Super Mates 90: House of Franklin-Stein Part 4

In this year’s final trip to the House of Franklin-Stein, Chris and Cindy sit down and watch (and comment) on Bram Stoker’s Dracula, directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Keanu Reeves, Anthony Hopkins and an all-star cast!

Their couch-potatoing continues with the Super Friends episode “Voodoo Vampire”. Batman, Robin, Superman and Aquaman are transformed into slaves by the evil Vampiress! Can Black Vulcan and Wonder Woman save them?

Happy Halloween!!!

Our theme song maestro, Terry O’Malley’s Bandcamp page! Check it out!

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This podcast is a proud member of the FIRE AND WATER PODCAST NETWORK

Clip credits:

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) directed by Francis Ford Coppola, music by Wojciech Kilar

“The House of Franklinstein” by Terry O’Malley

Super Friends theme by Hoyt Curtain

Clips from Super Friends (1980) “Voodoo Vampire”

“A Monster’s Holiday” by Buck Owens

38 responses to “Super Mates 90: House of Franklin-Stein Part 4

  1. It’s amazing to me how many times people just gloss over the continuity mishap when Lucy’s three suitors are introduced. During most of the exchange, Quincy Morris is holding his hat. He refuses to even let the butler have it to put in the hat check area. However, When Arthur Hollywood is introduced we see Quincy Holding his head…we cut to Lucy greeting Arthur we then cut back to Quincy and Jack…Jack stands up and has suddenly been sitting on Quincy’s hat!

      1. Wow, I didn’t notice that! Of course we had a lot to try to cram into the running time of this, so little things like that wouldn’t have popped out to us anyway. But I’ll be looking next time!

        Chris

  2. I love this movie. I adore this movie. It hovers somewhere around my Top 20 all time because I’ve always found the visuals, the set and costume design, the music, the atmosphere, everything about it so arresting. I was only about 11 when I saw this in the theater. My mom took me because she knew how much I liked the classical monsters and we’d watched other versions of Dracula around Halloween. Obviously, neither one of us were quite ready for how sexualized the movie would be.

    Which brings me to the one major problem with the movie, the one area in which it has not aged well at all:

    The filmmakers try to make Dracula a sympathetic character by introducing this love story, that Mina is the reincarnation of Dracula’s soulmate and they’re destined to be together, and that Dracula is, in fact, a tortured tragic figure condemned to never know God’s grace because he felt betrayed by the church after his wife’s untimely death. All of that would be fine and interesting and cool…

    … except at the same time we’re being asked to sympathize with Dracula, we’re also watching him prey upon Lucy. And every time he goes after Lucy, it’s basically a sex scene. As Cindy pointed out (and as I very much noticed as a pre-teen), Sadie Frost’s breasts are out every time Dracula comes for her. But she’s under his spell the whole time. Now, I’m no lawyer but if you’re under the vampire’s spell you can’t be a consenting sexual partner. Which means every one of these encounters is akin to rape. I mean, the whole issue of the vampire sucking the blood from the neck, it’s always been a sexual metaphor, since well before Bram Stoker’s novel; but Coppola takes any subtext out of it. It’s a violent, non-consensual sexual affair. Yeah, Dracula be a rapist here.

    Hard to reconcile that with the tragic prince Mina is supposed to fall in love with.

    But other than that not-so-insignificant hangup, I still love this movie. I always thought Anthony Hopkins hammed it up just the right amount to make his performance scene-stealing and hilarious, but not so much you don’t take him seriously. Also, I’ve long thought that Monica Bellucci’s beauty is almost unearthly and unfair to the rest of humanity. After I saw her in the movie MALENA in the early 2000s I wanted her to play Wonder Woman, and I held on to that dream for another fifteen years.

    The only other note I’ll give is, boy, that werewolf sex scene did a number on me as a kid. I laughed when Cindy asked, “So did Dracula finish?!!” because Chris and I were both thinking the same thing. Listen to Dracula groan after; of course not!

    Great episode you two, and congratulations on another spectacular season of HOUSE OF FRANKLINSTEIN. September 2020 can’t come fast enough!

    1. Great points Ryan, and I agree, Coppola seems to want it both ways. To have a sympathetic, but horrible Dracula. His preying on Lucy is defintely rapey, even more so than in most other Dracula adaptations, because of the overly-sexualized portrayal and because Lucy does seem to come to herself a few times. I think Langella is as romantic as I want Dracula, and even though he does vampirize Mina, we’re not privy to him shagging her in beast form, so he’s easier to get behind.

