Dracula

Luke Evans in Dracula Untold

If you thought you knew the story of Dracula, think again, because Luke Evans is here to drop a truth bomb with the untold story of the world’s most legendary bloodsucker. Haven’t you ever wondered exactly how and why Dracula became the night walking, fanged, tower dwelling monster who haunted your nightmares and cluttered the aisles of your local Halloween superstore? (No? Could you please play along?) The first trailer for Dracula Untold, brought to us by director Gary Shore, makes no qualms about diving right into the action of an ancient and mysterious war. Vlad Tepes (Evans, of The Hobbit) is a masterful fighter who’s always been a hero, but he doesn’t want his son to get involved, so he must figure out how to stop the madness before it gets out of hand. Naturally, this entails hiking up the most treacherous cliff face known to man and seeking the guidance of a creature who looks not unlike Voldemort. Drinking his blood, as it turns out, transforms him into an unstoppable machine of warfare and apparently a great lover, but it also makes him the titular vampire we know and fear: he’s Dracula, and the army that’s trying to fight him is going to sorely regret that they went up against him.

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MPI

Welcome back to This Week In Discs! If you see something you like, click on the title to buy it from Amazon. Death Spa The hottest health spa in in town uses a state-of-the-art computer to help its clientele get the most out of their workouts, but the business is threatened when people start dying on the premises in wonderfully gory ways. Well, it would be threatened if the customers cared more about their safety than they do their bodies. It seems the owner’s wife, a woman who burned to death under mysterious circumstances, has returned for some supernatural vengeance. I won’t pretend that this late ’80s horror flick is a “good” movie per se, but there’s definitely a lot to enjoy here from the bloody gore effects to the decade-glorifying production design to its unabashed love of nudity to dialogue that delivers unintentional laughs. It’s a fun little movie that also earns points for finding a different angle on the haunted house tale. Gorgon Video’s new Blu-ray offers a solid HD transfer alongside new and entertaining extras, and while it’s not the best new release this week (and it’s more than a little over-priced) it’s a joy to finally see this somewhat forgotten gem find new life. [Blu-ray/DVD extras: Commentary, making of, trailer]

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Dracula (2013) TV Show

Fox and NBC have announced their fall lineup, and it’s hard not to notice some similarities between their offerings. Even beyond the standard “here’s a family comedy! Here’s a parenting comedy! Here’s some new police procedurals!” the premises of these shows are remarkably similar. So similar, in fact, that it’s like  Armageddon and Deep Impact happening right in your living room. For example, both networks have…

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Universal Classic Monsters

It takes some bravado to call something “The Essential Collection,” but Universal, over the course of its 100-year history, has basically written the rule book on monster movies, so a bringing together of their classic monsters under one Blu-ray box should be given a bit of slack. Not that it needs the slack, as the set is filled to the brim with good stuff for horror fans. Between the years of 1931 and 1954, Universal Studios produced some of the most iconic and influential horror films in the history of cinema, based on some of the most influential spooky stories in history. It began with Carl Laemmle Jr., the son of Universal founder Carl Laemmle, whose passion for literature and enthusiasm for seeing these great stories brought to life yielded two box office hits in 1931 with Dracula and Frankenstein. Even years after Laemmle had lost control of the studio, the legacy he forged lived on. These films would go on to inspire generations of film lovers and film makers, many of whom are still scaring us today. To celebrate in 2012, the year of the 100th birthday of Universal, we fans have been given this Universal Classic Monsters Blu-ray release, a celebration of the original eight, the most popular and iconic of the bunch. Many have been retold, rebooted and remade, but the originals still stand the test of time, from Bela Lugosi’s glowing eyes to Millicent Patrick’s iconic design for the Creature from the Black Lagoon, they are the forefathers of […]

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Russell Crowe

It’s sort of fascinating that a vampire craze born from Twilight has shifted back toward Bram Stoker’s original vision: Tom Cruise and Sony are going vampire hunting with Van Helsing; Neil Marshall is boarding The Voyage of the Demeter; and now Russell Crowe might bring his Oscar statue to the set of Harker to play Dracula for Eli Roth. According to Deadline Romania, Roth is currently in talks to take over the chair for the Warners project where Jaume Collet-Serra used to sit. First of all, the prospect of Crowe taking on a classic character like this is pretty damned exciting. Granted, his Robin Hood was hampered by a lame movie, but Crowe would be walking in Bela Lugosi’s and Gary Oldman’s shoes (just to name a few). Secondly, it’s nice to see such a dusty character have so much life left in him – especially since it seems studios are more interested in a return to form (instead of simply sprinkling more glitter on everything).  

