Film / Bram Stoker's Dracula

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"The Blood is the Life!"

The 1992 movie adaption of the novel directed by Francis Ford Coppola from James V. Hart's script.

It features Gary Oldman playing a vampire, and Winona Ryder playing a Damsel in Distress. Anthony Hopkins plays a hammy Van Helsing.

The film opens with the fall of Constantinople in 1462 (in this, the movie is incorrect; the city actually fell in 1453). Prince Vlad III Draculea successfully defends Christian civilization from the Eastern threat, but the Turks take revenge by sending a false message of his death to his wife, Elisabeta, whom he loves dearly. In her despair, she throws herself from the castle's walls to her death. Vlad's priests declare that, as her death was a suicide, she is now damned to hell. Enraged, Vlad renounces God and vows to drink the blood of men.

Flash forward to England, 1897. A clerk named Renfield (Tom Waits) is gibbering in his asylum cell while his replacement, Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves), travels to Transylvania to complete the sale of various properties around London to a certain Count Dracula who is extremely intrigued when he sees a picture of Harker's bride-to-be, Mina Murray, as she looks remarkably like a certain lost love...


This film provides examples of:

  • Adaptational Badass: Dracula is still alive when Jonathan slashes his throat and Quincey stabs him, even throwing both of them across the courtyard. Though this may be attributed to the fact that he manages to get out of his coffin before they reach him.
  • Adaptational Heroism: Dracula gets this treatment in the film. He becomes a vampire for renouncing God after his bride kills herself (and the Priest declares that her soul would be eternally damned as a result) and then falls in love with Mina because she is her reincarnation. This backstory comes from the fact that Dracula is patterned on Vlad the Impaler who did oppose the Turks and wage a "Holy War" on behalf of God and protected Europe from Muslim influence. So from his perspective he was punished for doing God's work when his wife died. In addition, Dracula's plot in the original novel of taking over England is omitted, undoubtedly because the hypocritical imperialist projection of foreign invader would not be sympathetic to a liberal Italian-American like Coppola.
  • Adaptational Consent: In the original book, vampire attacks seemed to be metaphors for rape, so while this trope is averted with Lucy it is played straight with Mina as she is Promoted to Love Interest.
  • Adaptational Modesty: Inverted. Lucy and Mina are quite modest in the original novel. This film cranks up the nudity and sex appeal.
  • Adaptational Wimp:
    • Renfield went down fighting Dracula in the book and came close to killing him (in his mist form no less) with his bare hands.
  • Adaptation Expansion: Dracula's Back Story as a self-cursed vampire because his wife committed suicide is entirely absent from the original novel. From this Back Story comes Mina's resemblance to his wife, Dracula's pursuit of her because of it, and Mina falling in love with him to the point of nearly sabotaging the heroes' attempts to stop him from completely turning her.
  • Adaptation Personality Change: Lucy is an Ingenue, bordering on Purity Sue in the books. This film portrays her as flirty and promiscuous, as well as slightly ditzy. Of course, given that the novel is an epistolary, and told via multiple characters writing the events in journals, letters and so on, it's possible to interpret some of the book's portrayal of Lucy as Victorian euphemism, especially given Mina's awareness of the Interclass Friendship between her and Lucy, which would prevent people of her generation and background (i.e. upwardly mobile middle-class educated working woman) from being entirely critical of her "social betters".
  • All for Nothing: Dracula's Faith–Heel Turn and consequent vampirism due to his sheer despair and rage over not only losing Elisabeta (to suicide), but also being (seemingly) unable to be Together in Death with her (as his religious branch unfortunately declares that Suicide Is Shameful). But as the ending shows, she ended up in Heaven after all (thus disproving said declaration), and he's apparently invoked enough Redemption Equals Death to be allowed to rejoin her. Meaning that all of his evil actions have been completely pointless.
  • Animal Motifs: Dracula is associated with the usual wolves, bats, and rats. Lucy is frequently associated with reptiles: She wears an evening gown with snake embroidery and has a hairdo that resembles coiled snakes, the nightgown she wears when attacked by Dracula resembles a snake's belly, and her wedding/funeral dress was inspired by frill-necked lizards.
  • Award-Bait Song: Love Song for a Vampire by Annie Lennox
  • Art Imitates Art: Dracula's castle is modeled after the painting "The Black Idol" (1903) by Frantisek Kupka.
