Movie Review: DRACULA (Collector’s Edition) Blu-ray

DRACULA (1979) was directed by John Badham from a screenplay by W.D. Richter and stars Frank Langella, Kate Nelligan, Laurence Olivier, Donald Pleasence, Trevor Eve, Sylvester McCoy, Tony Haygarth and Jan Francis. The music is composed by John Williams.

Throughout history, Dracula has filled the hearts of men with fear and the hearts of women with desire. In this stylish production of Bram Stoker’s classic gothic horror tale, Frank Langella, reprises his electrifying, award-winning stage performance as the bloodthirsty Count Dracula as he goes in search of his ultimate bride. Meanwhile, the renowned and relentless vampire hunter, Professor Van Helsing (Sir Laurence Olivier), seeks to end the dark prince’s reign of terror over the citizens of Transylvania. Featuring an all-star cast, fine direction and a superbly atmospheric score by the great John Williams, Dracula is an unforgettable adaption of one of the most enduring horror legends of all time.

The story for this 1979 romantic thriller centers around Count Dracula (Frank Langella) who travels from Transylvania to a small coastal town in England where he sets up shop in the creepiest castle in town. Let’s call it a fixer upper. He wastes no time charming his new neighbors but when Mina Van Helsing (Jan Francis) grows mysteriously ill and ends up dying, they blame it on a vampire bite. The news of her death quickly spreads but this doesn’t stop Dracula and the plan that he has.

This is when Mina’s father, Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Laurence Olivier) and his trusty associate Dr. Jack Seward (Donald Pleasence) start investigating her death and it leads them directly to Count Dracula. The thing is, Dracula now has his evil eyes set on Jack’s daughter Lucy (Kate Nelligan) and the two end up having a forbidden romance but Dracula’s end game plan is to turn her and grow a new army of vampires. Van Helsing and his friends set out on a mission to destroy Dracula who’s able to elude them and find a ship to escape on. They’re able to catch up and save Lucy from the dark trance Dracula had on her and it all ends in a deathly showdown between good and evil.

The packaging comes with a slipcover/o-card. The front features the new artwork by Mark Maddox you see at the top of the page and the back includes movie details, some images and list of special features. The reverse sleeve features some original artwork and movie credits so you have your choice of which side you’d like to use for the front cover. The Blu-ray discs feature some artwork that matches each cover. Inserting the disc, the menu screen was simple and easy to navigate. The theatrical version of Dracula has been given a new 4K scan of the original film elements. The picture and sound quality for this high-definition release and were crisp and clear. I didn’t have any issues with the video and audio.

Bottom line is, I remember watching this version of Dracula, not to be mistaken for Dracula: Prince of Darkness, when I was a kid but can’t remember if it was a rental or if it had aired on television. The thing about this movie is that it’s different because it’s not so much a horror movie than it is a forbidden love story. There’s still some elements of horror present but there’s nothing scary about it. There’s also not enough fang banging! This is a stylish movie (think old school Hammer) that has exotic locations with massive set designs and there is a gothic theme to it. I thought the cast did a great job with their characters with Frank Langella in the spotlight as the iconic character and he delivers something completely different when it comes to Dracula. This incarnation of Dracula is a charmer and good with the ladies. The movie doesn’t have a lot of special effects, blood or gore but what little we get does look good. The movie is beautifully shot and Director John Badham took a different approach to the story about this iconic character which made this version of Dracula even more of an interesting watch. Scream Factory has included two different colorized versions of this romantic yarn and some extras to boot. Dracula (1979) will be available on a 2-Disc Collector’s Edition Blu-ray Set on November 26th.

Distributor: Scream Factory

Run Time: 110 Minutes

Rated: R

Blu-ray Video: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen (2.35:1)

Blu-ray Audio: English DTS-HD Master Audio 2.0 Stereo

Subtitles: English

Special Features: The extras include two different versions of the film being in the color timing, introduction by the director, new interviews with some of the cast, some audio commentary, a vintage making of featurette, theatrical trailer, three radio spots and a still gallery.

Disc 1 – Desaturated Color Timing: TV Version

  • NEW introduction by director John Badham (01:10)
  • NEW King of My Kind – an interview with John Badham (32:18)
  • NEW What Sad Music – an interview with writer W.D. Richter (33:26)
  • NEW Dracula’s Guest – an interview with camera assistant Jim Alloway (06:17)
  • NEW interview with editor John Bloom (21:13)
  • NEW interview with make-up artist Peter Robb-King (25:18)
  • NEW interview with hair stylist Colin Jamison (04:36)
  • NEW interview with assistant director Anthony Waye (15:54)
  • NEW interview with production manager Hugh Harlow (21:36)
  • Audio Commentary with director John Badham
  • The Revamping of Dracula featurette (39:12)

Disc 2 – Original Color Timing: Theatrical Version

  • NEW 4K scan of the original film elements
  • NEW introduction by director John Badham (01:10)
  • NEW Audio Commentary by film historian/filmmaker Constantine Nasr
  • Theatrical Trailer (01:44)
  • Radio Spots (01:33)
  • Still Gallery (08:27)
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