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YMMV / Bram Stoker's Dracula

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  • Adaptation Displacement:
    • To this day, there are negative reviews in pages like Amazon criticizing the book for not having any of the romance this movie had.
    • Thanks to this film, lots assume that Dracula was always some kind of love interest towards Mina - when if anything in the original novel, he's more like a pseudo rapist that shares barely any scenes with her.
    • Lucy's adaptational promiscuity is also mistaken for book canon, which has prompted whole essays on Bram Stoker's supposedly regressive attitudes towards female sexuality.note  As Maven of the Eventide pointed out, this is influenced far more by 80s Slasher Movies and their heavy use of the Death by Sex trope.
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  • Alternate Character Interpretation: Lucy isn't slutty, she's just flirtatious. Before she's attacked by Dracula she doesn't seem to have slept with any of her suitors, it's only after his attack that she begin to act overtly sexual towards them. This is supported by how Mina acts after being bitten by Dracula, going so far as attempting to seduce Van Helsing.
  • Audience-Coloring Adaptation: Thanks to it being promoted as Truer to the Text, many have taken elements introduced in this movie as book canon. These include giving Dracula a connection to Vlad the Impaler, having a romance between he and Mina (the 2013 series likewise used the 'reincarnation of his dead wife' idea), and portraying Lucy as Mina's more promiscuous friend.
  • Awesome Music: Wojchech Kilar's score is excellent. Indeed, the composer went to see the movie in Paris and was amazed that loads of audience members hung around for the end credits and left once the "Music by" credit had scrolled up - it should benoted that Kilar's "End Credits" cue, while present on the soundtrack album isn't used in the film, with Annie Lennox's "Love Song for a Vampire (From Bram Stoker's Dracula)." accompanying the credits instead (the song was a top 10 hit in France (...getting to #10).
  • Base-Breaking Character:
    • Jonathan Harker, depending on whether Keanu Reeves was good at playing the character or not.
    • Mina, with some fans feeling that she is an interesting character and others feel that she's unsympathetic. Winona Ryder's performance as her is still hotly debated to this day; there are some who feel she was horribly miscast and compare her unfavorably to Keanu Reeves, while others feel she did a good job, and a third camp suggests that the problem comes from Mina becoming hard to sympathise with at certain points. There's also the matter of her accent; some feel it's terrible, while others find it decent enough.
    • Lucy's depiction as well. There are fans who cry foul that The Ingenue of the book becomes a shameless flirt who makes indecent innuendos seemingly for no reason other than to shock. Then there are those who find her entertaining, and point out that she just likes to make jokes, and stops short of actual indecency.
  • Big-Lipped Alligator Moment:
    • In the scene in which Dracula is approaching London, with a storm marking his arrival, Lucy and Mina run around outside and even kiss... and then forget about it happening right away.
    • Van Helsing laughing like a lunatic while humping Quincey Morris's leg.
    • Van Helsing's random demonstration of Offscreen Teleportation, which he shows to Dr. Steward and co. to convince them that supernatural things exist. Moreover, he's talking about hypnotism at the time, but no hypnotist is capable of such a feat (unless he just hypnotized them on the spot not to notice him moving around for a few seconds, which would be actually almost as supernatural and is not hinted by the scenography). Basically, the man is a literal wizard, but everybody including himself forget it for the rest of the film.
  • Broken Base:
    • The romance plot. Some enjoy the change to a dark love story, arguing that the film version of Dracula, being sadistic and cruel while simultaneously harboring feelings for Mina, makes for a compelling vampire romance especially in the context of the modern oversaturated vampire romance genre, as the vampire in question remains true to its nature: an undead creature of the night, not a sanitized safe boyfriend with fangs and cool superpowers. On the other hand, some fans of the book tend to find the change more divisive, especially when compared to the relationship between Mina and Jonathan in the book, finding the romantic subplot between Mina and Dracula as a factor that ruins their enjoyment of the film. Those critical also argue that the change minimizes Mina's agency in the narrative and/or makes her far less likable as a character, given that she's involved with Dracula mostly due to a past life rather than any actual chemistry or working relationship and despite him assaulting her husband and murdering her best friend. Others think the romance between Mina and Dracula could have worked if it were handled better, while still others think it was handled just fine.
    • A lot of fans question how faithful the movie is to the book. Detractors cite the Mina/Dracula romance and the downplaying of Jonathan and making Van Helsing into a more ambiguous figure. Supporters argue that like all literary adaptations, Coppola interpreted the book while remaining faithful to the style and themes of it.
