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Film / Dracula: Dead and Loving It

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"My God! What are you doing to the furniture?"

Dracula: Dead and Loving It is, as of this writing, Mel Brooks's last movie, released in 1995 and starring Leslie Nielsen as Dracula.

The story begins as a young solicitor from London, Thomas Renfield (Peter MacNicol), meets the mysterious Count Dracula. He begins to suspect that something is amiss, but the Count hypnotizes him before he can escape. The pair then travel to London, where the Count has purchased a manor next to an insane asylum. He meets his next-door neighbors at an opera: Dr. Seward (Harvey Korman), his daughter Mina (Amy Yasbeck), her friend Lucy (Lysette Anthony), and Mina's fiancee Jonathan Harker (Steven Weber). Shortly thereafter, Lucy becomes mysteriously ill. This prompts Dr. Seward to seek advice from his old friend Dr. Abram Van Helsing (Brooks).

Van Helsing informs Jonathan and Harker that they have "entered ze realm of ze supernatural!" and that Lucy is the victim of a vampire attack. It is imperative that the vampire is stopped before Lucy dies, or she vill become vun herrself! Sadly, Lucy does indeed die and rise again as a member of the evil bloodsucking undead. This finally convinces Harker and Dr. Seward that there is a vampire in their midst. They set off to stop him...just as Mina begins to develop the same symptoms that Lucy had before she died.


All along the way, Hilarity Ensues (literally, in this case).

This movie provides examples of:

