Director – Mel Brooks
Cast – Leslie Nielsen, Peter MacNicol, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck, Lysette Anthony, Mel Brooks, Harvey Korman, Mark Blankfield
Release Year – 1996
Reviewed by John of the Dead
The late Leslie Nielsen was one of my all-time favorite actors, so seeing that he made an entry into the horror genre, especially in spoof form, had me interested in this from the moment I saw it for sale at the mere price of 3 bucks. Coming from the mind of Mel Brooks(Young Frankenstein) and based off the infamous vampire tale, we get a funny watch that despite its cheezy flaws makes for a good low-rent humorous horror flick.
This spoof follows a mashup of the 1931 Bela Lugosi-starring classic, Dracula, as well as Francis Copolla’s 1992 masterpiece, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, centering on Dracula as he purchases land in London, and soon falls in love with the daughters of a wealthy gentleman, delivering funny and horrific results.
If you enjoy Mel Brooks’ films(Robin Hood: Men In Tights, Young Frankenstein, Spaceballs) and style of filmmaking as well as Leslie Nielsen then you should find this film as enjoyable as I did at the very least. From the get-go we are thrown into the zany antics that all of the film’s numerous charters bring to the table, with Dracula and his assistant Thomas Renfield(expertly portrayed by Peter MacNicol; “24” Season 6, Ghostbusters II) giving the most laughs until Mel Brooks himself appears in the film as Dr. Van Helsing, then things get REALLY funny. I really do not have to break down the storyline for you as it pretty much follows the general Dracula story, with just minor changes in character names and roles. As far as the screenplay goes it gave me pretty much everything I wanted to see, which included horror, good dialogue, good pacing, and of course…good laughs as well.
Mel Brooks’ direction for the film is positive, making this a fun watch with good humor, great performances, and awesome sets and trick camerawork as well. I went into this watch expecting to see Leslie Nielsen come off as his usual Frank Dreblin self, but I was wrong to do so because he really did not come off as he did in the Naked Gun series, but instead did a fair job mimicking the very performance that Bela Lugosi gave in the 1931 classic. Each of the many other actors in the film gave positive efforts, and Mel Brooks made the most of this simple film with good execution of most elements involved. In fact, we get some pretty intense gore during a few scenes, something that I did not expect to see in such a film. As I mentioned earlier, the film comes with its fair share of flaws, which come mostly in regards to humor that I did not find very funny, as well as a lack of quality in some of the sillier scenes. Regardless, the good outweighs the bad in this one.
Overall, Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a fun watch and a nice spoof of the classic Dracula tale. With Leslie Nielsen and Mel Brooks attached to the film you can expect some good laughs, and the rest of the positive cast does their part to deliver the comedy and the horror as well. Don’t take this one seriously(you should know better), and you should find to at the very least to be a borderline-positive film as I did.