  • Critical Backlash: The film got Vindicated by History to such point (see below) that it is often included not only as a great film, but also as one of the best Dracula adaptations out there, both of which are titles hard to live up to. Many people, at least among those who do not Watch It for the Meme, get attracted to this film by those promises, often only to find it a narm-tastic vaudeville which also deviates gleefully from the book left and right. As a consequence, viewers who don't appreciate Narm Charm or artistic licenses to the original story could be understandably disappointed.
  • Crosses the Line Twice:
    • Van Helsing's hilariously blunt response to Mina's question about her slain friend.
      Mina: Doctor, how did Lucy die? Was she in great pain?
      Van Helsing: (cheerfully) 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.
    • Even better/worse thanks to the brilliantly horrible Match Cut that precedes it - a shot of Lucy's severed head flying through the air cut to a delicious-looking slice of roast beef on a plate, which Van Helsing tucks into with relish.
  • Designated Hero:
    • Mina, unlike her book counterpart, makes a number of bad decisions that hurt those around her all for a man she's just met and is cheating on Jonathan to be with.
    • Van Helsing, also unlike his book counterpart, is also kind of a dick, more excited with being proved correct about the supernatural than the suffering and misery of his friends.
  • Designated Villain: The vampire hunters receive this treatment towards the end, if Van Helsing's comment about them becoming "God's madmen" is any indication. It may mean that their quest had led to Quincey's death, but it also comes across as a Heel Realization, as if they had became fanatics willing to tramp true love to get their goals... Except for a little thing: the monster they were trying to destroy wasn't an innocent victim, but an enormously destructive creature who had committed many crimes and who could take over England if left unchecked. In fact, they were trying to spare an actual innocent person from the same horrible fate her best friend suffered, whom the three men were in love with.
  • Ensemble Dark Horse:
    • Any scene involving Tom Waits as Renfield or Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing.
    • Likewise, the brides are pretty well liked.
    • While the depiction of Lucy might be divisive (see above), Sadie Frost herself is considered one of the most entertaining incarnations of the character. Especially once she becomes a vampire.
      Unshaved Mouse: "In fact, I’d go so far as to say that Sadie Frost is to the role of Lucy Westenra what Christopher Lee is to the role of Dracula; absolutely definitive. I honestly doubt anyone will ever play this role as well as she does."
  • Evil Is Cool: Dracula, specifically in his backstory and later in his youthful form.
  • Evil Is Sexy: For the ladies, you've got Dracula. For the guys, you've got the vampire brides.
  • Fashion-Victim Villain: The aged and decrepit Dracula at the beginning of the movie. While the red robe might look fine in the right context, the hairdo just looks silly.
  • Funny Moments: A moment of black comedy, intentional or otherwise, at Lucy's funeral, from Van Helsing:
    Van Helsing: Jack...I know how deeply you loved her. That is why you must trust me and believe.
    Seward: [grief-stricken] Believe? How can I believe?
    Van Helsing: I want you to bring me before nightfall, a set of postmortem knives.
    Seward: An autopsy? On Lucy?
    Van Helsing: No, no, no, not exactly - I just want to cut off her head and take out her heart.
    Seward: [walks away in disgust].
  • Jerkass Woobie: Dracula is Ax-Crazy and cruel, yes... but largely due to his vampirism from a disillusioned Moment of Weakness. And even then, he still has his sympathetic moments.
  • Narm: Dracula's wispy green form, which looks like a mobile stink cloud.
  • Narm Charm: The film is most definitely entertaining for some in spite or because of the ham acting, hilarious costumes and questionable writing. It also helps that it is generally quite stunning to look at.
  • Older Than They Think: This isn't the first movie to use the "Dracula goes after someone because they look like a loved one" deal. The 1973 version of Dracula actually beat em to it 19 years prior (though in that case it was Lucy, not Mina).
  • One-Scene Wonder: Dracula only appears in the bat form in one scene - yet it's incredibly remembered.
  • Popularity Polynomial: Opened to a lukewarm reception, was Vindicated by History, and then suffered Critical Backlash from new viewers who expected something in line with its fan reputation as the best and most true-to-canon Dracula film. Ironically, it now seems to have returned to being divisive as it was when it was first released, with new audiences tending not to be as impressed and the online media critic/analysis culture, which saw a major boom in the late 2010's, generally not portraying the film in as flattering a light as it received during the hayday of its vindication. In recent years the film has picked up the nickname "BS Dracula."
  • Retroactive Recognition: Monica Bellucci has a small role as Dracula's lead bride - seven years before her worldwide breakout in Malèna.
  • Romantic Plot Tumor: One of the biggest. How much you like the film depends in part on how you feel about the romance (and how annoyingly sexy you find Gary Oldman). Extra squicky because the original attacks from the vampire were clearly meant to invoke rape. A fan-edited version cuts out the love story, which shortens the film by an entire hour.
