30 June 2016

DRACULA. (2006) REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS.




DRACULA: A GRANADA PRODUCTION. (2006) FROM THE NOVEL BY BRAM STOKER. DIRECTED BY BILL EAGLES. SCREENPLAY BY STEWART HARCOURT. PRODUCED BY TREVOR HOPKINS. EXECUTIVE PRODUCERS: MICHELE BUCK, DAMIEN TIMMER AND REBECCA EATON. 
STARRING MARC WARREN, TOM BURKE, STEPHANIE LEONIDAS, SOPHIA MYLES, RAFE SPALL, DAN STEVENS, DONALD SUMPTER AND DAVID SUCHET. REVIEW BY SANDRA HARRIS. ©

I recently came across this ITV adaptation of the classic horror story in one of the last places in Dublin where you can buy DVDs, Blu-Rays, CDs and vinyl records. You don't know how sad it makes me to have to type something like that. Anyway, the film is ten years old this year so, frankly, I was surprised I hadn't come across it before.

I make a point of watching all the DRACULA adaptations I can get my hands on so I rushed home with it- after paying for it first, of course!- and popped it in the old machine. Now I'm ready with my verdict so, for those of you waiting for the aforementioned with bated breath, strap yourselves in. It's going to be a bumpy ride...!

This adaptation is faithful enough to the story but they've definitely made one or two changes. Arthur Holmwood, who marries the beautiful and vivacious Lucy, is infected with syphilis thanks to his Pappy's sexual indiscretions. He won't consummate his marriage to Lucy for this reason. He's afraid of pumping her full of his diseased blood, but his attempts to protect her leave her as horny and unfulfilled as a cat in heat that's miles away from the nearest other cat, if you get me.

Arthur ill-advisedly becomes involved with an occult society who've promised him that they know a fellow who can cleanse him of his diseased syphilitic blood. Hence we have Arthur paying for Count Dracula's illicit passage to England. Yeah, he'll cleanse your blood for you all right. He's the man.

 Dracula doesn't give two hoots for Arthur and his manky blood, however. He just wants to take over London while getting jiggy with Lucy and Mina, as hot a pair of fillies as ever you might meet in a day's walk.

Mina Murray is all virginal and mourning the loss of her beau Jonathan Harker, who hasn't been seen since he made the well-documented trek over the Carpathians to Dracula's Transylvanian castle. Lucy is like the cat on the proverbial tin roof as she mopes about wondering why Arthur won't ride her, heh-heh-heh.

Lucy, incidentally, looks like the love-child of Kate Winslet and Hannah Gordon, that lovely mature actress who's been in everything from UPSTAIRS DOWNSTAIRS and MIDSOMER MURDERS to THE ELEPHANT MAN and the last ever episode of the excellent British sitcom ONE FOOT IN THE GRAVE.

Both Lucy and Mina are, as always, easy pickings for the handsome and compelling Count Dracula. In his young and presentable incarnation (as opposed to the decrepit old weirdo who lures Jonathan Harker to Transylvania), he charms the knickers off Lucy while her useless hubby Arthur is lying dead to the world in the bed right next to her. That's a funny scene...!

David Suchet, otherwise known as Hercule Poirot, does a convincing job as Abraham Van Helsing. His 'little grey cells' are working overtime as he tries to figure out the best way to bring down The Evil One.

My favourite character in this adaptation, however, apart from Dracula himself, is Dr. John Seward, played by Tom Burke. Tom Burke's a handsome and aristocratic fellow whom I've only ever seen playing posh toffs or rich boorish swells in period dramas. Snigger. I said period.

He's portrayed Bentley Drummle in the 2011 BBC Christmas adaptation of Charles Dickens's iconic novel, GREAT EXPECTATIONS. Bentley Drummle is, of course, the ultimate rich boorish swell in English literature. He's the nasty caddish scoundrel who snatches the haughty Estella right out from under the nose of a horrified Pip, who'd thought she was his almost by right. Boy, does Slippy Pippy get a rude awakening, even though Drummle's doing him a massive favour by taking that wagon Estella off his hands and out of his hair, if he but knew it.

In this adaptation of DRACULA, Tom Burke plays the guy who gets the shaft rather than does the shafting. He must stand by and watch while the diseased Arthur Holmwood marries Lucy, the
woman John Seward has loved since they were both kids. He stays loyal to her, however, though she's a faithless minx, and he's present for the big showdown against Dracula in which the Count never goes down without a fight.

The costumes, scenery and interiors in the film are utterly gorgeous. The inside of Dracula's castle in Transylvania is suitably grim and gothic and the shots of Arthur Holmwood's cliff-top mansion by the sea are positively out of this world. All the bedrooms in particular, with their fancy four-poster beds, are simply magnificent. Ooooh-er, I do love a nice period drama. Snigger. I said it again.

There are even shots of the fabulous and mysterious Highgate Cemetery. That's where the scenes of Lucy's diabolical resurrection from the dead, always one of my favourite scenes in any adaptation and one of the best and most nail-bitingly exciting bits of the book, take place.

Overall, I'd give this adaptation, which almost certainly has been on ITV at some point, a big thumbs-up. It's sumptuous to look at and the haemoglobin flows freely, mainly from Dracula's manly if oddly hairless chest. I prefer a guy to have a nice hairy chest. It's so much more masculine, don't you think?

Anyway, to continue, the acting is spot-on and the surprise additions of syphilis and the creepy occult society don't hurt the film at all. Haha. DRACULA, now with added syphilis...! You surely couldn't ask for much more than that.

     AUTHOR BIOGRAPHY OF SANDRA HARRIS.

Sandra Harris is a Dublin-based novelist, film blogger and movie reviewer. She has studied Creative Writing and Film-Making. She has published a number of e-books on the following topics: horror film reviews, multi-genre film reviews, womens' fiction, erotic fiction, erotic horror fiction and erotic poetry. Several new books are currently in the pipeline. You can browse or buy any of Sandra's books by following the link below straight to her Amazon Author Page:

http://www.amazon.com/-/e/B015GDE5RO

 You can contact Sandra at:


http://sandrafirstruleoffilmclubharris.wordpress.com








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