Monday, October 31, 2005

Halloween Countdown...02

And the runner up is...
02 Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
Nothing says "Halloween" more than sunlight aversions and blood-lust. If this were a less cinematic list I'd want to put TV's Buffy the Vampire Slayer in here or even in the top spot. But we're talking movies --you have to narrow it down somehow. So, in honor of the original bloodsucking Count I've also jettisoned any vampire movies that have torn free from his (or from " first vampire" stories --you can't discount Nosferatu, now can you?) enormous shadow. Of the many --seriously many-- film adaptations or movies inspired by Bram Stoker's epistolary horror novel (1897), Francis Coppola's take on the immortal fanged Count (titled after the novel) is as good as many and better than most. It represents the vampiric in my Halloween list.

Of all vampire films, FW Murnau's silent Nosferatu (1922) is the most important to see if you're taking cinematic historical importance into account. But this list is a personal one. So I chose Coppola's elaborately bizarre, colorful, and passionate 90s treatment of the vampire mythos. The most peculiar thing about this film and my love for it, is that I don't really think that much of it works. A good deal of the problems seems to be in the casting. The most interesting performance (Sadie Frost as Lucy) has the least screen time. Keanu Reeves is wooden as Jonathan Harker, Gary Oldman lacks the onscreen sexual charisma that one would expect from a lead in a romantic horror epic, and strangely, despite it being filmed during what were unarguably her peak years, Winona Ryder also flails about. She never was adept at period (nevermind those two Oscar nominations) but her star turn reads as slightly over-the-top silly rather than passionate when the blood really hits the walls in the second half of the film. Still, despite many misgivings, the film is a spectacle in the best sense. You can't take your eyes off of it. Coppola's passion for le cinéma is evident throughout as he tries every conceivable camera trick in the book. His sort of operatic passion and creative invention is lacking in most every other vampire film. That's a pity because the approach is a perfect fit for this grand guignol literary classic.

This 1992 vampire epic is best seen on the bigscreen where the enormous oddness of its Oscar-winning costumes and makeup and its in-camera visual effects are properly showcased. Bram Stoker's Dracula is large and fascinatingly messy. There's no trace of laziness here--no fingerprints of the undead were involved in this film's making, only fully committed living and breathing artists attempting something awesome. For whatever reason, this particular Coppola film is never booked for repertory houses or even midnight screenings (though it would seem an ideal fit for both) so rent it soon if you've never seen it.


NicksFlickPicks said...

Given my banner image, t'aint no secret that this movie is on my countdown of 100 personal faves. And since I'm only up to 85, don't expect to see it for a good, long while.

adam k. said...

I used to watch this movie on Encore when my parents didn't know, and I always felt like the scene where those ghoul women or whatever were quasi-raping Keanu was SO hot and naughty.
Sorry, I just had to mention that... it is my primary memory of this movie.

But you know what movie reminds ME of Halloween? The Exorcist. Get it, Nathaniel. Go. Right. Now. Even if The Boyfriend has to peel your eyelids back so you don't cower and hide your eyes. You only have 8 hours left of Halloween! YOU MUST SEE THIS MOVIE.

adam k. said...

Oh, I also, I just wanted to point out that the link to the blog on the main page is down... I can only get here now through your "early oscar buzz leaders" link. Just letting you know.

Anonymous said...

I'm sorry to admit but I found it a tad hard to watch this film with a straight face. (No pun intended.)

Lugosi? Yes.

Lee? Yes.

Langella? Yes.

But Oldman? Er, no.

Maybe it's a "L" thing...

Anonymous said...

Never seen this one. I will try and get ahold of it.

However, I received "Clue" in the mail today, so that was pretty great.


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What are your 50,000 thoughts a day creating?

Our thoughts create our reality. This is a simple truth known by all people involved on the spiritual path. It is one of the most taught universal principles in the personal development field. Yet it is one of the most misunderstood!

People practice visualisation, affirmations, they use hypnosis, subliminal programming or countless other tools to transform their lives. However they fail to recognise one key area in their lives that hinder these wonderful techniques from being effective.

They sit day after day visualising their perfect scene and yet nothing happens. Why? They have followed all the instructions to the letter! They have chanted and imagined! They have formed a colourful, vibrant scene in their minds and affirmed that this is their reality. Then all of a sudden things get worse! What is going on?

Would you like to know the secret? Would you like to know why these people get no results? Would you like to hear one powerful statement that explains everything?

Good. I will tell you why these people get no results or even opposite results to those they are aiming for -simply because of the following truth. Consciously controlled thoughts such as visualisations do not materialise - ALL thoughts materialise!!!
Most people believe that if they visualise for 10 minutes a day their lives will magically transform. This is not the case. You must change your core thinking. You think approx. 50,000 thoughts a day. How many of those thoughts are working against your ten minute visualisation?
You can control the thoughts that enter your mind by changing the way you view the world. You can decide which thoughts you give energy to and which thoughts you discard.

The thoughts that you follow and give energy to become more dominant than the thoughts you discard. Your subconscious mind records these as your dominant picture on the issue at hand. You then move towards this picture because your subconscious mind starts making your outside world reflect the picture that you have stored internally.
Your mind should be on whatever you want. The picture you need to have is a positive vision of you already having achieved your goal. To realise this vision you need to focus and concentrate. Remember thoughts are real, they create your reality.
Let's say you have been visualising a new house. You spend your ten minutes in meditation picturing yourself living in your dream home. You finish your session and get up feeling positive that you will achieve your goal. Then during the day you get a heating bill through the post and exclaim "Oh no look how expensive this is I cannot afford to heat this house". Where is your focus in the present moment? What are you affirming? You are telling your subconscious mind that you cannot deal with what you have. You are affirming that your life is not how you want it to be. If you knew without doubt that within a week you would be moving to your new home would you honestly be worried about a heating bill? Perhaps other doubts creep in like "I should be happy with what I have", or "I will never get this house looking the way I want it" and so on and so on.
These thoughts that are not aligned with your goal. You are not giving complete attention to what you want. Whilst you are dealing with these other lines of thought your attention is not on your goal.
If you are aware of your thoughts you will suddenly realise that you have spent much more energy on counter productive thoughts than on creating a dominant picture of the goal you want.
Point your focus in the direction of you're the life you want. Think about what you want NOT what you don't want. It's that simple.

Your focus determines your reality. Change your focus and you change your life. personal development

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