Movie Article

Dracula

Bela Lugosi, Richard Roxburgh, ...
Image credit: Dracula: Kobal Collection; Van Helsing: Frank Masi

''Van Helsing'''s Dracula: how cool is he?

CLASSIC DRAC Bela Lugosi, ''Dracula'' (1931)
A sophisticated count (above left) whose look included a cape, formal wear, and slicked-back hair (Drac made the widow's peak cool). Sunlight, crucifixes, and wooden stakes could turn this vamp to dust. Early film technology limited Lugosi's character's transformation: He became a tiny, fluttering bat to escape.

''VAN HELSING'' DRAC Richard Roxburgh
This bloodsucker (above right) is like a rock star -- he sports a ponytail, tight black clothing, and a gaggle of lady friends. Surprisingly, crosses and wooden stakes don't harm him. Sure, his 15-foot bat-demon CGI hybrid (above center) is bigger and scarier than the old version (and it owes a debt to ''Nosferatu''), but any subtlety of the classic Drac flies right out the window.

SCARIER Lugosi

COOLER Roxburgh

BONE UP Lugosi is our favorite Dracula, mesmerizing and other-wordly. Among the dozens of other Dracs, check out 1922's eerie, silent ''Nosferatu'' starring Max Schreck as the most bat-like of all movie neck-biters (and the inspiration for Willem Dafoe's character in 2000's ''Shadow of the Vampire''). Christopher Lee played the most elegant vampire in ''The Horror of Dracula'' (1958) and its six sequels. Klaus Kinski (1979's ''Nosferatu'') is the most savage bloodsucker, and Gary Oldman (''Bram Stoker's Dracula,'' 1992) the most tragically romantic.

Originally posted May 06, 2004
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