Dismemberment Expert George Lucas Saved 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'
Today marks the 30th anniversary of Bram Stoker’s Dracula, famously directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Keanu Reeves – the latter of which gave us what many point to as the most atrocious English accent in the history of cinema. Like, we all love Keanu, but this accent is an affront to human decency. Hopefully, Dick Van Dyke bought Keanu some sort of luxury car after taking all the heat off of his Mary Poppins performance.
Sure, Bram Stoker’s Dracula isn’t perfect, but it is a visually stunning movie; the opening sequence alone is a breathtaking work of filmmaking, undercut only slightly by Anthony Hopkins' also extremely goofy accent.
But it’s doubtful that the film would be quite as fondly remembered three decades later if it wasn’t for Coppola’s close friend, Jar Jar Binks’ daddy, George Lucas. Reportedly, the ending of the film was originally a mess, concluding with Dracula simply being “mortally wounded” by a “Bowie knife.” Apparently, it took the director of Star Wars to point out that … well, that’s clearly not how you kill vampires, guys. Not only is it pretty dull, according to the screenwriter James Hart, it literally contradicts the “rules of how to kill a vampire that we had established in the film.”
So the ending was reshot – only this time, Dracula isn’t just stabbed, Winona Ryder cuts his goddamn head off, seemingly allowing him to reunite with his late wife in heaven. And if friggin’ Count Dracula was cut a break in the afterlife, presumably, there’s hope for all of us.
Incidentally, Lucas may have taken his own advice while making Revenge of the Sith years later. The movie opens with the villainous Count Dooku, played by frequent Dracula actor Christopher Lee, getting his head cut off by Anakin Skywalker.
What can we say; the guy loves hacking off characters’ body parts almost as much as he loves the feel of denim and flannel against his skin.
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