Starring: Bela Lugosi, Helen Chandler, Dwight Frye
Written by: Hamilton Deane, John L. Balderston
Book by: Bram Stoker
How good is this movie?
A relatively entertaining movie that gave us many of our most (in)famous vampire tropes. As an adaptation, I appreciate the expansion of Renfield’s part, which tightens up the story a bit. On the other hand, I’m disappointed by the reduction of Mina to a victim in need of male protection.
How ace is this movie?
The sexual content of the movie is mostly limited to the vampiric characters. Lucy does not have any suitors, and most of the other characters also lack romantic partners. The only exceptions are Mina and John. Their heterosexual romance is one of the chief goods that Dracula threatens, and at the end it is their reunion that the film focuses on, rather than Dracula’s death.
How ace are these vampires?
This film is decidedly in the tradition of equating vampirism with dangerous sexuality, and especially sexuality that is dangerous to women. While the scene where Jonathan is attacked by Dracula’s wives has been omitted, Lucy and Mina fall prey to Dracula. He behaves like a sexual predator to the women, flirting with and stalking both of them. Renfield’s plea that the men take Mina away also suggests that she is in more danger from Dracula than they are. Dracula’s interest in her may not be explicitly sexual, but the suggestion is definitely there. And, on the women’s part, Lucy shows signs of sexual attraction to Dracula, while Mina’s encounters with him result in her behaving in a more overtly sexual fashion.
3 Stars; 3 Aces