Dracula started out as anything but a comedic character when the movies quickly got around to utilizing his particularly cinematic type of horror. A handful of silent movies were made that unofficially adapted Bram Stoker's contribution to the vampire mystique, though few still survive. They, along with the most famous of the lot, "Nosferatu" introduced a visual representation of the Count quite at odds with sexy bloodsuckers who populate vampire films today. In between the hideous bloodsucking freak of "Nosferatu" and the twilight descendants of Dracula's true blood popped up a tradition of comedy at his expense. Add a touch of humor to a Dracula movie marathon with some or all of these comedies, whether they were intended to become a part of that genre or not.
Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein
It is a tradition that has almost become a truism: every movie series that starts out dramatically ultimately devolves into self parody that, if left untouched by a reinterpretation, become camp. Universal Studios produced four official sequels to the 1931 movie that introduced Bela Lugosi as the Count. In the 17 year gap between that horror film and this comedy, Count Dracula had lost much of his power to instill fear. Even so, Dracula is the least comedic part of the cast of "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein." An interesting bit of trivia is that "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein" is the only other movie besides the original in which Lugosi officially plays Dracula.
Dracula and Son
The second actor to achieve movie fame by playing Dracula in a straight horror film also eventually found himself reprising the role for the purpose of comedy. "Dracula and Son" is a French comedy movie. Actually, it is almost two movies. The original French film pretty respectfully greeted when it was released three years before being exhibited in America. By that time, "Dracula and Son" has been recut and substantially edited to turn it into something far less than its original state. The movie sank without a trace which may be why you've never heard of it.
Dracula: Dead and Loving It
Why Mel Brooks tainted the memory of his perfect parody of classic horror films, "Young Frankenstein," with "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" that seems to have no real concept of what it wants to be, is one of the great mysteries in Hollywood history. The casting of Leslie Nielsen in the title role indicates Mel Brooks may have wanted to do a Zucker Brothers style gag-a-second parody, but such a style would clash with Brooks' penchant for comedy. Still, enough jokes hit the mark on some level to make it a better Halloween movie marathon choice than anything based on a book by Stephenie Meyer.
Old Dracula aka Vampira
The original title was actually "Vampira" but the incredible success of Mel Brooks' good horror movie parody convinced distributors that "Old Dracula" wasn't just appropriately symmetrical, but might even lead moviegoers to think their film was somehow connected to that other movie about Frankenstein as a younger man. At this point I must stress that I am NOT making up the rest of what follows. "Old Dracula" is about an aging count that brings a group of victims who are literally straight out of Playboy to his castle in order to use their blood to bring back to life his lost love Vampira. Unfortunately for Dracula, the transfusion is made with the blood of a black Playboy model which means that when Vampira is brought back to life not only is her skin black, but she likes Jim Brown Blaxploitation movies and uses slang like "jive turkey." Again, I'm not making this up!
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