Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992)
|Title||Bram Stoker's Dracula|
|Genre||Monster in the House - Supernatural Monster|
|Opening Image||TBD||Harker is ordered by his boss to go to Romania. The opening image is also the Catalyst.|
We're given Dracula's origin. Actually there's no set up section. The set up takes place during the Debate.
|Catalyst||TBD||Harker is ordered by his boss to go to Romania.|
|Debate||TBD||What is this strange place? Was it a right decision on the part of
Harker to come here? Is he in danger? We also meet Lucy and her suitors. All themain characters are introduced, except Van Helsing.
|Break Into Two||28||Harker has no doubt now he's a prisoner. He leaves his room and goes to explore the rest of the castle, trying to find a way out.|
|B Story||TBD||Dracula's relationship with Mina.|
|Fun and Games||TBD||The vampiresses seduce Harker. Dracula bites Lucy, seduces Mina.
Sensuality, vampires seducing and biting British folks, the promise of the premise is delivered. We learn more things about the monster: His castle, his helpers, his powers, his modus operandi, his motives. The characters are trapped since the monster is "out there" and can get them any time. Dracula casuallygoes to their house and seduces their women.
|Midpoint||58||They save Lucy's life. It seems they have thwarted Dracula's plans. The inverted of the All Is Lost beat when Lucy lies dead.|
|Bad Guys Close In||TBD||Not an effective section. Instead of raising the stakes, a
big chunk of it is devoted to the love story between Mina and Dracula. FinallyDracula attacks the house, makes short work of the guards and kills Lucy.
|All Is Lost||78||Lucy's dead. (But we haven't seen the last of her!)|
|Dark Night of the Soul||87||Excellent section. The heroes witness Lucy's horrific
transformation; she has become a monster herself. Lucy's admirers weredevastated by her loss, but now they have to kill her all over again themselves.
|Break into Three||TBD||TBD
The heroes attack Dracula's houses in London. Harker -his hair gray now- becomes the "Half-Man" who has a first-hand knowledge of the monster, and informs the others where Dracula resides.
|Finale||TBD||The heroes destroy Dracula's houses, drive him away from Mina's bedroom,
and hunt him all the way to Romania. A great Dig Deep Down beat occurs when Mina and the brides try to seduce Van Helsing, and the poor chap has to dig deep down-alas not into Mina's cleavage- and resist their advances.
|Final Image||TBD||Final Image: Mina mourns over a defeated Dracula.|
|Notes||Proof that even an superbly directed film cannot be great when there are serious
weaknesses script-wise. The major flaw is the cloudy theme; what is the "sin"? We don't know for sure. Harker becomes trapped without commiting a "sin", just cause he does his job. Dracula becomes a "monster", but the reason he ends up like this is not the same as the "sin" which is supposed to be Lucy's carnal desires. Lucy and Harker seem to find themselves in trouble because of their carnal desires, but this "sin" is not what brought the monster on their doorstep in the first place, and it's not what motivates the monster. There seem to be no character arcs, no beats where a clear theme becomes apparent. The B story, where we're supposed to clearly understand what the theme is, doesn't work thematically or dramatically. Is Mina motivated by carnal desires? Is dating Dracula a "sin" or not? If the film's a warning about resisting our animal nature, then why do Mina and Dracula seem motivated by romantic love? All in all, thematically the film is a mess; it seems as if the filmmakers are trying to say something but they're not sure what it is. We never know for sure what we did wrong. The "sin" element is never clarified, much less explored. The second major weakness is the Double Mumbo Jumbo which kills the movie's believability. Coppola gets credit for wanting to make a fresh monster movie by including a love story between one of the protags and the monster, and by trying to make us empathize and feel pity for the monster's plight. The problem is, that in order to do that, he presents us with a plot which involves reincarnation. Thus, in order to enjoy the story, the audience has to suspend its disbelief too much, not only accepting that vampires exist, but also accepting that reincarnation exists. Moreover, we're introduced into the strange concept that people look exactly the same as they looked in their past lives. It's all too much. Additionally, at some points Van Helsing seems to have supernatural powers; he astonishes the posse by suddenly appearing in a different place while he talks, and he also seems to know Mina has been with Dracula just by smelling her! Thus, we could say that the film borders on Triple Mumbo Jumbo! Another flaw is, there isn't an effective Save The Cat beat. The "monster" element is achieved wonderfully. There's a constant off-screen movie with regards to Dracula. We're always playing catch-up with Dracula, always one step behind him, there's constant mystery, and we gradually discover the monster's nature, powers and motives. Harker is trapped in the castle, Lucy and Mina become trapped inside their own homes, at Dracula's mercy. The monster is all the more scary cause it doesn't even need to go to its victims; it can simply make them come to him. Supernatural seduction is employed by Dracula and his brides, and the heroes willingly step into the monster's lair. Even Van Helsing is not immune to this power. Why does a woman give Harker a cross? What is this "the dead travel fast" talk? Why do the doors open by themselves? Why is it so dramatic that Harker steps into the castle? Why does Dracula find funny the phrase, "Harker is a man of good... taste"? Why has Dracula bought ten houses in London and why does he want Harker to stay a month? What is wrong with Dracula's shadow? Why does he warn Harker not to sleep in other parts of the castle? The "monster" is scary cause there's the thrill of discovering its nature. Unlike "Species" for instance, in which the alien babe isn't scary cause, 20 or 30 minutes into the film we know everything there's to know about her, there are no mysteries and surprises, and we simply watch her step by step as she tries to evade capture, find a mate and breed. The answers to the questions surrounding the "monster" are many times surprising and shocking: Dracula didn't want Harker to explore other parts of the castle, not cause he was afraid of Harker, but cause he wanted to protect Harker from a fatal foursome with the naughty vampire brides. Dracula wants Harker locked in the castle cause he wants to go to London and "familiarize" himself with Harker's fiance. It is revealed that Dracula can take the form of a big, fast beast and that he can cause storms. It's also revealed that Dracula can psychologically affect women causing them to feel, well, irresistably horny. First, we see Lucy and Mina running and kissing in the garden, and we wonder what has gotten into them. Moments later we see Lucy going to meet Dracula. A great scene ensues in which Lucy is "lost" in a labyrinthine garden, referencing Minotaur's maze (the story of the Minotaur being the oldest known MITH); and moments later comes the shock of seeing Lucy engaging in supernatural bestiality. Then there's the question of Lucy's sickness until we realize that -gasp!- she's on her way to become a new addition to Dracula's brides. We also have Van Helsing who, being an expert on everything occult, explains to the posse the monster's nature. There's one more shocking surprise in the Finale, as we discover that Dracula has arranged an ambush for Van Helsing, putting hisvampire brides and Mina herself in the task of seducing him.