Ah, Dracula – So many myths, so many legends, and so many variations. To go hand-in-hand with this mysterious creature, we also have an endless list of talented actors that have portrayed this vampire at one time or another. The latest actor to play this bloodsucker is Luke Evans in Dracula: Untold, but let’s begin our look over the various interpretations of the character by going back and looking at one of the most iconic Draculas of all time.
Christopher Lee, a man who made Dracula who he is today. A bold statement for sure, but the 70’s seemed to be this man’s golden age and with the release of many a film featuring himself as this blood-sucker, Lee is probably one of the creepiest and most terrifying vampires of all time. There is no doubt of this man’s talent and back in 1958 when he started with Hammer Horror, this was only the start of a incredible career for such a well known figure. Not only does this man do a fantastic job, over the years his portrayal of this immortal being has improved and evolved into a very faithful depiction of the character. If you are a vampire fan and haven’t dipped your toes into these marvellous adaptations, then you are certainly missing out.
Let’s stick in chronological order and jump onto Klaus Kinski’s performance in Nosferatu the Vampyre back in 1979. Even from the still images of Kinski all dressed up ready to scare are enough for you to sleep with the light on. French director Werner Herzog is somewhat known for disturbing and unsettling films and it is evident here that this is possibly one of the creepiest and out-right frightening Dracula representations in film. However, not directly a Dracula re-telling as the title suggests it sticks more to the Nosferatu, pathetic, lonely vampire rather than the seductive stance modern interpretations have taken. Kinski give a powerful and intense performance that is simply outstanding. A much deeper look at the creature so many are fascinated with and definitely one all horror and vampire fans should watch at least once.
What can’t this man do? And, of course, he is Dracula in the 1992 Bram Stroker's Dracula. One of the main reasons why this Dracula shines out is that it really stayed close to the novel. Additionally, this adaptation had plenty of gore, nudity and some very disturbing scenes taken directly from the book, which only enhanced its already enticing manner. Oldman seemed to be the cherry on the cake. When one imagines Dracula, he should be scary for one, but also seductive. Oldman has both traits and wears them seamlessly, as well as being a terrifically terrifying performance to his Vampire. Bouncing off equally talented actors such as Anthony Hopkins, Cary Elwes and Winona Ryder, this film is certainly a worthy adaptation of such a well known story. Just close your eyes and imagine it isn’t Keanu Reeves as Jonathan Harker and he isn’t putting on a fake British accent.
Hugh Jackman as Van Helsing? Who wouldn’t want to see this is film? Stephen Sommers take on the legends of the supernatural wasn’t greatly received by critics, yet this film has a certain something. The film's phenomenal cast carried this one, and with the added bonus of Richard Roxburgh as Dracula, this made for one very entertaining film... just don’t try and think too much whilst watching. Here, Dracula is sexy. He has beautiful brides fawning over him, and his temper is, well, full of anger and passion. This Dracula is obsessed with creating life and continuing this blood-sucking race. For some reason, this paternal instinct of his makes you root for the vamp even more. A fantastically slick and comical representation of the creature.
Even though Luke Evans was the last to jump on the band wagon, a most talented and versatile actor snapped up the role just before him in latest TV series Dracula. Many will see his name pop up on the screen and think the guy from Bend it Like Beckham will never make a decent vampire, although this same man transformed himself into Henry VIII, and so then transformed himself with grace into Dracula. This is a much different look at the story and has Vlad disguise himself as a businessman named Alexander Grayson. Another aspect that works in the show's favour is the longevity of the narrative. Being a TV series, the producers aren’t limited by time and can develop the characters and plot as much as they want, and here they really do give us things to think about. Not only is Rhys Meyers one of the most outstanding actors of the last decade, he brings virtually every emotion to his Dracula. He is seductive, terrifying, arrogant and determined – everything you would want in a vampire. It certainly is a shame that show got cancelled and we won’t be getting a second season. A must see due to the sheer brilliance of its leading man.