Dracula: Dead and Loving It


Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Mel Brooks, Lysette Anthony, Amy Yasbeck, Steven Weber, and Peter MacNicol.

Summary: A mysterious force is sucking blood from the helpless beauties of England in this Mel Brooks’ Dracula spoof.

The movie begins in Transylvaniain 1893. The count is visited by a traveling salesman named ThomasRenfield. Renfield is visited by voluptuous female vampires inthe night, and they molest him. Dracula walks in on the scene,and decides that Renfield will be his new slave. Together theysail for England; along the way Dracula kills all of the crew. Dracula goes to the opera to meet a man named Dr. Seward whohas property adjoining Dracula’s. He is attracted to Seward’sdaughter Lucy. That night he flies into Lucy’s room as a bat,and then regains his form after Seward and Jonathan, the fiancĂ©eof Seward’s other daughter, have come to investigate a strangenoise in Lucy’s room. Dracula drinks Lucy’s blood. Renfieldis locked up in Seward’s Sanitarium because it is believed hekilled all the crew of the ship they arrived on . Seward letshim out for lunch, and he eats bugs from the ground so he is lockedup again. Seward finds Lucy pale so he contacts Professor VanHelsing (Mel Brooks). His diagnosis is that Lucy has a vampirebite. To protect her they adorn her room with garlic. Draculacan’t enter the room so he frees Renfield who is caught tryingto steal the garlic. Somehow Lucy ends up outside and they findher dead. After Lucy is buried the professor decides she shouldbe dug up and have a stake driven through her heart because shemight turn into a vampire. The Count visits Seward to offer hiscondolences, and the professor decides that he is the vampire. Lucy wakes up in her coffin and kills the gravedigger. Jonathanhas gone to check the grave and he finds Lucy alive. He callsthe professor who tells him he must drive a stake through herheart. With Lucy dead, the Count decides to go after Lucy’s sisterMina. He takes her to his castle and they dance all night. Inthe morning Jonathan comes to Mina’s room, and it is discoveredshe has also been bitten by the vampire. They hold a ball todetermine who the vampire is. With a huge mirror reflecting theimages of the party goers, it is obvious that the Count is thevampire since he does not have a reflection. Dracula leaves theparty, but Seward and the professor know to follow Renfield andhe will lead them to the Count. The end up in an old chapel,and the sun is coming up. There is a struggle, and Renfield opensa hole in the ceiling to let Dracula escape, but the light killshim. Mina wakes up and recovers from her vampire bite, and Renfieldfollows Dr. Seward back to the sanitarium.

Commentary: As with all spoofs, this movie isn’t meant to follow the exact story line of the original, but there are some parts that are just blatantly inaccurate. Characterization and plot schemes are direly changed.

The majority of John Harker’s role in the Bram Stoker novel comes from the beginning of the story when he goes to Transylvania to meet Dracula on behalf of his employer. In the movie, the insane asylum patient, Renfield, assumes this role and then later changes into a mad man. A couple of key characters are completely omitted. Lucy’s mother, Mrs. Westerna, is not portrayed and neither is Arthur, Lucy’s husband. The absence of Arthur leads to an inaccuracy of plot sequence. In the book, Arthur drives the stake through Lucy’s heart, but in this movie, John Harker does it.

In telling the story, many things have changed. Lucy never converses with Dracula in the book, but here she meets him at the opera and is instantly attracted to him. She goes as far as to seductively undress in front of the window when she knows he’s watching. The entire finale is made up because rays of sunshine did not defeat Dracula in the literary ending.

–Marianne Refuerzo

Vampire Films