There are four actors I like in the role of Count Dracula: Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Louis Jordan, and Jack Palance. Palance played a tragic Dracula in Dan Curtis' 1974 production, Bram Stoker's Dracula, for television. Jordan played a more suave and sexier Count in the 1977 BBC production that aired here in the States on PBS' Great Performances. To most fans of the vampire mythos in modern cinema, it is either Lugosi or Lee as the definitive night-stalker.
It's a tough call, but my vote goes to Lugosi. Both in Nosferatu and Bram Stoker's novel, the Count is a noticeably different person from those around him, a difference that does not fit in well with the social scene. Lugosi made Dracula the evil that works among us easily. So easily. And but for one brief observation he makes regarding true death to be glorious, all those worse things than death seem to make him very content, indeed.
Keep your tragic vampires, your Goth vampires, your vegan munchers, your neutered vampires who imbibe synthetic or animal blood to get by, in an altruistic but vane struggle against the savage urge, hoping to retain their humanity as best they can.
I like my vampires to be deceivers in the night, stalking among us, ready to pounce and corrupt because they relish their evil without regret or angst.
"I like my vampires to be deceivers in the night, stalking among us, ready to pounce and corrupt because they relish their evil without regret or angst."
Posted by: Will E. | February 09, 2011 at 04:00 PM
Perfectly worded. I think that's why when you ask people which classic monster scared them the most, the answer you typically get is Dracula. Frankie and Wolfie were victims of higher, more terrible powers. They just couldn't help it.
But Drac? Pshaw. He always knew EXACTLY what he was capable of. I think it's that intentionally predatory attitude that makes him so frightening.
Posted by: Joe Monster | February 09, 2011 at 02:56 PM