      Chris

  3. At the time, this version of DRACULA seemed to point the way toward a run of high-budget, “prestige” adaptations of the classic monster stories, but then after Brangh’s FRANKENSTEIN that idea seemed to whither and die. And unlike the HOF, it essentially stayed dead. I guess you could say the Brendan Fraser MUMMY was part of this, though I feel like those movies have zip to do with the original concept.

    Another fine run of HOUSE OF FRANKLINSTEIN! This is one of my favorite things that appears on the network, always sad to see it go.

    1. Yeah, it did seem like we were going to get a revival of the classic gothic horrors in a big way after this. Mary Shelly’s Frankenstein was probably too off-putting for most audiences, because DeNiro was horrid looking, not even appealing in a monstrous way like Karloff or Lee before him. No “handsome prince” in site, besides Kenneth, I guess.

      Universal woke up and revived the Mummy and then sent Stephen Sommers off to raise the rest of the classic monsters with Van Helsing…but we all saw how that turned out.

      The Wolf Man remake is not a bad film by any means, but that twist ending guts the greatest pathos of the original story.

      I’m always sad to see HoF (and Halloween) go, but I couldn’t do this all year, for sure!

      Chris

  4. In the Universal-licensed novel “Dracula: Asylum” from the mid-2000s, Dracula tells another character that he was originally Jesus and became a creature of evil because of having absolving mankind of its sins. The author doesn’t expect us to accept that — Dracula is presented as lying when he claims it — but there are characters speculating that Dracula could be Judas, having become vampiric from a bargain with the devil.

    I don’t remember a whole lot else from the novel, having read it (and the other novels in that series, such as Frankenstein, Bride, Mummy, Wolf Man) just once when it was new, but I remember that being an interesting moment to at least bring up the possibilities. It reminded me that Lugosi’s Dracula wasn’t said to be Vlad the Impaler, and that really any movie Dracula also doesn’t need to represent that historical Vlad either. As with Coppola’s movie and “Untold,” they choose to. They might see an incentive to. But they could have a different historical figure become Dracula if they felt like it, and could give a fresh spin on the legend.

    1. Wow, that’s interesting. Kind of reminds me of the New 52 revision of the Phantom Stranger being Pontius PIlate.

      I think Vlad is now so well known, and his connection to Dracula is such a selling point (“Dracula was real!”), it would be hard for audiences to accept another origin point. Heck, the Marvel comic went with Vlad as Dracula, so it’s been ingrained for the last 40 years or so.

      But it would be interesting for creators to get past that and try something different. There are certainly lots of historical figures to tie him to, if someone wants to give it a try!

      Chris

  5. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” isn’t a bad film, and I agree that having all of the effects done in camera gives it a great look, but there’s a little too much made of the love story for me. My go-to Dracula has always been the BBC mini-series staring Louis Jourdan, even if the shot of Dracula crawling down the outside of the building creeped me out as a kid. It’s the closest to the novel (with the major exceptions being that Mina and Lucy are sisters & the characters of Arthur and Quincy are combined into one character). I’d love to hear your take of that version one year.

  6. I LOVED your commentary – what a perfect way of covering an often-told tale and made me feel like I was a guest in the House of Franklinstein watching along with you
    As for the movie itself, how can I put this? To me, Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a magic show crossed with a Burlesque performance.
    It’s gaudy, bawdy, colourful, unhinged and always fun. Gary Oldman is our master of ceremonies, strutting around in an array of outrageous costumes and wigs. He does tricks with shadows and mirrors – and funny voices. His assistants provide the glamour and window-dressing, or thanklessly play the ‘straight men’ to his vaudeville antics.
    Only Anthony Hopkins, inexplicably playing Van Helsing as a giant wedge of Dutch cheese, (and Sadie Frost as a ginger tart), come close to moving into his limelight.
    It’s the ‘DeLaurentiis Flash Gordon’ of Dracula adaptations – with Dracula surely drinking food colouring rather than blood, and the casting leaving a little to be desired – but the music is absolutely amazing and the art direction literally bat-guano crazy!

