One of the most original and famous vampire in the history of TV, books and films is Dracula. For centuries, he’s one of the iconic characters that have brought us sleepless nights and hair-rising moments.
There’s a certain charm in Dracula that makes him still existing even on the present days. There has been several adaptation of him – some portrayals were great while there are some that are clearly outstanding. As the years go by, we have been bestowed by many films that showcased Dracula, making each adaptation more interesting than the last.
Below is the list of films and portrayals that made Dracula a force of a character over the years.
Dracula (1931) – Portrayed by Bela Lugosi
When you hear the word Dracula, the first iconic image that pops in everybody’s head is Lugosi. You are not a true-blue Dracula fan if you have not heard of the name Bela Lugosi.
Lugosi became popular in his adaptation of Dracula probably because this was the first official Dracula film ever made. Lugosi portrayed Dracula in a very mesmerizing and powerful way. With his amazing acting, he catapulted himself as one of the greatest Dracula portrayals of all time.
Nosferatu (1922) – Portrayed by Max Schreck
This movie was beyond scary during its time. This Dracula adaptation film was based on the book and people were enthralled of this adaptation and the major differences it has from the book.
Though the film stick to the plot and key characters of the book, the portrayal of Max Schreck presented a different side of Dracula. He was portrayed as more demonic rather than humanistic. Overall, this particular film immediately became a classic for being truly scary in the 1920s, and yet, even modern day audience would find it still creepy. Just looking at him as Count Orlok will give you chills.
Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) – Portrayed by Klaus Kinski
Werner Herzog was successful in creating not just the most disturbing but also the scariest Dracula film of all time. Under his direction, Nosferatu made a strong impact in this film than it did to the novel.
Aside from excellent director, Klaus Kinski was perfect in this role. His portrayal of Dracula was more realistic than anything we have seen from any Dracula movies before. The novel may have been popular for its seductiveness but this film strayed from this theme. Kinski delivered an intense and great performacne where he showed a pathetic and sad angle of Dracula.
Horror of Dracula (1958) – Portrayed by Christopher Lee
Christopher Lee gives the most seductive portrayal of Dracula. There’s no question how huge was the role of Lee in the success of this adaptation. Aside from his outstanding performance though, there were so many other qualities in the movie that made this version one of the greatest adaptions.
Though the movie lost a lot of disturbing elements because there was little to no gore in it, but the overall film was surprisingly scary enough thanks to the portrayal of talented actors and the use of eerie atmosphere. Christopher Lee turned into a massive star due to his impressive performance.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) – Portrayed by Gary Oldman
Also adapted from the book, the portrayal of Dracula in this film was exceptionally good. Gary Oldman embodied a perfect representation of Dracula. He was everything Dracula should be – unpredictable, an age switcher, sexually seductive, disturbing and most of all, scary.
Gary Oldman himself is already a force to reckon; he’s known to being an actor who can deliver every role that was given to him. Not only that, the film also included some stellar powerhouse such as Winona Ryder, Cary Elwes and Anthony Hopkins who delivered a stellar performance too.
The scenes in the move were realistically disturbing, with lots of gore and nudity in it. These two elements are what make a Dracula movie even terrifying.
Drácula (1931) – Portrayed by Carlos Villarias
As disappointing as it may sound, only a few people saw this Italian version of Dracula as it was released in the same year as the American’s famous version. Many critics believe that this movie was way better than Bela Lugosi’s performance in the American version because not only was it more faithful to the novel, the portrayals are even better too.
The sets were identical in both version, but there’s a huge difference when it comes to the wardrobes. In this version, women wore more revealing clothing, making Dracula’s wives more sexually appealing. Carlos Villarias’s silly and humorous portrayal may have been criticized by many viewers but performances of other actors in the film, most especially Renfield, were praised as better than the American version.
Special effects and cinematography received positive reviews because the unorthodox approach suited the film really well. Critics who watched the Italian film felt that the adaptation of foreign Dracula was technically better compared to the American counterpart.
Dracula (1979) – Portrayed by Frank Langella
Frank Langella was labelled as the most good looking and sexy Count Dracula of all time. Aside from his ridiculous good looks and charisma, his voice was also beautifully seductive which made his presence disturbing. Strangely though, women couldn’t resist being drawn and attracted to him instead of being scared. Langella portrayed exactly how Dracula should be and this adaption was generally entertaining.
Click here to know more about the plot and actors who played in this film.
Dracula (1973) – Portrayed by Jack Palance
This is one of the Dracula films that may have been forgotten by many viewers, but for those who still remember, this Dracula film was a pretty good adaptation.
Jack Palance may not looked as scary as what you expected to be, but he undoubtedly gave the best portrayal of Dracula. His silently disturbed attitude was perfect for the role. Other actors also played their parts fantastically. Jonathan Harker’s portrayal of Murray Brown was pretty outstanding. It may not be as faithful as what you hoped to be to the novel, but it’s a great adaptation nonetheless.
Read more interesting facts about vampire movies here.