A unique horror classic is now streaming free on YouTube
Dracula is one of history’s most famous and beloved books. Since Bram Stoker first released the legendary vampire story in 1897, the tale has mesmerized audiences and turned into numerous plays, movies, and TV shows. And now, a fantastic but criminally overlooked version of the tale is available for free on YouTube.
Count Dracula is an adaption of the classic tale made by the BBC based on a screenplay written by Gerald Savory, who is most known for his play George and Margaret. This screenplay aimed to be closer to the original book, and because of this, it is often considered the most accurate adaptation of the original story.
The film follows Jonathan Harker as he says goodbye to his fiancé and heads to Count Dracula’s castle in Transylvania to help him buy Carfax Abbey. Although warned to beware of the reclusive Count, he soon learns the Count’s true nature for himself, and when the vampire heads to England, Harker must act quickly to prevent the vampire’s sinister plan from coming to fruition. Unfortunately, this pulls his fiancé and her sister into the events, putting them all at risk.
Philip Saville directed the film, which stars Louis Jourdan as Dracula, Frank Finlay as Van Helsing, Bosco Hogan as Jonathan Harker, and Susan Penhaligon as Lucy. The film premiered on the UK television channel BBC 2 in December 1977. After this, it was rebroadcast in the UK three times, first in 1979 split into three episodes, and once more in 1993 broken into two episodes. The film premiered in America as part of PBS’s Great Performances anthology series, once again divided into three episodes.
The film was very well-reviewed, with British newspapers praising Jourdan’s performance, noting that he brings a seductive but threatening charisma to the role of Dracula. Film historian David J. Skal famously praised the film, calling it both the most accurate and successful adaptation of Stoker’s original text. The film’s production was also heavily praised as it uses many detailed and period-accurate costumes. It also uses video effects that, while dated to the modern eye, were cutting-edge at the time. It also marks an extraordinary milestone for Dracula productions as the first Dracula film to shoot the sections of the film set in Whitby on-location in Whitby, which is fitting as it was a stay in this seaside town that gave Stoker the inspiration for the novel.
However, despite this praise, the film wasn’t released commercially on home video until 2007, meaning that it is often overlooked or forgotten about by casual movie watchers and Dracula fans alike. Hopefully, this YouTube upload allows more people to appreciate this stunning film and the novel that inspired it. In addition, Count Dracula will make you realize how inaccurate many other film versions of Dracula actually are. If you want to watch the film, you can find it here.