Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992): A brilliant Example of German Expressionism!

Dracula | German | 30th November 2021 | Virtual Wire

 

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An artistic genre that originated in Europe in the 1920s, German Expressionism can be defined as the rejection of Western conventions and depiction of reality that is widely distorted, for emotional effect.

It mainly had an influence on films, dealing with fantasy and horror and one such film is Bram Stoker’s Dracula, a 1992 film, adapted from the novel of the same name.


Synopsis

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In 1462, Vlad Dracula returns from a victory against the Turks and finds out, that his wife Elisabeta has committed suicide, thinking he died in the battle. The priest tells him that her soul was damned as she has sinned by taking her own life. Dracula renounces God, declaring that he will rise from the grave to avenge Elisabeta with all the powers of darkness. He then desecrates the chapel's stone cross and drinks its sacred blood.


In 1897, newly qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania to arrange Dracula's real estate acquisitions in London. Jonathan meets Dracula who finds a picture of his fiancée Mina Murray and believes that she is the reincarnation of Elisabeta. Dracula travels to England with boxes of his native Transylvanian soil to find Mina, leaving Jonathan for his vampire brides to feed upon; a fate which he fortunately escapes.


In London, Dracula turns Mina’s friend Lucy into a vampire, which Dr. Abraham Van Helsing is able to identify as a work of Dracula. Though Dracula, appearing young and handsome during daylight, manages to meet and charm Mina, when she receives news from Jonathan, she travels to Romania to marry him. After returning to London, Jonathan and Van Helsing destroy the Count's boxes of soil. Dracula visits Mina and gets her to remember Elisabeta's previous life. She claims to still love him and forces him to turn her into a vampire. But before they could finish, the hunters free Mina. In her transitioning state, Helsing hypnotizes her and learns via her connection with Dracula, that he is sailing home in his last remaining box.

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At night, on their way to Dracula’s castle, Helsing and Mina are approached by Dracula's brides, under whose influence Mina tries to seduce and feed on Helsing’s blood. He places a holy wafer on her, leaving a scar on her forehead and decapitates the brides. A group of gipsies carrying Dracula in his coffin arrives at the castle. Just as Dracula begins regaining his strength, at sunset, Jonathan slits his throat while Morris stabs him in the heart with a knife.


As Dracula collapse, Mina rushes to his assistance and takes him inside the chapel where he once renounced God. He asks Mina to give him peace following which, she decapitates Dracula and as he finally dies, his curse is lifted and the cross repairs itself. The scar on Mina’s forehead disappears, and she is able to have a vision of Dracula and Elisabeta, finally reuniting in heaven.



Conclusion


Bram Stoker’s Dracula was successful in portraying the dark sides of cinema, which makes this movie an excellent example of German Expressionism. This movie can be termed as both horror and a romantic fantasy as it revolves around the lost love of a vampire who commits horrible sins, all so, to reunite with his one true love.

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