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• • • Being a journal by artist and designer John Coulthart, cataloguing interests, obsessions and passing enthusiasms.


The South Bank Show: Dracula


While illustrating Dracula earlier this year I was listening to Wojciech Kilar’s soundtrack to Francis Coppola’s Dracula to sustain the vampiric mood. I also watched Coppola’s film again, it’s an adaptation I enjoy a great deal despite its flaws. (This post detailed some of the plus points.) The South Bank Show‘s programme devoted to Dracula on page and screen was broadcast in early 1993, timed for the opening of Coppola’s film in the UK. I watched this when it was first shown, and remembered it being a good one but neglected to go searching for it back in January. I also remembered it being more about Coppola’s film than it is, although there’s still enough to make it a substantial promo piece.


The territory here may be familiar but the evolution of Stoker’s novel is contextualised by some expert commentators—Leonard Wolf, Elaine Showalter (with a copy of Bram Dijkstra’s Idols of Perversity at her side) and Christopher Frayling—while discussion of the film adaptations includes Christopher Lee, Francis Coppola, James V. Hart (the screenwriter of Coppola’s film), Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and others. Among the film clips there are several scenes from Count Dracula, Gerald Savory’s 1977 adaptation for the BBC. This is surprising since The South Bank Show was screened by the BBC’s rival, ITV. But Savory’s Count Dracula is still the most faithful screen adaptation that I’ve seen (and possibly the most faithful to date) so it’s a worthwhile choice, and one whose naturalism makes a sober contrast to Coppola’s Sturm und Drang.

Previously on { feuilleton }
Illustrating Dracula
Illustrating Frankenstein
Dracula and I by Christopher Lee
The Dracula Annual
Nightmare: The Birth of Horror
Albin Grau’s Nosferatu
Count Dracula
Symbolist cinema



Posted in {books}, {film}, {horror}, {music}, {television}.

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One comment or trackbacks

  1. #1 posted by J.H.


    I picked up a cheap second hand DVD of Coppola’s film a while ago in order to revisit the film. Unfortunately I couldn’t get past the scene where Keanu Reeves is being seduced by the sassy female vampires, as I was half expecting him to blurt out “Sixty-nine, dudes!”.

    Fun fact: the late, great Lux Interior of The Cramps loaned his marvellous vocal talents for the film. According to him: “We did go to his (Francis Coppola) house and recorded me screaming, sobbing and sighing for three hours. But I don’t think all the screams are me.” (Dick Porter: Journey To The Centre Of The Cramps, page 230)






“feed your head”