Dracula: Dead and Loving It

Leslie Nielson as Count Dracula
Peter MacNicol as Thomas Renfield
Stephen Weber as Jonathan Harker
Amy Yasbeck as Mina Seward
Harvey Korman as Dr. Seward
Lysette Anthony as Lucy Westenra
Mel Brooks as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing

Back in the 1990’s, one of the most frequent comedy stars was Canadian actor Leslie Nielson. He really had a knack for this genre. His acting, timing, and sense of humor were always just right, and I enjoyed all the movies that he headlined. Well, OK, Mr. Magoo kind of sucked, but we all have ups and downs.

All vampires must have wild hair, one way or another.

Here Nielson teams with director/star Mel Brooks, whose career hadn’t been the same since the bomb that was Life Stinks. Like many Brooks movies, Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a parody of another movie. Although it came not too long after Bram Stoker’s Dracula, it seems more the ancient, trend-setting Dracula from 1931. In any case, Dead and Loving It is a very funny, underrated lampooning of the horror icon.

The acting is really good. Despite his advanced years, Nielson generally played caricatures of action heroes. Here he is instead playing the most famous of vampires, Dracula. He takes to this role like a fish to water, and his version of the majestic Dracula voice is a funny parody. Other standout performances include Peter MacNicol as a bumbling idiot under Dracula’s control, Mel Brooks as a wise but eccentric old doctor, and Lysette Anthony as a seduced, unsuspecting victim of Dracula.

Of course, what drives a comedy is the humor. Thankfully, Dracula: Dead and Loving It is a pretty funny spoof. The humor focuses on lampooning the aforementioned 1931 classic, right down to mocking numerous lines, like when Dracula says “children of the night” before motioning to bat shit and adds, “what a mess they make.” And this movie has perhaps the most hilarious death scene ever!

And believe it or not, it’s not this.

The critical reception to this movie was surprisingly negative. But then again, it was for a lot of Brooks’ movies. And really, comedies just don’t have the same luck with the critics that dramas and comic book adaptations do. Maybe the critics just take things way too seriously?

At any rate, I personally find Dracula: Dead and Loving It to be a fine parody worth seeing even today.

If you saw this in your neighborhood, you wouldn’t think it was a dance. You’d dial 911.

Overall: 8 out of 10


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