  • Affectionate Parody: Of Dracula and various film versions thereof. Unlike most other parodies of the era, when original plots are created to parody various movies and tropes, this movie uses essentially the exact same plot, characters, and style as the 1931 Universal version. Obviously, many scenes are changed to account for jokes and parody other vampire movies, such as Nosferatu, the various Hammer Horror Dracula movies, and the 1992 Coppola adaptation.
  • Ambiguous Syntax: Throughout his hypnotism of Mina, Dracula keeps giving instructions to "you" - leading to confusion as to whether the maid or Mina is the one he's referring to.
  • And Now You Must Marry Me: Dracula's plans for Mina.
  • Arson, Murder, and Jaywalking: Van Helsing's jobs.
    Dr. Seward: Count Dracula, allow me to introduce Professor Abraham Van Helsing of London University. He's a doctor of rare diseases, as well as theology and philosophy.
    Van Helsing: Und gynecology!
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  • At the Opera Tonight: Where we (and Dracula) first meet Dr. Seward, Mina, Lucy, and Jonathan.
  • Bedlam House: Where Renfield is kept and treated with enemas.
  • Blood Lust: Best demonstrated when Renfield cuts his finger during the contract signing (causing a truly ridiculous amount of blood) and Dracula is... very bad at hiding how badly he wants to lap all that up.
  • Bloody Hilarious: Lucy's corpse spews a veritable fountain of blood when she is staked.
  • Breaking and Bloodsucking: Played for Laughs, of course.
    • Dracula in bat-form attempts to fly into Lucy's open window just in time for her to close it.
    • Dracula is lurking outside Mina's window, but she has an inconvenient nurse inside with her. He's got them both under his spell, but they're mindlessly following his commands, and Dracula can't get the nurse to leave the room and Mina to let him in.
  • Brick Joke: Van Helsing has to get the last word.
    • Dracula gets in the last word himself at the very end of the end credits, making this even more hilarious because at that point he was DEAD.
  • British Stuffiness: A main source of humor in the film.
    Jonathan: The opera is astonishing. The music is fraught with love, hate, sensuality, and unbridled passion... all the things in my life I've managed to suppress.
  • Buffy Speak:
    Jonathan: But Lucy, I'm engaged to Mina. And you're dead!
    Vampire!Lucy: I'm not dead. I'm undead...!
    Jonathan: Yes, well, I'm not un-engaged.
  • Call-Back: The door knocker crumbling in Renfield's hand, which Mel Brooks states is a deliberate reference to Young Frankenstein in that film's commentary. Also, Van Helsing pronouncing the word "back" like "beck."
  • Ceiling Cling:
    • Dracula uses this to escape detection. A slamming door causes him to come loose.
    • Modified version where Dracula acts like Spider-Man to free Renfield. Then flies to the ground. Renfield attempts to follow, and makes a fool of himself falling on his face. Dracula points out:
    "I fly. You don't."
  • Catapult Nightmare: Dracula wakes up screaming and kicking from his "daymare".
  • Classical Movie Vampire: Dracula is a parody of this.
  • Cleavage Window: Seen on the outfit worn by the woman Dracula hypnotizes at the opera.
  • Cloud Cuckoolander: Everyone has this to a certain extent, but Renfield is the most obvious one.
  • Cobweb Jungle: Carried over from Dracula (1931) and Played for Laughs.
  • Comically Missing the Point:
    • The movie dips into this early, when the rather obviously British Renfield stops in a small village outside the Count's castle, in a hurry for directions, as not to be late. Most of the villagers are horrified at his new boss, but...
      Renfield: I'm scheduled to meet Count Dracula.
      Villager 1: Dracula!?
      Villager 2: Dracula!?
      Villager 3: Dracula!?
      Villager 4: ...shed-yool?
    • Likewise when the brides come to seduce him and suggestively rub against the bedstool
      Renfield: My God'... what are you doing to the furniture?
  • Compelling Voice: Played with, as Dracula attempts to give instructions, but has difficulty getting people to do exactly what he wants and controlling multiple people at the same time. Usually results in general goofy chaos, which is par for the course in a Mel Brooks flick. Dracula seems to do this randomly as well, like when he tries to use it to get an usher to relay a (not in any way secret) message.
  • Composite Character: Brooks dispenses with all of Lucy's suitors except Seward, who becomes her much-older guardian instead. Harker takes over the role of all the four younger men. It's mentioned that he liked Lucy, while being Mina's suitor. Liked, not LIKE-Liked. Meanwhile, Harker's Transylvania adventures are given to Reinfield.
  • Creator Cameo: Taken to its Logical Extreme with Van Helsing played by Mel Brooks.
  • Decoy Protagonist: The film seems to set Renfield up like this — he is the solicitor from London who meets up with Dracula in the beginning, as opposed to Jonathan Harker from the novel. Then Renfield is made into Dracula's servant, and the focus of the film shifts to Jonathan, Mina, and eventually Van Helsing.
  • Disappointed in You: After Dracula catches his wives trying to seduce Renfield, he chews them out and asks "If that make him proud of them".
  • Distracted by the Sexy: Vampire Lucy attempts this on Harker, to seduce him into vampirism.
    Harker: But Lucy, I'm British!