  • Special Effect Failure:
    • When playing the ancient version of Dracula Gary Oldman is wearing very obvious extensions on the tips of his fingers that look more like nipples than fingers. It's not quite the paper tubes Max Shreck wore in Nosferatu but it's the same idea.
    • It was also pretty obvious that his shadow was moving out of sync long before it started moving independently.
    • Keanu Reeves is wearing an incredibly fake looking grey wig in the scene where Dracula is found in Mina's room. What makes this bizarre is that it looks different to his hair in the rest of the film - after he returns from Transylvania it's iron grey, but is a light grey in just that scene.
    • When Van Helsing decapitates the vampire brides just below the level of the camera, he swings the machete at an angle that would make it impossible for him to hit any of them, let alone produce the resulting spray of blood across the wall.
  • Squick:
    • Dracula licking the blood off Harker's razor, as it would have been mixed with the shaving soap.
    • The first time that Dracula attacks Lucy, it looks like he is having really violent sex with her bordering on rape... in his werewolf form.
    • The Brides of Dracula eating an infant.
  • Tear Jerker: Dracula's story, from the intro to the ending. Props to Gary Oldman for coming across as a legitimate Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds.
  • They Changed It, Now It Sucks!: Despite the title declaring it to be a faithful take on the book (which it is in several narrative and stylistic features), it makes major additions, and character interpretations, that some fans of the book found distasteful, like the romance between Dracula and Mina, the portrayal of Van Helsing as a cackling loony, the changes to Lucy's character (in the book, she's The Ingenue who loves all three suitors, while the film turns her into a flirt who makes all sorts of innuendos in public at her three suitors and tries to seduce them after Dracula attacks her) and all the camp overall.
  • They Wasted a Perfectly Good Character: With such a talent as Anthony Hopkins as Van Helsing, it's a shame that he's reduced to a one-note Mad Scientist just to prop up Dracula as the tragic love interest.
  • Unintentionally Unsympathetic:
    • Mina comes across as pretty unsympathetic, especially because Jonathan is such a loving and devoted husband (if a little boring and stuffy) while she openly longs to be with Dracula, who raped and killed her best friend. It's not helped by the movie never making it clear whether Mina is doing this of her own free will, Dracula is seducing her, or Elisabeta's spirit is overpowering her, or that Love Makes You Dumb and Love Makes You Evil.
    • There's also Dracula himself. The movie paints him as a Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds but it still includes his undoubtedly cruel moments from the book - such as feeding a baby to his brides, trapping Jonathan in the castle with them and turning Lucy into a vampire For the Evulz (after months of torturing her as well).
  • Vindicated by History: Divisive in its year of release, albeit commercially very successful, two decades hence, it is considered a classic of visual effects, production design, cinematography, and style, with many considering it one of Coppola's best films and one of Gary Oldman's best performances. While there are still complaints and issues raised about the nature of its adaptation and its artistic choices, it's generally agreed that it was a movie that proved that there's still a lot of new ways to tell a story as overexposed as Dracula by reworking the source material. It's still the only Dracula adaptation to win any Academy Awards, it became a classic in vampire movie genre and had a substantial influence on vampires in popular culture, especially in the popular Bloodborne.
  • Visual Effects of Awesome: The special effects are all very impressive, and although CGI had begun to come into its own by 1992, this movie's effects are all real. Taken Up to Eleven by the fact that the effects were all done with technology that existed at the dawn of film. Not only is there no CG, there isn't even optical compositing (the primary method of combining multiple elements into one scene before digital compositing was possible). Practical effects and camera trickery were all they used and it looks awesome.
  • Watch It for the Meme: Parodies of the film, like those of The Simpsons and Dracula: Dead and Loving It, are often the reason why people come to it.
  • WTH, Casting Agency?: Francis Ford Coppola himself expressed Creator Backlash at casting Keanu Reeves as a Victorian Londoner. Reeves was riding high from Bill & Ted and was chosen as a bankable heartthrob to draw in female viewers. This is not to say that he personally disliked Keanu, he just acknowledged that despite all of his efforts, the man just couldn't do the accent.
  • WTH, Costuming Department?:
    • Old Dracula's hairdo when Jonathan first meets him is a frequent target of ridicule. Essentially it looks like a pair of ass cheeks. Added to his fabulous red robe and rubber-like white face, it turns the character's introduction scene into a potential source of hysterical laughter regardless of the viewer's mindset.
    • Lucy's outfits. For some reason Eiko Ishioka decided that her wardrobe would be themed around reptiles. This is fine for her serpent dress — although it still has a scandalously low neckline — but then we get her highly revealing nightdress, complete with flowing scarves and done in various shades of orange, meant to resemble a serpent's belly. And then there's her wedding/burial dress, which was based on a frill necked lizard...


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