Time to catch up: Five 2022 horror movies you can stream this week

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a film that, like its protagonist, traverses oceans of time. Director Francis Ford Coppola, one of the filmmakers at the forefront of the ‘film school’ generation of the 1970s, harnessed the talents of rising young stars, both in front of and behind the camera, to tell a familiar story using very old techniques. Coppola and his collaborators chose to eschew the rising tide of digital effects, expensive location shooting, and elaborate contrivance in favor of “naive” in-camera effects, stage shots, and lavish “stage” costumes. of dracula. The look of the film is both timeless and at the forefront of innovation. Though it celebrates its 30th anniversary this year, it still feels as modern and groundbreaking as it did on the day it was released.

Although Coppola is cited as one of the great film authors, he is the first to give credit to his collaborators and defines his role as a director as that of a gardener. “A film crew is like a garden where every variety of plant is overproducing… The director has to put all this brilliant creativity together and make it work.” In the case of draculathe first of these super-producing plants was an actress Winona Ryder. She had originally been cast in Coppola’s previous film, The Godfather Part IIIbut had to retire. Coppola still looked forward to working with her and invited her to bring him any projects she might be interested in collaborating with him on. In late 1990 or early 1991 (depending on the various versions) she brought it James V. Hartscript for a new film version of dracula which adhered closer than any film before it to Bram Stoker’s original novel. This sent Coppola across oceans of time from his own life to his teenage years when he worked as a drama camp counselor and, during one summer, read the entire novel aloud to the eight- and nine-year-olds at his side. position.

There have already been dozens, if not hundreds, of film versions of dracula of varying quality and importance and it was vital to Coppola that this film be something truly unique. He really liked the script and the fact that overall Hart had stayed true to the novel while infusing it with a love story drawn from some of the historical facts about the real Vlad “the Impaler” from the house of Dracul. . He also realized that the year of the premiere of the novel and the script coincided with the birth of cinema. This sparked an idea on how to make the film. “What if I make the movie,” he thought, “in the style that movies were made at the turn of the century? I mean, an illusion. This led Coppola to the idea of ​​shooting the entire film on sound stages and with in-camera effects. Feeling this was impossible, the original special effects supervisor hired for the film quit and Coppola hired his magic-obsessed son Roman to create the visual effects.

Going back to the techniques of “naive effects” used by Georges Méliès (“A Trip to the Moon”-1902), Carl Theodor Dreyer (vampire-1932), Orson Welles (Citizen Kane-1941), and others cut from similar cloth inspired by magic, roman coppola and his team give the film an undeniably timeless quality that would have been lost if the early digital techniques of the time had been used. Here the young Coppola used a large number of “tricks”, including multi-pass optics, reverse photography, meshes, mirrors, shadow puppets, models, forced perspective, and altered gravity. The result is supernatural, disorienting and, in a word, magical.

Related to this is the cinematography of frequent Martin Scorsese collaborator. michael ballhaus. For draculaseems to be channeling another great cinematographer who also shot a dracula film, Karl Freund. But instead of the usually static camera Freund was chained to for Tod Browning’s 1931 film, Ballhaus taps into the work his masterful predecessor used in films like last laugh (1924) in which the camera floats, spins and dances freely apparently of its own free will. For a brief sequence, Ballhaus even uses Francis Coppola’s personal Pathé silent film camera, much like the one Freund would have used during the 1920s, to evoke the look of early cinema like Dracula (old gary) walks the streets of London and sees for the first time Mina, the very image of his late wife Elizabeta, whom he has “crossed oceans of time” to find. Between Roman Coppola’s visual effects and Ballhaus’ cinematography, the film’s unique photographic style was established, but the unique sets and costumes created for Dracula also contributed to the film’s distinctive look.

Bram Stoker's Dracula turns 30

Giving one of the best performances as the Count, placing him among the pantheon of Dracula actors with Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Udo Kier and Frank Langella, Gary Oldman used much of the time he didn’t need on set to explore different characters. that Dracula could take. He worked with makeup artist and stylist michelle burke and equipment to create incarnations of the vampire among and in various animal forms that were not yet in the script. tom waits he delivers the best performance as the lunatic Renfield since Dwight Frye in the 1931 film, playing him with gleeful, deranged abandon. The only actor who seems to have resisted the rehearsal process was, ironically, the actor with the most stage experience in the entire cast, Anthony Hopkins. Fresh off his Oscar win as Hannibal Lecter in The silence of the lambs (1991), Hopkins resisted Coppola’s requests that Professor Abraham Van Helsing “go a little crazy”, but then unexpectedly did surprising and unusual things in certain shots. As a result, Van Helsing has a touch of madness that makes Hopkins’ performance truly unique and worthy of standing in the lineage of such predecessors as Edward Van Sloan, Peter Cushing, and Laurence Olivier.

Now that I go back to it, I can’t help but feel transported to 1992, when I was fourteen years old and saw it in the cinema for the first time with my father. I remember it clearly because he and I have only seen four movies together, just the two of us: Eastern Time (1982), Home alone (1990), Bram Stoker’s DraculaY Hannibal (1999). I remember him laughing at certain parts of the film and I imagine, now that I am a father of children of the age that I was then, that part of that laughter was nervous, since the film does not mince words with its sexuality and bloodshed. . At the same time, it was a bonding moment; a connection to the Hammer and Universal movies I had grown up with and the modern day horror movies I was becoming obsessed with. Bram Stoker’s Dracula It is a film of contradictions in many ways. It is innovative and familiar, uses ancient techniques at the dawn of the digital boom, is highly technical and deeply human, set in the Victorian era and charged with sexuality, expansive and intimate, exploitation and high art, romance and terror. Few films are as visually stunning and even fewer of the time compare to modern eyes of fashion. dracula it does. As the years have passed, I am more and more impressed by the film and in awe that it was made in such a “primitive” way. Coppola describes the film as an illusion. As I look at it now, I tend to agree, but I’d rather use a different word. As it was for me when I was fourteen, it still is now, an ocean of time later, nothing less than one thing: magic.

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