    Lucy: [exposing her cleavage] So are these!
    Harker: [Inelegant Blubbering]
  • The Ditz: Renfield. He gleefully eats insects and spiders in front of Dr. Seward, leads the heroes straight to where Dracula is hidden even while knowing that they were following him, and exposes his master to sunlight in a bid to rescue him, finishing Dracula off.
  • Dream Sequence: Dracula has a "daymare," where he believes his vampirism is cured and goes out to enjoy the beauty of the light. Then he bursts into flame and wakes up screaming and running.
  • Due to the Dead: After he accidentally kills his master, a mournful Renfield gathers the ashes of Dracula, puts them in the coffin, and then forms a smiley face out of them to make Dracula "look like his old self again" before shutting it.
  • Even Evil Has Standards:
    • Dracula is quite appalled when he spots his Living Shadow's more perverted side during his first dance with Mina. "NISHTAI!"
    • Dracula is also not pleased when he sees his wives trying to seduce Renfield.
  • Evil Is Hammy: This Dracula leans a bit more Cold Ham than Bela Lugosi's. Leslie Nielsen emphasizes him as The Charmer.
  • Evil Gloating: Dracula does a bit of this during the film's climax.
    "I will destroy you! And then I will possess she who you love the most, and there is not a single thing in the world you can do to stop me!"
  • Gag Boobs: Jonathan is British! But then, so are Lucy's boobs.
  • Ghostly Glide: Dracula's wives do this. Both lampshaded and subverted when he stops them from feeding on Reinfeld and tells them to leave. They start to do so by gliding away... before he tells them to knock it off and the women walk off normally instead.
  • Groin Attack: Renfield's gets stepped on at one point.
  • Hero Antagonist: Van Helsing.
  • High-Pressure Blood: The staking scene.
  • I Do Not Drink Wine: Subverted during Dracula's dream.
  • The Igor: Renfield to Dracula.
  • I Have Boobs, You Must Obey!: Harker: "But I am British!" Lucy: (Tearing open her dress) "And so are THESE!"
  • I Just Want to Be Normal: Big lipped alligator moment aside; Dracula's daymare, where he can walk in the sunlight and apparently cured of his vampirism, suggests that he secretly wishes to become a human again, as he is overjoyed when apparently drinking Lucy's blood has cured him.
  • Ineffectual Sympathetic Villain: Dracula and Renfield.
  • Large Ham: Several members of the cast but none more than Renfield. After he's hypnotized, it's amazing there's any scenery left by the end of the movie. Van Helsing (played by Mel Brooks himself) is also no slouch in this department.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Here and there, as expected.
    Dr. Seward: For Heaven's sake, who in all of England, by the furthest stretch of imagination, could possibly be a vampire ?
    Maid (introducing): Count Dracula.
    Dr. Seward: Well, maybe him.
  • Living Shadow: Parodied in several scenes as a goof on Bram Stoker's Dracula. In one, Dracula falls down the stairs and claims to be perfectly fine. His shadow is then seen limping up the stairs behind him.
    • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: During the climax of the movie, the shadow clearly shouts "Uh-Oh!" and runs away when Van Helsing and the others show up to kill Dracula.
  • The Load: Renfield proves to be more of a liability to Dracula than Van Helsing ever was, up to and including killing him accidentally.
  • Missing Reflection: Used in the dancing scene, when a huge mirror is produced and Dracula shows no reflection. Particularly hilarious when Dracula is spinning the woman in the air.
  • Mood Whiplash: The opening credits are this Up to Eleven. They consist entirely of an incredibly foreboding and dramatic orchestral score playing over increasingly disturbing images of how vampires were depicted throughout history. It very effectively sets the mood...for a far more terrifying and serious movie than the silly comedy it actually is. Many viewers, even those who do not like the movie, often consider it the best and most memorable part, mostly because of how out of place it seems and how surprisingly well-done it is (James Rolfe has said it might be the greatest opening to any vampire movie ever).
    • When Lucy bites the cemetery night guard, it's a surprisingly effective Jump Scare for a Mel Brooks movie.
    • Dracula enlists Renfield to remove the strands of garlic in Lucy's room, but Renfield decides he's more interested in sneaking a peek at her under the covers. After he's discovered and dragged back to his cell, Dracula summons Lucy outside and kills her. The scene briefly cuts to her somber funeral.
    • Dracula's unnatural power in the final confrontation leads to him defeating all of the heroes, and grabbing Johnathan by the throat. He begins a pretty damned scary and badass speech about how he is utterly invincible, everyone is going to die, and there is nothing in the world that they can do to stop aaaaaaand then he gets poked in the eyes, by Johnathan, Three Stooges style.
  • Nice Job Fixing It, Villain!: At the end, Renfield attempts to save Dracula by opening an escape route for him in the attic where Van Helsing and the heroes have Dracula cornered. But since morning has come and the sun is out, all he does is shine sunlight onto his master, killing him once and for all.
