Even those people who have never seen an adaptation of the book know about Dracula and the iconography he represents. You’ll rarely find adaptations of Dracula that simply are just straightforward translations of the book to the screen. Instead, creators use the character to explore ideas of sex, death, gender, faith, xenophobia, infection, politics, and so on. Vampirism remains one of the genre’s most flexible metaphors, and Dracula is merely the avatar for those ideas.
1. Nosferatu 1921
One of the oldest Dracula films that were filmed in 1921; at the time there was no such thing as a “horror movie.” When German director Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau started shooting for “Nosferatu,” the vampire Count Orlok played by Max Schreck was one of the scariest characters ever featured in a silent movie at the time. The gloomy, bald figure with bat-ears, thick eyebrows, and long canines could have come directly from the depths of hell.
2. ‘Dracula’ 1931
In this film, Hungarian Actor Bela Lugosi was the first to portray Count Dracula on screen. On February 4, 1931, director Tod Browning’s film “Dracula” premiered in the US, with Lugosi as the cultured Transylvanian count who rolls his R’s while speaking. Back then, this was the first vampire film to fully play around with the sexual allure of the vampire.
3. Hammer Horror Dracula 1958
After a few years of devolving into parody, Dracula became not only scary again but impossibly regal thanks to Sir Christopher Lee. Pushing the boundaries of what could be shown in British cinema in the ’50s, Lee played the role of the blood-sucking monster at least 10 times in very different films, including the Hammer Horror series.
4. Dracula 1979
Universal Studios had another go at the Dracula tale in the 70s. This is the closest film made that has come close to capturing the rotten Gothic allure of the novel and it’s the first Dracula to fully embrace the notion of the Count as a romantic hero. Nowadays, this adaptation isn’t talked about as much, but it remains one of the most sinfully underrated takes on Dracula. It is said it may have one of cinema’s most unusual sex scenes. It’s that kind of movie, and we promise you, it’s amazing.
5. Bram Stoker’s Dracula 1992
In terms of capturing the novel’s feverish intensity and Gothic melodrama, Francis Ford Coppola’s take came the closest. The aesthetics of Bram Stoker’s Dracula do most of the work, with achingly detailed costumes and exclusively practical effects that inspire the drama with a hazy quality akin to the space between being awake and dreaming. As unnecessary as the added romantic subplot with Dracula and Mina is, it helps to deepen the story’s overwhelming emotional core. Everyone made jokes about Keanu Reeves’s atrocious English accent and the less-than-stellar sexual chemistry between Gary Oldman and Winona Ryder, but when a film looks this good, who cares?
6. ‘Dracula: Dead and Loving It’ 1995
A film filled with emotions of love and drama played by American actor Mel Brooks as the vampire in the movie which he also directed. This film, which is a spoof of Stoker’s novel, had the message that Dracula isn’t scary at all, but rather a clumsy womanizer.
7. Shadow of the Vampire 2000
Another homage to Murnau: This film by director Elias Mehrige is a fictionalized documentary about the making of “Nosferatu.” Willem Dafoe plays the role of Max Schreck, who embodied the vampire in the original, while John Malkovich portrays the German director.
8. The Twilight Saga 2008
The most recent and well known modern world adaption, the “Twilight” movies, which is completely a different take on the Transylvanian vampire. Starring Robert Pattison as the vampire and Kristen Stewart as his love interest who is human, the “Twilight” series are mostly about a young man who falls in love and the problems teenagers face — with a slightly bloody twist.