Film Comment - 03/01/2007
"Klaus Kinski's wordless performance as fly eating madman Renfield is the dark heart of Spanish exploitation legend Jess Franco's surprisingly subdued COUNT DRACULA."
Infamous Spanish horror director Jess Franco created this surprisingly low key and faithful adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel. Christopher Lee, who played the same role in Britain's Hammer Films, does a first rate job as the undead Transylvanian count with a thirst for blood. Frederick Williams is Harker, the young lawyer who travels to the count's castle and winds up a prisoner, while Dracula goes off of to London to seduce his wife, Mina (Maria Rohm). Soledad Miranda plays Lucy, Dracula's first victim, and Klaus Kinski is an unusually underplayed Renfield. This international production has almost a spaghetti-western feel, courtesy the jangly score by Bruno Nicolai, the many zoom shots, and the authentically dusty, on-location scenery (it was filmed in castles and crypts around the Mediterranean). A highlight is the bizarre attack of stuffed animals. Herbert Lohm is Professor Van Helsing, and Franco plays his spaced out assistant.
This version of the "Dracula" legend is closer to the original story written by Bram Stoker in 1897. As Dracula terrorizes others he is pursued by Jonathan Harker, a man obsessed with killing the undead fiend because he murdered a friend of Jonathan's wife. Will the coffin-dweller succeed in eluding the vengeful Harker'