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Universal Monsters Blu-ray

Frankenstein, The Bride of Frankenstein, The Invisible Man, Dracula, The Wolf Man, Phantom of the Opera, The Mummy and The Creature From The Black Lagoon are finally all together on Blu-ray. Universal will be releasing a massively awesome set called “Universal Classic Monsters: The Essential Collection” on October 5th, and there are a ridiculous amount of extra features in addition to the horror flicks. Production photos, behind-the-scenes stuff, trailers, tributes to Jack Pierce and Lon Chaney, Jr. That’s the tip of the horror iceberg (which is also the name of the script I just finished. Call me, Asylum). The movies have been together on DVD before with a decent collection of features, but this Blu-ray collection seems absolutely stunning. A big upgrade for true classics. Plus, there are books involved! Everyone loves reading. The big question is…at a pre-sale price of $112, is this a necessary upgrade or a dreamy luxury?  

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Seeing as he’s largely built his entire career on doing stupid voices, it’s kind of strange that Adam Sandler hasn’t done more voice work. It seems like working in animation would work well with his approach to acting, which basically consists of showing up on set wearing shorts and a hoodie, and then looking into the camera and yelling something like “gobbledy-goo!” Give the man something more appealing to work with than 8 Crazy Nights, and animated movies could be the perfect way to utilize his talents. It’s probably too early to go jumping to conclusions, but the new trailer for Hotel Transylvania shows some indication that this might be that material. The big thing that Hotel Transylvania has going for it is that it was directed by the great Genndy Tartakovsky (Dexter’s Laboratory, Samurai Jack, Star Wars: Clone Wars), and if this new ad is any indication, that’s going to translate into a lot of impressive visuals and attention to detail. The Gothic scenery here is certainly more pleasant to look at than the wall-to-wall product placement that we get in most Sandler movies, so that’s going to put this head and shoulders above something like Just Go With It right out of the gate. And somehow, hearing Sandler do a goofy Dracula voice alongside animated visuals is so much easier to digest than hearing him do a goofy lady voice while dressed in drag was in Jack & Jill.

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Don’t worry. Quivering with a giant smile on your face is a normal reaction after seeing these. A whole host of vintage movie posters was found in Berwick, Pennsylvania and recently snagged over half a million dollars at auction. We may never be able to put them on our walls (unless one of our readers is insanely rich (in which case we have some exciting investment opportunities in a spunky little movie site we’d like to share with you)), but we can still ogle them. What’s on the block? Posters from Dracula (1931), Cimmaron (1931), Little Caesar (1931) and the only known one sheet of the James Cagney-starring The Public Enemy (1931). Seriously, all the movies are from 1931. Check out some of the posters for yourself. Gaze upon their glory and shudder just a little.

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Mondo

Tomorrow will see the grand opening of Mondo’s new gallery space in Austin, Texas. Mondo, the art boutique offshoot of the Alamo Drafthouse, has been creating t-shirts, posters, and other movie-related items for several years now. In light of the new gallery opening, it seems as good a time as any to take a look back over their illustrious career. Many current poster hounds may not realize that the Mondo legacy goes back as far as it does, but old school fans will remember the phone booth-sized storefront Mondo enjoyed at the original Alamo Drafthouse on Colorado. No bigger than a postage stamp, the Mondo room was packed to the gills with t-shirts and posters. Mondo recently put up an online archive of all of their prints dating back to 1998, which frankly made this article much easier to put together. But it also serves as a window into their fantastic past, showcasing many prints you probably missed and will now furiously try to track down. Speaking of tracking down prints, here’s the top 13 on our radar.