  • Back Story: The prologue detailing Prince Draculea's war in the name of God, only to renounce Him upon his wife's suicide.
  • Badass Boast:
    Dracula: You think you can destroy me with your idols! I, who served the cross! I, who commanded nations, hundreds of years before you were born!
    • Upon learning his lover has committed suicide, a sin apparently great enough to damn Elisabeta's soul for eternity:
  • Be Careful What You Wish For: Mina admits in her diary that she wishes she "were as pretty and adored as Lucy." Dracula certainly sees her as beautiful and someone to adore... Later, after she returns from Transylvania with her new husband, she secretly wonders if/hopes that she'll see her "prince" again. She does, but the consequences aren't pretty.
  • Bedlam House: In an inversion from the book, Dr. Seward's asylum is depicted as one of these.
  • Big "NO!":
    • Vlad has one in the prologue, as he realizes too late what his Rage Against the Heavens has turned him into.
    • Later, Harker gets a downplayed (loud, but short and intense) "No!" when he learns that Dracula's successfully claimed Mina as his.
    • Mina does one when Quincey stabs Dracula in the courtyard.
  • Bittersweet Ending: Lucy and Quincey are dead, Mina and Jonathan's future relationship is on rocky ground and Mina has to kill the man she loves but Dracula's soul is implied to have been redeemed and reunited with his beloved Elisabeta in Heaven.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Dracula's brides. One brunette receives an Adaptation Dye-Job to become a redhead (there was the blonde and two brunettes in the book).
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: At first, Dracula lures Lucy out of the mansion and into the over-large gardens of the estate for sex and blood. From then on, Lucy eagerly awaits him, writhing and moaning in her bed as he approaches. The final night, he crashes through the window as a wolf, rips open her throat and laps up her blood, and she dies with cries of agonized pleasure.
  • Byronic Hero: Count Dracula goes from being a Holy Warrior of Christianity to a Demonic servant upon the death, and supposed damnation of his beloved wife, believing that God forsaked and punished him simply because he was acting as the culture and society of his time expected a good Christian King should have behaved. In the late 19th Century, he's a decadent aristocrat living a cursed, desperate, existence simply for the chance to reunite with his beloved with his magic rituals competing, poorly, against the scientific, modern, advanced world of London in the British Empire. It's been noted by many critics that had Dracula been written in the early 1800s during the Romantic era, he would undoubtedly be made sympathetic by the likes of Byron and Shelley (Percy and Mary), and Coppola is very much a Romantic in the same mould.
  • Captain's Log: Most of the main characters provide voiceover narration in the form of journal entries or letters read out loud. In one case, it's played literally with a log written by the captain of the 'Demeter'. As the book is an epistolary novel, this is actually more accurate to the source material rather than just a clumsy job of incorporating elements that were hard to adapt.
  • Chase Scene: The climatic action scene where the Vampire Hunters on horseback pursue the coach carrying Dracula's coffin as it races towards his castle, while engaging in a shootout with Dracula's gypsy mooks.
  • Chekhov's Gun: Quincey's Bowie knife turns up in the scene in which he is introduced. At the end of the movie Mina uses it to finally kill Dracula.
  • Chewing the Scenery:
    • Van Helsing yelling "Feed me!" to his driver because he apparently can't go vampire hunting on an empty stomach. It normally would just be realistic dialogue, since people do need to eat, but it's this trope because he's bellowing it at the top of his lungs while doing an intentionally ridiculous tango with Quincey, screaming about how Lucy is "the Devil's concubine," and laughing like a maniac because he's figured out what Dracula is up to.
    • A lot of Oldman's performance as the older Dracula can be this, although it actually works to his advantage — he manages to be really damn creepy, and it (largely successfully) helps to portray the Count as someone who is unaccustomed to being around or dealing with people in any meaningful capacity.
  • Christianity Is Catholic: Averted, despite the fact that the director came from an Italian-American Catholic background. Most of the Christianity we see is very Orthodox influenced since it's set in Romania, and Mina and Jonathan's wedding is very much an Orthodox-flavored wedding. Count Dracula's castle likewise also has a lot of Byzantine-inspired murals and mosaics, which is ironic considering that the historical Vlad the Impaler was a Catholic in contrast to the Ortodox majority in Romenia.
  • Cloudcuckoolander: Van Helsing falls somewhere between this and Nightmare Fuel Station Attendant.
  • Color-Coded for Your Convenience:
    • The Transylvanian scenes in the early part of the film are tinted a hellish red.