      1. Thanks Chris – and HUGE thanks to you and Cindy for all your hard work this spooky season with House of Franklinstein. As usual – I’ve been thoroughly entertained and educated – Halloween just wouldn’t be the same without these wonderful shows!

    1. Zowie — that’s a review and a half if I ever read one! Now I’m almost regretting my choice to not watch the movie while listening to Chris and Cindy’s fine commentary! (I might or might not have been watching a different Dracula picture instead with “Erotic Rites” in the title..)

  7. Well done on the commentary! It showed how much I forgot about all the sexual scenes, which seeing it as a teen, you think I would have remembered more. To me, the two things that stick in my memory from this film is the music (which is amazing!) and the Mr.Burns parody of Dracula in the Simpsons. I guess I was too snooty at the time and thought, “This isn’t like Bela Lugosi. I don’t like it.”. The two of you brought some great insights to this movie that it makes me want to go back and revisit it, now that I’m not snooty anymore, or so I hope! Or I could just been vengeful and accuse this film of not being cinema and despicable.
    Also, I have seen a John Wick film and if you want to watch a movie that is a ballet of stunts, then John Wick is the show for you.
    Both of you did a great job in the House this year and it’s a joy, and now a tradition, for me to visit the House every Halloween. Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks for the kind words, Mike! I think this Dracula is worth a re-evaluation for sure. It’s definitely NOT your father’s (or grandfather’s, or great-grandfather’s) Dracula, but the look and sound of it alone make it entertaining, if nothing else. The grand spectacle is worth it.

      I kind of expect John Wick to be a purely visual, violent spectacle. I’m not expecting anything deep from Keanu, no matter how he’s been reevaluated in recent years. 😉

      Chris

  8. Glad I found the time to listen to this before Halloween. And I enjoyed listening to the show, which is more than I can say for the movie – in fact, it looks like I’m going to buck the trend here and say that I actively don’t like it.
    Partly, that’s due to the fact that it’s called “Bram Stoker’s” Dracula when it so clearly is not the story Stoker told. And partly it’s due to how miscast Keanu Reeves was; for me, it’s really hard to get past that (and I say this as someone who generally likes him – and he’s great in the John Wick movies). But more importantly, it’s due to what Ryan articulated quite well in his comment above, i.e., the very rapey aspects of what he did to Lucy even as the movie tries to ultimately make viewers sympathize with Dracula and buy into the romance with Mina. That actually kind of ties into a pet peeve of mine with a lot of vampire stories, i.e., the tendency to make them sympathetic, and also alluring and desirable romantic partners – even though they’re friggin’ blood-sucking demons, for pete’s sake.
    Anyway, I will concede that the movie is visually gorgeous across the board: the sets, costumes and photography are all outstanding. And I really did enjoy Tom Waits as Renfield – yes, he chewed up the scenery whenever he was on camera.
    I can’t believe nobody has mentioned the wonderful closing segment about the Super Friends; that one brought back a few memories, because once you described it, I totally remembered the ‘voodoo vampire’ who shot lasers from her teeth. But yeah, that’s … a pretty silly episode.

    By the way, Sid Vicious was the bassist, not guitarist, for the Sex Pistols. And did I detect a note of mockery at the expense of the late, great Lux Interior? For shame…

    1. Edo, sorry, but punk is one kind of music I have never really gotten into, personally. So excuse my ignorance on Lux and Sid’s position in the Sex Pistols.

      I can see your point on this version of Dracula, and others, that try to romanticize him too much, especially when they spend the other half of the movie showing how monstrous he is.

      Thanks for mentioning “Voodoo Vampire”. I was kind of surprised no one has yet to comment on it before. I guess Bram Stoker’s Dracula is just something everyone has an opinion on one way or another!

      Chris

      1. Since you guys mentioned Blacula, it just occurred to me that the romance angle in Coppola’s Dracula seems to have been lifted from that film; both involve the titular vampire finding the apparent reincarnation of his past love, who then falls (back) in love with him.

        1. Wow, I had forgotten Blacula went there too. Good call. Probably the first “acula” to do so. But I think we can trace the vampire/reincarnated love angle slightly further back to Barnabas Collins…but also to Universal’s original Mummy film, which in many ways is a remake of their Dracula.

