Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995)

Any excursion into the mind of Mel Brooks is an occasion for cele-
bration, even when it's a surprisingly slim spoof of Dracula films, 
old and new.  Slight, and more than a little bit flat, DRACULA: 
DEAD AND LOVING IT is at least an improvement over his last film, 
ROBIN HOOD: MEN IN TIGHTS.  The laugh count is still awfully low-- 
there hasn't been a *funny* Mel Brooks movie since, oh, his 1983 
remake of TO BE OR NOT TO BE-- but there are a *few* funny moments.  
And at least one classic scene involving a large quantity of blood.  

Casting is part of the problem.  In better days, Brooks had his 
pick from the likes of Madeline Kahn, Gene Wilder, Dom DeLuise, and 
Cloris Leachmen.  Here, with the exception of Harvey Korman and a 
few fleeting old faces, he's working with featherweights.  Such as 
Steven Weber (JEFFREY) and Amy Yasbeck (PROBLEM CHILD).  (To be 
fair, Peter MacNicol is dead-on funny as the insect-loving 
Renfield.  He has a great scene with Korman at a breakfast table.)

Oddly, the role of Dracula seems miscast.  Leslie Nielsen is a 
great bumbler, but far less effective as a suave Transylvanian.  
(His inclusion, I suspect, was more market-driven than anything 
else.  He's amusing enough, but would people really have paid to 
see, say, Frank Langella spoofing himself?)  Brooks, who appears as 
the vampire-hunting Van Helsing, plays things straight; perhaps too 
straight.  Nobody breaks into song; nobody appears dressed as a 

However good-natured the humor is, DRACULA: DEAD AND LOVING IT is 
still flat on all fronts.  This movie is neither scary-funny 
enough; nor quick-witted enough; nor authentic-looking enough to be 
effective.  (If anything begs for some serious spoofing it's those 
great visual effects in BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA; effects that Brooks 
never takes a hearty stab at.  Too bad.)  The old Mel Brooks shows 
his face in a few scenes-- an autopsy here, a gynecology line 
there-- but, for the most part, the man who made YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN 
is still down for the count.  (Rated PG-13, 90m)

Grade: C+

Copyright 1995 by Michael J. Legeros

Originally posted to triangle.movies

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