    • If the main color for a scene is orange, it's an almost certain sign that someone is going to be in danger (or just very creeped out). It's not the first time something orange-related meant death in a Francis Ford Coppola movie.
  • Costume Porn: Wonderful and fruitcake, the designs by Eiko Ishioka won an Academy Award.
  • Cross-Melting Aura: Dracula's brides melt Jonathan's crucifix, thankfully without burning him. Dracula causes a cross that Helsing tries to use against him to burst into flames.
  • Dance of Romance: Dracula and Mina share a brief one in a dark room full of candles.
  • Dangerously Close Shave: Dracula does this to Harker- Harker is just nicked, but Dracula licking the blood off of the razor is one of the film's iconic moments.
  • Daywalking Vampire: See Our Vampires Are Different. Played with in that this is faithful to the book, as vampires were not thought, at the time the original novel was written, to be unable to come out in sunlight. However, it runs counter to the more familiar vampire lore and expectations of the present.
  • Death by Adaptation: The gypsies. In the book, most (if not all) survive the fight with Jonathan, Arthur, Seward, and Quincey, fleeing when Dracula is killed. Here, half are killed in a chase to Dracula's castle and the rest cut down in a fight in the courtyard.
  • Deconstruction:
    • The film deconstructs the Dracula myth by reconstructing many of the Unbuilt Tropes of the original, such as clarifying the vampires are not killed by sunlight trope. (Rather, they are depowered.) More broadly, the film expands upon the book as a portrait of Victorian London and the changing mores of sexuality, women, and the advances of science which were part of the time, and goes on to expand on the sexual subtext of the story, which is what underlies the Mina-Dracula romance.
    • More importantly, it deconstructs Dracula's vampire image by never giving him a fixed human and vampire form, often changing and shifting identities in the course of the movie, never arriving at a fixed classical image unlike Bela Lugosi's or Murnau's Nosferatu who are so Obviously Evil that you wonder why anyone is surprised when they turn out to be vampires. Here Dracula has a different form for different occasions, the iconic traditional Old Dracula look when he greets Jonathan, a younger Londoner appearance when he visits Mina in daylight and a monstrous bat form and so on.
    • Coppola also noted that the story's setting paralleled the birth of film, and one scene shows Dracula and Mina seeing early films. His aversion of CGI for in-camera effects and technology stemmed from a desire to use primitive special effects like Magic Lantern shows and practical effects in the mode of Georges Méliès. In terms of visual effects, the movie is an encyclopedia of the history of the gothic horror-fantasy film genre itself, alluding to everything from Melies to German Expressionism to Val Lewton, to La Belle et la Bête, to Alfred Hitchcock, Roger Corman, to The Exorcist (Van Helsing treating Lucy). The characterization of Lucy Westenra and Mina Harker in the film also explores the Final Girl trope in horror, with Lucy's victimization heavily focused on her sexuality, while Mina more or less commits adultery with Jonathan and willingly encourages Dracula's affections and returns it, and ends up defeating and redeeming the Count, presumably surviving the film's events.
    • Coppola was also alluding to the fact that Victorian Britain was the era when Psychology first became a major field. Lucy Westenra's condition and illness is directed in a manner similar to cases of hysteria in the Victorian age, and Van Helsing's weird attitude to sex and vampirism, (i.e. civilization and syphilization proceeds in parallel to each other) is a parody of the patriarchal nature of conventional Freudian psychology, with women's sexuality being controlled, policed and punished by men. Renfield is imprisoned in a Bedlam House symbolizing the more inhumane ways mentally ill people were treated in that time and place. Mina repeatedly asks Jonathan and Van Helsing if they would chop her head of like Lucy, or treat her like a beast too. Likewise, the heavy focus in the film on blood-transmitted vampirism aludes to '90s fears and anxiety about sex in the post-AIDS world.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The film makes it seem as if Jonathan Harker is the main protagonist set at odds against Dracula as the antagonist. Once Dracula arrives in London, it becomes clear that both he and Mina are the film's true protagonists. Dracula begins the plot, while Mina finally resolves it. It was essentially this way in the original novel too, where the majority of the second and third acts revolve around Mina.
  • Demoted to Extra: Seward, one of the most important characters and principal narrators in the original novel, is relegated to being part of Those Three Guys with Holmwood and Morris.
  • Despair Event Horizon: The false report of the death of Vlad Draculea for Elisabeta, and her suicide for him.