  9. Voodoo vampires? Sure, they make other vampires by shooting lasers from the rubies in their fangs. I thought everybody knew that, but maybe that’s just me. :) Of course all the Voodoo Vampires that showed up on my doorstep last night had fang laser jewels on their teeth, but that’s the sort of thing you just assume, you don’t ask them to show you. :)

  10. I haven’t seen the Dracula movie since it came out. I think I’ve always been harsh on it as being too “pretentious” due to a lot of the publicity at the time seemingly mentioning it would be more prestigious than other Dracula films.

    I’m on the same page with Ryan about Monica Bellucci being my first choice for Wonder Woman in the late 90s/early 2000s. I was afraid when I took my mom to see The Passion of the Christ that I was going to be turned into a pillar of salt for lusting for Mary Magdalene in a biblical movie. Since I’ve already past on over into sleaze territory

    1. Sorry…cut myself off

      Since I’ve already gone over into sleaze territory, I read that as candidates for the vampire brides where whittled down, Brinke Stevens stayed in contention until the next to last cut. If she and Monica had been cast together, seeing them get….shall we say friendly….with each other would have been one of the most erotic moments in cinema history.

      Ok, back to Super Friends. I’m sorry but Voodoo Vampire is great and if there were a 70s movie called that, I wouldn’t be able to resist it…and jewel encrusted fangs that shoot lasers. Count me in! Back then, I’m surprised censors let them call her a vampire. Even in the 90s, Morbius had to say he needed Plasma and sucked it through his hands on the Spider-Man cartoon. Better to have just left him off.

      Chris, I never like Olan Soule as Batman either. I thought his voice was too nasal and he sounded like Maxwell Smart. Another Bat-connection for him: Soule played Yvonne “Batgirl” Craig’s father in the Elvis Presley movie It Happened at the World’s Fair.

      1. Huh, I didn’t know about Brinke Stevens being a candidate. Always a bridesmaid…but yeah, that may have been TOO much!

        I also didn’t know Olan Soule had played Craig’s father in that Elvis film. On camera, I knew him best in his recurring role as John Masters, the choir leader of Mayberry on The Andy Griffith Show.

        1. I remember Soule from Andy Griffith, too, but he was on just about EVERYTHING in the 60s. He was even on an episode of the Adam West Batman show. It Happened at the World’s Fair wasn’t his only Elvis movie, either.

          I think the only person I’ve heard mention Brinke’s “closeness” at getting a role in Dracula was Brinke, herself. Maybe it should be taken with a grain of salt. Still, I would have loved to have seen her and Bellucci together. Both were very gorgeous.

  11. Thanks for letting me be a part of the house of Franklinstein!
    I honest;y didn’t think that I was going to listen to this whole thing. Listen to two people watch a movie that I don’t even like? Mmmm, probably not. Nevertheless, I put it on while I was driving, left it on, while I parked and ate, and kept listening as I drove on, and yeah, I liked sort of hanging out with Cindy and Chris!
    Okay, I’m glad that Edo schooled you on Lux Interior, Poison Ivy, and The Cramps. You are likely to find some of their songs appropriate for closing music for future HoFs.
    Somewhere, somehow, I watched (most of) this movie. Except for Tom Waits, I didn’t like any of it. I found it all so terribly overdone. However, your discussion got me to thinking about the casting of Dracula. Frank Langella, young Bela Lugosi, Gary Oldman, Christopher Lee all have undeniable charm and charisma and appealing looks. It is easy to understand Lucy and Mina falling for a charismatic count. So, what about casting a non-appealing actor as Dracula? As Stoker described him. Only so that when the ladies fall under his spell, it is clear that it IS a spell. Imagine Tom Waits as Renfield, but as Count Dracula. This way, his actions would clearly be heinous, depriving his victims of agency and will, with no doubt about it. Dracula is a monster who is very rarely depicted monstrously.
    Moving on: laser fangs! Brilliant!

    1. Ooh, good point there, Terry! I guess Nosferatu (both versions) are the closest we’ve gotten to an ugly Dracula. I recently watched the Louis Jordan version (which Gene Hendricks so graciously sent to us), and of course he’s the epitome of suave and handsome. Luke Evans in Dracula Untold is of course handsome (he was Gaston for Pete’s sake), and the list of handsome Draculas goes on and on. Jack Palance isn’t traditionally Hollywood handsome, but he’s very magnetic and charismatic, so he still fits in that category.

      How about Steve Buscemi as Dracula? I’d watch it!!!

      Chris

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