The story of “Dracula” written by Bram Stoker has inspired numerous films. The character of the vampire Count, in fact, became very popular over the years and today we can count more than 200 movies featuring Dracula in a major role.
The first motion picture adaptation of Stoker’s book was made in 1922 by German director F. W. Murnau: it’s the black and white silent film “Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror“, where Dracula (named Count Orlok) is played by Max Schreck. Stoker’s estate sued the authors for copyright infringement and won. In 1979, “Nosferatu” was remade by Werner Herzog, that used for the iconic character the “real” name Dracula.
In 1931, Tod Browning made one of the most famous versions of the story, a true classic starring legendary actor Bela Lugosi as Dracula. In 1958, Hammer Films produced a new version of the story, “The Horror of Dracula“, starring Christopher Lee as the vampire Count and Peter Cushing as Professor Van Helsing. Lee played the same role in many other movies, such as the 1969 “Count Dracula” by Jesus Franco.
In 1992, Francis Ford Coppola produced and directed the utimate tribute to the novel with his “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, starring a terrifying Gary Oldman, Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder and Anthony Hopkins. This version adds many details to the story, explaining for example how Dracula (the historical Vlad Tepes in this case) became a vampire. In 1995, Mel Brooks directed “Dracula: Dead and Loving It”, a comic parody starring Brooks as Van Helsing and Leslie Nielsen as the Count.
In November 2012, Italian horror director Dario Argento will release “Dracula 3D”, starring Thomas Kretschmann, Rutger Houer and Asia Argento.