  • Dies Wide Open: Happens to Dracula in the finale.
  • Dissonant Serenity: Van Helsing, a couple of times:
    • As he helps himself to some roast beef at a restaurant the night after he and his colleagues defeat vampire!Lucy:
    Mina: Was she in great pain?
    Van Helsing : Ja she was in great pain! Then we cut off her head and drove a stake through her heart, and burned it, and then she found peace!
    • He also remains quite calm when Arthur is pointing a gun into his face when Lucy is not found in her coffin.
    Arthur (drawing gun): WHERE IS SHE?! WHAT HAVE YOU DONE WITH HER?!
    Van Helsing (calmly): She lives beyond the grace of God, a wanderer in the outer darkness. She is "vampyr," "nosferatu."
  • Dracula: What, did you think this trope page was going to be about Freddy Krueger?
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: The entire scene where Dracula turns Mina is basically a sex scene, complete with The Immodest Orgasm.
  • Dull Surprise: Keanu Reeves, as always.
  • Eats Babies: Dracula's brides and the vampirized Lucy.
  • Elite Mooks: The Gypsies, as claimed by Jonathan Harker.
    Jonathan Harker: The Count's gypsies, fearless warriors who are loyal to the death to whatever nobleman they serve...
  • Evil Sounds Deep: Dracula in his bat-creature form.
  • Fallen Hero: From the perspective of Christianity and the times. Dracula was once a servant of the cross, defending Europe from Muslim influence, and then he became a vampire. Van Helsing hangs a Lampshade later on how he was a terrible person, even by Victorian standards, when he was still a hero as per the norms of his culture.
  • Fanservice: Lots and lots of naked boobies. Also, Gary Oldman in full on "evil sex demon" mode.
  • Faux Affably Evil: Contemporary Dracula's very first lines are polite and inviting. The masquerade doesn't last much longer than that. Spoiled somewhat in that his delivery is awkward and creepy, underpinning how unused to even the pretense of social interaction he is.
    Dracula: Welcome to my home. Enter freely of your own will and leave some of the happiness you bring.
  • A Form You Are Comfortable With: Unlike earlier films, Dracula does not have a single fixed form - i.e. opera-cape, suit and slicked-back hair/little bat. He keeps shifting his forms, none of them consistent with his classic image. This was deliberately done as per Coppola to respect how in the original book, Dracula has different mutations and also to show how Dracula has been variously interpreted as a decaying count, a seductive young dandy, a Giant Half-Bat Half-Man thing, a wolf form and so on.
  • Game Face: Dracula turns into a giant bat thing when confronted by the heroes. He also changes into his wolf form when he's about to attack the crew of the Demeter.
  • Gorgeous Period Dress: With the possible exception of medieval Dracula's armor, which does look rad as hell. The film's costumes were designed by Eiko Ishioka and has a very strong avant-garde approach, to make it look different from the usual period pieces.
  • Gory Discretion Shot: In the cutaway scene to the ship that transported Dracula, blood is splattered on a sail during the creature's spree.
  • Ham-to-Ham Combat: Hopkins and Oldman had way too much fun with their parts. It's a shame they didn't have more scenes together.
  • Heroes Want Redheads: Lucy is a redhead, and three heroes want her. (Four, if you're that sympathetic to the villain.)
  • Hollywood Costuming: The ladies' outfits follow the basic tenets of late-1890's fashion, but some details are just a bit off, like Lucy's unusually low neckline. However, Mina's decade-out-of-style bustle dress is actually an aversion, as it was intended to show that Mina couldn't afford the latest fashions, since she is "only a schoolmistress".
  • Impaled with Extreme Prejudice: During the battle montage early on. Well Dracula IS Vlad the Impaler...what did you expect?
  • In-Camera Effects and Practical Effects: Every special effect in the movie. There was no CGI. That shot of the train moving across the horizon over a closeup of a diary was actually done with a model train and an over-sized book. Another simple trick that pays huge dividends is film reversal, used for such scenes as Dracula forcing the brides off of Jonathan and vampire!Lucy being forced back into her coffin.
  • In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It: A classic Coppola tradition, this time emblazoned into the very title itself, similar to Mario Puzo's The Godfather (1972) and John Grisham's The Rainmaker (1997), albeit on the posters rather than the credits itself. Others have claimed, however, that Stoker's name was included in the title to avoid legal action from Universal Studios, who claimed to own the rights to the simple title Dracula (1931). Some critics noting how Coppola wanted to explore the subtext and the Unbuilt Trope of the book was emphasizing the literary nature of the original to distinguish his film.
