 1979, he got the role. His Count Dracula was quiet and understated, yet you knew how bad he was. Kate Nelligan and Donald Pleasance were great in the cast as well.
Bela Lugosi in Dracula, 1931
This is the gold standard to which all Draculas are compared.Bela Lugosi had been a Shakespearean stage actor in his native Hungary, and played the part on Broadway after coming to the U.S. . His powerful voice and Eastern European accent made him a natural for the role. Unfortunately. Lugosi was typecast as a horror film actor. To see a portrayal of the fine actor's sad end, see the film “Ed Wood” by Tim Burton. Martin Landau won an Oscar for his portrayal of Lugosi in this film.