Feeling of tension and climax

In “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave”, The costumes are relatively simple and straightforward. They all show that the film was probably set in about the 16th century. This is made obvious by the fact that no one wore any man-made fibres at all (e.g. nylon), there was no sense of fashion or “in” clothes, they were just cotton or wool garments that were done up with lace. This sense of dress with no fancy decorations or stitching of any kind shows us that they were poor peasants who did not spend money on clothes, but made their own ones instead.

The Priest’s costumes were black, with a dog collar, showing that they are men of the church. (The High Priest wears a slightly more elaborate robe with red stitching to show his position and authority). The mute wears a beige cotton top with brown wool/cotton trousers. The villagers wear clothes similair to the mute’s but their clothes are assorted in colour. Dracula himself wears a black suit with a bow tie and red waistcoat. His eyes are bloodshot and his hair slicked back. He would wear this to stand out from all the other peasants who wear lower class dress.

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However, in “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, the costumes are far more elaborate. The film is set in London in the 19th century, so we know from the start that the clothes will be fairly smart and well done up. Man-made fibres had still not been invented, but there was a sense of fashion because London was then a modern city which follows western culture and people were aware of what they wore and how it stood out. You see the Women wearing corsets and bustles, a style that was followed in the Victorian era to make women look more shapely and beautiful. Clothes were more decorated then and stand out a lot more. More styles of clothing have been invented such as the bustle and all types of strange looking hats! Hairstyles were also fashionable at that time.

In the film, Harker wears a brown suit, a white shirt and spit-polished brown shoes! Mina wears a light blue dress with a corset and bustle. Harker’s Manager wears a black suit with a white shirt and a black bow tie (at this time, men wearing suits with ties and women wearing dresses with corsets etc. showed just how well off they were). Count Dracula wears a red, flowing cloak, which drags a very long way behind him. This type of clothing is only seen at the coronation of a monarch.

This might be telling us, the audience he is a man in a brilliant position like a Baron. (I know that he’s a Count, I was giving an example!). I happened to notice that Dracula’s fingernails are very long. In the Chinese aristocracy, this is a sign of immense wealth and power, which might relate to his background. The same reason could also be used for his hair, as it is drawn up and curled into all sorts of weird and wonderful positions.

In the first scene with him appearing, it is shaped into two buns, one on each side of his head. This makes it look like a heart, which I thought, might be of some significance regarding the hearts relativity to blood and Dracula’s connections with blood as well. Dracula’s skin and flesh is very white and he is developing cataracts, which means that he does not venture into daylight very often, if not at all. After all, the legend has it that vampires cannot step into daylight or they will perish instantly.

In “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave”, the range of shots used is very limited. Most are Mid or Close Shots. This would be because Mid and Close shots are used to view someone’s facial expression and what sort of emotion they are dealing with. Mid and Close shots are only used for this because the scene would already have been set and the audience would know what the set is anyway. Only in exceptional circumstances are these ranges of shots broadened. For example, an extreme close up of Dracula’s bloodshot is used to strike fear into the audience and unnerve them a little. Dracula’s eyes are bloodshot because of his excessive blood drinking habits. Also, Long shots are only used about four times in the opening 15 minutes, which tells us that the scenery changes very little.

In “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, the shot changes are very quick in the introduction because it is a tense and jumpy part of the film. The director wants to unsettle the audience as much as he can for the first few minutes to really grasp their full attention and to never let them forget that part of the film. Perhaps he even wanted the film to be nominated for the “Best Introduction” award at the Oscars! The pace of the shots is very quick for the introduction. One of the quickest is the battle scene, which lasts for about eight seconds, if that! This is because the director does not want the audience lingering on the bloody side of Dracula, as most films do. He wants to bring out the human side of Dracula, which the audience sees later in the scene with Elisabeta ‘s suicide.

The sound effects in the two are in fact, more or less the same, although the same non-diegetic orchestra sound which is of the same style, probably of the romantic era, because of its selection of instruments. Both of the orchestras have a heavy, repeated bass line, which usually leads to something bad happening. “Dracula Has Risen From the Grave” boasts a wide variety of sound effects. It has ambient sounds of the birdsong and the sound of the bicycle’s chain whirring, the clucking of the chickens and also the crack of thunder and the howling of the wind to give a realistic feel. It has the non-diegetic sound of a full orchestra complete with a heavy cello bass line, to give the general feeling of dread. It also has the Dialogue of the High Priest telling the audience of his story, to set the scene.

“Bram Stoker’s Dracula” also has the same basic array of sounds. It has ambient sounds of the train, the pack of wolves, flames and the clashing of swords in the battle scene. This is to make the audience feel as though they are right in the middle of the action. If this was played through a “surround sound” system it would sound dramatically real. It has the same dischordent orchestra with a heavy bass line and booming timpani (kettle drums) to give off a feeling of tension and climax.

It also has the Dialogue from the Narrator in the Introduction telling the story of all that had led to this point, which sets the scene wonderfully well. To bring my analysis to a close I would like to say that both of these films were excellently made. But one of them does, for me, have the edge. “Bram Stoker’s Dracula”, I thought was quite simply astonishing. The collection of different styles and cultures into the excellent finished production. For the first 15 minutes, I think that’s very good!