  • Innocent Innuendo: Averted by the not-so-proper Lucy.
    Lucy (to Quincy): Please let me touch it? It's so... big. (pulls out Quincy's knife)
  • Large Ham: Gary Oldman, as usual. Watch how he orgiastically licks the bloodied knife.
  • Last Guy Wins: Lucy ends up picking Arthur as a husband - the last of her suitors to enter the room at the ball.
  • Last of His Kind: Dracula calls himself this, as the last of the Draculs.
  • Lennon Specs: Dracula wears them in his London-Dandy form.
  • Licensed Game: Interesting in that the available versions barely resemble each other. The NES version plays like a horror-themed Mario (complete with ? blocks!), the SNES/Genesis version is a more generic action platformer, and the Sega CD version injects the previous with at-the-time high tech 3D rendered backdrops... along with context-less clips from the film that suffer from house-sized artifacts. There is also a PC game played from the first person perspective as well as an Amiga version that fell somewhere between the Megadrive/Genesis, SNES and Sega CD versions gameplay-wise.
  • Licensed Pinball Table: Right here.
  • Living Shadow: Dracula's shadow often moves independently of its owner, entering scenes from the opposite direction as the vampire, making threatening gestures at other characters, and at one point, knocking over an inkwell.
  • Locked into Strangeness: Harker's suffering as a captive in Dracula's castle turns his hair prematurely gray.
  • Looks Like Orlock: At one point Dracula himself turns into a bat monster that has many Orlock-like characteristics, such as huge bat-like ears, claws and fangs.
  • Love Redeems: In the ending Mina's love softens Dracula's heart and he asks her to end his torment. The final shot of the movie implies that Dracula and Elisabeta have been reunited in heaven. The question of how Elisabeta can be both in heaven and at the same time reincarnated in Mina is never addressed.
  • Malevolent Architecture: Normal laws of physics don't quite seem to apply in Castle Dracula, most notably seen when Harker opens a perfume bottle that starts dripping upward into the ceiling. For extra creep factor, the castle itself vaguely resembles a ghoulish figure crouched on a cracked throne, owing to its decay over the centuries.
  • Match Cut: Many, to the point that the MAD Magazine parody made a joke about it. Examples:
    • The "eye" of a peacock's tail feather in a garden becomes a tunnel that Harker's train to Transylvania emerges from.
    • Bite marks on Lucy's throat become the eyes of the escaped zoo wolf.
    • An extreme close-up of Mina's eye becomes an absinthe glass as viewed from above.
    • Lucy's just-severed head twirling through the air is matched with a platter of rare roast beef Van Helsing enjoys at dinner the following night.
  • Ms. Fanservice:
  • My God, What Have I Done?: Dracula himself has this moment when he first tries to bite Mina, realising that he was ready to treat the reincarnation of his great love as just another piece of meat to consume.
  • Never My Fault:
    • Dracula seems to have forgotten that he brought his transformation on himself.
    Dracula: I was betrayed. Look what your God has done to me!
    • From his perspective, the loss of his wife is a punishment after all the things he did to protect Christendom from Turkey. Dracula also doesn't regret all the impalings he did when he was Vlad.
  • No Sense of Personal Space: Dracula and Van Helsing share this trait throughout the film. Amusingly both manage to freak out Mina with it in their first meetings.
  • Off with His Head!: No less than five decapitations.
  • Ominous Latin Chanting: SANGUIS VITA EST! (The Blood is the Life!)
  • One-Winged Angel: Dracula does this twice, first as a werewolf-like creature, then as a humanoid bat.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: Somewhat. The undead here are portrayed as much more monstrous and making growling and otherwise inhuman sounds. Dracula also never fully changes into animals when he shapeshifts, keeping a humanoid form when he goes wolf or bat. These vampires also have more supernatual powers — they can send people flying with an invisible force and, if powerful enough, burn or melt crosses. Lastly, while it's stated that vampires are weaker during the daytime (but can go out in it if they choose), Dracula hypnotizes and nearly bites Mina during their first day together — though it's late in the day when they headed to the cinematograph, so it may already be after dark when he tries to turn her. Although this last one is consistent with the original novel, in which the Count does go about during the daytime.
  • The Ophelia: Elisabeta. Coppola even referred to her as such on the set.
