There are a few special types of movies. Halloween Movies, 90s Comedies, Christmas, Retro Scifi, and above all else Mel Brooks Movies. There is on movie that hits three of those boxes.
Yes Dracula Dead and Loving It is a fantastically silly yet true to the source take on the Dracula films of the past. I’m sure you’ve seen a few of these Mel Brooks masterpieces of parody. Spaceballs, Blazing Saddles, and History of the World to name just a few. The charm lies in the fact that the humor is identifiable even if the genre has changed. It still hits like a Mel Brooks film. For my younger readers think Shaun of the Dead to Hot Fuzz. Very different movies, yet the same humor and jokes. It gives a timeless feel to the movies. I keep having to remind myself it was made in 1995. Like here are some examples of 1995 films you likely saw.
Those all live and die in the 90s. They just feel dated and although enjoyable you still feel like you are watching something out of place. That same feeling you got as a kid watching ancient episodes of Top Cat and Scooby Doo. It’s hard to enjoy the movie while focusing on how 90s it is. Dracula Dead and Loving It hits a point of perfected parody that hides it’s dated camera quality and special by effects as if it’s a stylistic choice. So why did I pick so a seemingly random Dracula film for a Halloween article? Well because I have a schedule to keep.
Much like Dracula himself, Halloween can sneak up on us even when we expect it. The humor here is to be expected. Making it sadly not that rewatchable, but it’s a Halloween staple for me. The movie is your standard Dracula fare. Count Dracula gets a new servant, travels abroad, and goes after some pretty girls while going toe to toe with Van Hellsing. The Mel Brooks humor is also what you would expect. It sounds like I’m about to say it’s disappointing or a one and done watch right? Not at all actually.
It works together making a good shut off your brain and enjoy your holiday movie. Like Planes, Trains, and Automobiles on Thanksgiving or whatever your family’s go to Christmas flick was it’s a comfortable holiday tradition. I mean if you were expecting a review of the movie well, you ain’t getting one. The plot is just Dracula stuff with jokes. Explaining the jokes would ruin it if you hadn’t seen it. If you have already watched it, well your one of the real ones. It does lack any real stand out scenes that make the movie. Fine okay, it’s not as good as Young Frankenstein. You got me, you happy with yourself now? Well we aren’t discussing that movie, enough people talk about Young Frankenstein already. This movie never claimed to be Young Frankenstein 2. All it’s promotion has been stand alone, atleast from what I’ve seen. Times were different back in the 90s. Used to be movies were one and done experiences. Made to be something you went out to enjoy like play. Then we started getting movies on cable TV so we had a shift to a more consumable style of story telling. Movies became based around beats and commercial breaks. That’s where this movie excels at. Every few minutes somebody does something. Plot dragging on a bit much? Getting a little to exposition heavy? No worries it’s almost like someone of screen just gives the order to do something.
Honestly in any other movie it would be frustrating. Here it works. I mean it’s Dracula. What do you expect? Keeping the very basic plot intact allows for some solid improvised jokes. What it lacks in horror it makes up for in atmosphere. Which isn’t that what Halloween really is? It’s pumpkins and skeletons not being afraid of pumpkins and skeletons. A good Halloween movie should make you happy it’s spooky month. Because I’m gonna be real here, I just like Jack-o’-lanterns. Much like Christmas trees there is a time and a place. I enjoy horror and spooky stuff year round. So slasher films don’t feel like Halloween films. That goes into Dracula too. I’ll watch some vampire slaying fun any dang day. So having a once a year treat is important. If the movie was better, I’d watch it more often. It’s averageness is the very thing making it special. The familiar joke a minute disposable comedy mixed with an over used subject like Dracula just hits the nail on the head.