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Universal Pictures will turn a century old on April 30, and in advance of their 100th birthday, the studio has trotted out a new (shiny!) logo that touts their triple-digit age. Why they didn’t get Willard Scott to do one of those Smuckers Jam birthday label shout-out things on The Today Show, I simply don’t know, but there’s still time! Of course, that new logo is neat and all (and, again, shiny!), but what’s most exciting about this news is the studio’s announcement that they will also celebrate their centennial with the restoration of thirteen of its most famous films. THR reports that the studio has restored All Quiet on the Western Front, The Birds, Abbott and Costello’s Buck Privates, Dracula (1931), the Spanish-language Dracula (which was filmed on the same set at night), Frankenstein, Jaws, Schindler’s List, Out of Africa, Pillow Talk, Bride of Frankenstein, The Sting, and To Kill a Mockingbird. The studio plans to release the restorations throughout 2012. Many of the restorations will be sold in “collectible book style packaging with memorabilia.” Moreover, Universal is reportedly quite happy with the work on previously damaged films, particularly when it comes to crisper sound in Frankenstein and “appalling graininess” in To Kill a Mockingbird. Also, fans of Out of Africa can breathe a sigh of relief – as “Meryl Streep loses a weird wobble in her walk possibly caused by projectors that enlarged the sprocket holes.” I wish it was Universal’s 100th birthday every day!

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Back in 1985, releasing a family film that was directed by Superman’s Richard Donner and had Steven Spielberg’s name plastered all over it as a writer and producer was pretty much the antithesis of a risky proposition. At this point in the mid 80s Spielberg and his crew of cohorts were at the height of their powers, churning out family friendly blockbusters one after another. So The Goonies never really had an uphill battle to climb. It was probably always going to be a success. The way that it took the ball and has continued to run with it, even twenty-six years later, is a little astounding though. This is a huge movie. If ever someone admits to not having seen it, they instantly get hit with an incredulous, “WHAT? YOU HAVEN’T SEEN GOONIES?” It’s almost to the point where the DVD gets sent to suburbanites in the mail with Peter Frampton records and samples of Tide. On the other end of the spectrum, The Monster Squad is a total cult movie. While it’s loved passionately by a small group of geeks, a normal person would have to very randomly stumble across something deep within the heart of the Internet to ever realize that this movie even exists. There aren’t any college frat boys wearing out their copy of Monster Squad like they are their copies of Goonies. There isn’t a new generation of young kids catching on to Fat Kid and Frankenstein the way they are Chunk and Sloth. […]

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Every Sunday in October, Old Ass Movies will be teaming with 31 Days of Horror in order to deliver a horror film that was made before you were born and tell you why you should like this. This week, Old Ass Horror presents the story of Dracula as seen through the beautiful, blood-filled eyes of Christopher Lee, Peter Cushing and the entire Hammer Family. Synopsis: Retitled for American consumption as to avoid confusion with Tod Browning’s Dracula, this is a straightforward adaptation of Bram Stoker’s original novel that became the basis for so many movies. Jonathan Harker (John Van Eyssen) is turned into a vampire by the vicious Count Dracula, but when Doctor Van Helsing (Peter Cushing) goes to investigate, he finds the fiend has already fled his castle and is headed to inflict more pain on Jonathan’s family by attacking his fiance.

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The master of horror is using Google Trends to advice his next career move.

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We’re all real happy you can finally get that rash checked out, but here are ten movie characters that are even happier that health care reform is about to break on through to the other side.

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Universal really wants this vampire fad to go out with a bang and a fizzle.

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vampire-hs-header

Just imagine. You’re immortal. You have forever lain out in front of you. The road of your life is endless. You can do anything you want. Go where you please. What do you choose to do? Go to high school. Yes, you read this correctly. You go to high school.

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thirst_movie

All I heard for weeks was how Park’s vampire opus Thirst was a gorgeous, deeply affecting film; my interest was duly peaked. Two very long hours later, I emerged in the minority. I did not like this film.

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If it’s not a vampire movie, why are there vampires in it? If it’s not a vampire movie, why is this known the world over as “the teen vampire movie”? I suppose we could also say that Iron Man isn’t a superhero movie and It’s a Wonderful Life isn’t a Christmas movie.

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