  • Pet The Escaped Zoo Wolf: At first, Dracula makes to bite a hypnotized Mina, but hesitates, just as the crowd in the theater panics over said wolf wandering in. Instead, his ability to calm the animal impresses and fascinates the no-longer-entranced Mina, and she easily forgets that he attacked her minutes before (though it's implied this might be because she is the reincarnated soul of his wife and so subconsciously trusts he won't hurt her).
  • P.O.V. Cam: The film switches to Dracula's POV whenever he's about to attack Lucy.
  • The Power of Hate: How Vlad became Dracula, via a Rage Against the Heavens.
  • The Power of Love: In the final scene, as Mina tends to the dying Dracula, she realizes that "Our love is stronger than death." It's out of her love that she finishes him off at his request, and this not only ends his evil on Earth, but allows him to be redeemed and reunited with Elisabeta in the afterlife.
  • Pimped-Out Dress: Both Mina and Lucy have a few in their wardrobes.
  • Promoted to Love Interest: Famously there is a love story between Dracula and Mina, where she is now the reincarnation of his dead wife.
  • Rage Against the Heavens: This Dracula somehow became a vampire with nothing but his own hatred of God.
  • Religious Horror: Vlad's Faith–Heel Turn.
  • Reincarnation: It's all but directly stated that Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula's first love Elisabeta. She even carries some of Elisabeta's memories.
  • Ring of Fire: Van Helsing creates one to protect himself and Mina from the bad guys, rather than the standard final duel setup. He also manages to do it simply by chanting Latin and drawing a circle around them on the ground with a flaming brand.
  • Rule of Three: After Lucy is initially attacked by Dracula, the progression of her vampirism is reflected in what happens when she asks each of her three suitors to kiss her. First is Jack, as he attends to her and she tells him of her increasing sensitivity and nightmares; he is able to reciprocate without being harmed. Second is Quincey, but this time it's a lure so she can have a go at his throat. Finally, when she is confronted in her tomb, she asks her fiance Arthur to come to her for a kiss; only Van Helsing driving her back with a cross prevents disaster. (Subsequently, Arthur is the one who stakes her.)
  • Scenery Porn: The studio sets, from rose-filled gardens to Hammer-style taverns. Bound to happen with Mike Mignola involved with the art design.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Sickly Green Glow: Dracula's mist form has this.
  • Staking the Loved One: Twice — Arthur stakes his fiance Lucy, and in the final scene Mina finishes Dracula off. Mina also asks Jonathan, in the climax, "When the time comes, will you do the same to me?"
  • Tag Team Suicide: Played with. At the beginning of the film, set in medieval times, Dracula's wife throws herself off a tower when she hears false news of his death in combat. When Dracula returns, the bishop tells him that she is damned to hell for her suicide. Enraged, he renounces God and becomes a vampire, technically committing suicide.
  • Together in Death:
    • Implied in the final shot. Dracula dying at Mina's hand allows him and Elisabeta to be reunited in Heaven at last, as seen in the fresco of his castle.
    • The belief that this trope would be subverted, and that he might be reunited with his wife in Hell, was the whole reason for Dracula's Faith–Heel Turn in the first place.
  • Tragic Monster: Dracula is portrayed as one in this version due to his backstory. While he away at war, his wife kills herself in despair over a lie his enemies wrote in a letter. Since she committed suicide she can't go to heaven; he renounces his faith as a result and becomes a monster.
  • Transhuman Treachery: Vlad, as explored in his backstory (though in this case he turned himself into a monster). Lucy seems to actively accept becoming a vampire as she fights against Helsing's healing methods, and smiles when Dracula comes to complete her transformation. Mina likewise practically tries to rush into becoming a vampire so she can be with Dracula.
  • Truer to the Text: The intent was to make a more faithful adaptation of the book than previous films had (hence the In Case You Forgot Who Wrote It title).
    • In general, Coppola's film is far more faithful to the novel than the majority of Dracula adaptations, both in tone and in structure. For example, it is the only adaptation that does not composite the characters of Lord Holmwood, Dr. Seward, and Quincy into a single man. Nosferatu, Browning's Dracula, and Badham's Dracula also have different character roles and relationships from the book; for example, in Badham's Dracula, Lucy is the final girl instead of Mina, and Mina is Van Helsing's daughter.
