“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” is also known as “Dan Curtis’ Dracula.” If you’re a “Dark Shadows” fans then you know the name Dan Curtis pretty well. This TV film was released in 1973 and starred Jack Palance, Sarah Douglas, Simon Ward, Nigel Davenport, and Fiona Lewis. Jack Palance played Dracula in the movie. Lucy was played by Lewis, Mina was played by Penelope Horner, and Ward was Arthur. Murray Brown was Jonathan. Richard Matheson had written the screenplay.
The movie is pretty fast pace, atmospheric, and you could see that Curtis took from his own show in someways. Palance does make a pretty good Dracula. He’s a romantic looking for his long lost love, but he’s also a monster. This time it’s Lucy, not Mina who he is looking for. It’s a twist that other movies have used in the past. With the scenery and vibrant colors, since they were both around the same time frame, it will almost remind some people of watching a Hammer “Dracula” movie. Just because of what era it was released. Neither steals for any. Like in “House of Dark Shadows,” Curtis wasn’t afraid to use the bright red blood in some scenes. That vibrant gruesome color adds in some fun camp to it. One of the most striking scenes of the movie is when Dracula puts Mina in a trance and she sucks his blood from his chest, while Arthur and Van Helsing watch in horror. Another scene is when Arthur is attacked by a wolf and the scenes with Jonathan being trapped. Like stated before it’s very atmospheric and that’s why makes the movie. There is no Renfield in this movie, which is an interesting choice to make. I’m sure that John Karlen could have done the role very well.
There are many versions of “Dracula” and this one takes its own turn with the novel. It uses from from the book but it’s mostly smiler version of “Dracula.” That’s not a bad thing for those who are looking for an atmospheric film with a nice pace. You’ll feel some shivers, feel sad for the relationship between Dracula and Lucy, and you’ll even hate the Count because he’s diabolical too. Has a nice cast, nobody was a terrible in their roles and it moved nicely. A very effective ’70s vampire period drama that many should watch especially if they enjoyed “Dark Shadows.” What is the most interesting is see Palance take on the Count’s role. He’s no Gary Oldman or Christopher Lee. He’s his own figure that few do talk about. For a televised version (though in Europe it did a see a theatrical release) that wasn’t from the BBC, it’s not terrible. It’s a four star movie because who doesn’t love a little Dan Curtis production? Atmospheric, brings you back to the Gothic Revival, and Palance does show that he can be a vampire.