  • No Ontological Inertia: Double-subverted. After Dracula's death, Renfield cries and continues to call him his Master, and only snaps back to normal after Dr. Seward reminds him that he's now his own man. Renfield then follows Seward out, calling him "Master".
  • Ooh, Me Accent's Slipping: Leslie Nielsen briefly drops his Transylvanian accent when Dracula receives an Eye Poke during the film's climax.
  • Pivotal Wake-up
  • Precision A Strike: "Renfield, you asshole!"
  • Profane Last Words: Dracula has escaped the vampire hunters, and is hiding in the rafters when Renfield throws open a trapdoor in the roof so his Master can escape. Only one problem: it was daylight. And there was nothing to block full sun from hitting Drac, either.
    Dracula: screams in pain Renfield, you asshole!
  • Pun: "Yes, we have 'Nosferatu.' We have 'Nosferatu' today!" note 
  • Rain of Blood: This is why Van Helsing insists on standing out of the way during Lucy's staking. He even brags about it to Seward later.
    • Not to mention Renfield's finger cut. It squirts like a geyser.
  • The Renfield: The Trope Namer appears, and Peter MacNicol (who had previously played a Renfield in Ghostbusters II) plays the role as hammy as possible.
  • Running Gag: Dr. Seward and enemas.
    Dr. Seward: Gives him a feeling of accomplishment.
    • Van Helsing and Dracula both want to have the final (Transylvanian) word in a conversation, extending all the way to when Dracula's just a pile of dust and Van Helsing still sticks his head back inside to say something. And then it extends to the end of the credits.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here!: When Van Helsing begins to brandish the cross at Dracula in the final battle, Dracula's shadow decides it's had enough and bugs out.
  • Sick and Wrong: Renfield's initial reaction to Dracula's brides trying to seduce him. It doesn't last long.
  • Staking the Loved One: Parodied.
    Van Helsing: It must be done by one who loved her in life!
    Harker: I only liked her!
    Van Helsing: Close enough!
  • Squick: In-universe, the autopsy scene, with Professor Van Helsing deliberately making his students pass out via ickiness.
    Nurse: Oh, doctor! Ten out of ten!
  • Super Window Jump: How Dracula escapes the ball after being revealed as a vampire.
  • Small Name, Big Ego: Dracula says at one point, "They are fools to think they can match wits with me! Me who can control the forces of darkness! Me who has commanded the creatures of the night to do my bidding!" Says the guy who got knocked out of his hiding place by an old Englishman slamming a door. This is the same ancient evil who cannot rise from his coffin without banging his head on the chandelier.
    • Not to mention that he crashes into Lucy's bedroom window as she closed it. Who would have thought you can keep out vampires with Windex?
      • That has some basis in myth, actually — that a vampire can't enter a house without being invited in, and is actually reflected in the original novel.
      • Lucy's showing some leg and saying that she would like to "have that nice long chat...right now," was the invitation.
  • Spared by the Adaptation: Renfield.
    • And the brides, apparently, as the climax doesn't move back to Dracula's castle. Thus, they're not staked.
  • Trick-and-Follow Ploy: The heroes release Renfield from the asylum in hopes that he will fall victim to this and lead them to his master. Renfield is somewhat wise to this, having been warned by Dracula not to fall for it. However, he's not quite wise enough, and just shuffles around for a minute in a small square, believing that will be enough to throw them off.
    Van Helsing: Gentlemen, we are fortunate!
    Dr. Seward: Why?
    Van Helsing: He's an imbecile!
  • Vampires Are Sex Gods: Upon turning into a vampire, Lucy changes from a proper upper-class Victorian English lady into a lusty temptress. Even being bitten is enough to make the equally patrician Mina more frisky than usual. Neither of their charms work on Jonathan. Count Dracula himself, on the other hand, is the more traditional "gentlemanly vampire" (although his shadow is far more horny).
  • Vampire Dance: Van Helsing and co. set up a party for the high society. Dracula begins an elaborate dance with Mina. Then the cover is pulled off of the floor-length mirror, revealing that Dracula has no reflection.
    • Hilarity ensues when he spirals her in the air, and in the mirror it looks like she's flying in circles.
    • His first scene with her after hypnotizing her leads to a dance in which he compliments her technique, and his Living Shadow starts humping hers.
  • Vampire Vords: Even Mel Brooks, as Van Helsing, plays with this trope, but it's mostly Dracula who does it.
  • Villain Protagonist: Dracula, of course.
  • Voluntary Shapeshifting: Dracula into his bat form, of course.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: The two brides back in Dracula's castle are never seen after their one scene.
  • Yiddish as a Second Language: Mel Brooks as Van Helsing.
  • You Are the Translated Foreign Word: Played with. Van Helsing tells Harker that Lucy has become Nosferatu. Harker's response: "She's Italian?"
  • You Have Failed Me: When Renfield accidentally leads the heroes to Dracula (who's about to feed on Mina), Renfield insists that Dracula invoke this on him. Dracula wasn't even going to bother, but eventually just kicks him down the stairs to shut him up.


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