    • The film version largely does follow the general plot outline and story dynamic of the novel. It's portrayal of Dracula restores most of the Unbuilt Trope from the original book, and most importantly just like the novel, it doesn't fully give Dracula a single final form, allowing him to take multiple shapes, as well as travel in sunlight without withering like paper (a motif introduced by Murnau). Of course the film does avert it in one instance. The movie removes the ship massacre sequence that was an iconic part of the novel and a Signature Scene in Murnau's film, Coppola did this out of love for the Murnau film and a desire to not repeat or compete with it.
  • Überwald: Although this is subverted in Mina's description of the Count's homeland.
  • Ultimate Universe: Gary Oldman's portrayal of Count Dracula incorporates both Bela Lugosi's distinctive accent and Max Schreck's "creepy and clawed" comportment from Nosferatu. As well, the romantic approach given to his and Mina's relationship was presaged by the 1979 version that toplined Frank Langella (in that version, the heroine doesn't feel shame for her longing to be with Dracula and is even nastier to the good guys who want to save her).
  • Undead Barefooter: Dracula's Brides are always shown barefoot to add to their seductive nature.
  • Unlimited Wardrobe: Lucy can get away with having lots of different outfits since she's an aristocrat, but Mina has too many nice dresses for a school teacher. (They're probably Lucy's hand-me-downs — as noted above, they're out of style.)
  • Unusually Uninteresting Sight: Harker is remarkably blasé about Dracula's habit of extending his limbs beyond their natural reach, moving out of sync with his shadow, teleporting from one side of the room to the other and gliding across floors like he was floating without legs. Ironically these tricks stop almost entirely after his true nature has become apparent to the characters.
  • Unwitting Instigator of Doom: The downright-Lawful Stupid priest who abruptly says that Dracula's suicidal wife is damned.
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: The bloodsucking is played very erotically, Dracula's brides pleasuring Jonathan like a threesome. Lucy's death ends in a parallel to The Immodest Orgasm, and vampire!Lucy tries to seduce Arthur.
  • Vein-O-Vision: When Dracula (in his wolf-creature form at the time, feeding upon Lucy) first sees Mina in the flesh, he can see through to her veins and heart.
  • Villainy Discretion Shot: According to Dr. Van Helsing, Dracula has killed and tortured thousands of people. But of course, we only get to see this through old medieval pictures, otherwise Dracula wouldn't be half as sympathetic.
  • Villainous Crush: Dracula for Mina.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Dracula retains this ability from the novel, turning into a wolf, a wolfman (or some hairy creature that bears a resemblance to one), a giant bat, green mist, and a horde of rats.
  • Wall Crawl: Dracula does this in the iconic scene of Harker spotting him crawling up a castle wall. One of Dracula's brides also does this when the Count stops them from feeding on Harker and flings her to a wall.
  • What the Hell Is That Accent?: Keanu Reeves' laughable attempt at a British accent.
  • Why Don't Ya Just Shoot Him?: No reason is presented as to why Dracula leaves Jonathan Harker alive and imprisoned at his castle while he goes to London. Killing Harker after the purchase of Carfax abbey would have allowed Dracula to seduce Mina without interference, especially if Mina had received word of Jonathan's death in the Transylvanian wilderness.
    • Most likely, this was to keep the vampire brides fed while Dracula was away. They seemed to rely on Dracula for food, such as when he gave them the infant. ("Are we to have nothing tonight?") Harker notes during his captivity that the brides kept him drained and weak, which meant he served as a self-regenerating source of blood until Drac returned.
  • Woman in White: Vampire!Lucy, as she was buried in what was to be her wedding gown.
  • Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds: Both injected into the story and Lampshaded, with Dracula only becoming a villain because he was enraged by a priest telling him that his suicidal wife was in Hell. Mina even comments she pities the count as a creature damned to be so relentlessly hunted.
  • The Worm That Walks: Dracula turns into a pile of rats to escape the vampire hunters after he claims Mina as his "bride".
  • Worthy Opponent: Van Helsing has a certain degree of respect for Dracula, even while acknowledging that it's necessary to destroy him.
    Van Helsing: He was in life a most remarkable man, his mind was great and powerful. But greater is the necessity to stamp him out and destroy him utterly.
  • Your Cheating Heart: Mina finds herself torn between staying true to Johnathan or being with Dracula. Even finding out that the latter's the monster who killed Lucy doesn't seem to sway her, so much so that she nearly becomes a vampire herself...willingly.

http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Film/BramStokersDracula