Dracula (1973)

Written by Richard Matheson and directed by Dan Curtis, this would be the second collaboration between Curtis and Jack Palance after 1968’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.

This movie has a big impact on Dracula lore: Francis Ford Coppola’s version seems to take two cues from this film, which had never appeared in any other version of Stoker’s story: Dracula is Vlad the Impaler and that he is convinced that Mina is the reincarnation of his dead wife.

Also — Gene Colan based his Dracula in the comic book Tomb of Dracula on Palance years before this movie was made.

Palance is an incredibly convincing Dracula. He battles a Van Helsing played by Nigel Davenport, who is also in the oddball 70’s insect film Phase IV.

Playing Lucy — and Dracula’s dead wife Maria — is Fiona Lewis, whose genre credits are plentiful, from The Fearless Vampire KillersDr. Phibes Rises Again and Tintorera to The FuryStrange Behavior/Dead KidsStrange Invaders and Innerspace.

Mina is played by Penelope Horner and one of the vampire brides is played by Sarah Douglas, Ursa from the Superman movies, Queen Taramis in Conan the Destroyer, Lyranna in the second Beastmaster movie and Elsa Toulon in the third Puppet Master movie. Man — this is full of people with full-on horror pedigrees!

Don’t believe me? Dracula’s other brides are played by Hammer actress Virginia Wetherell (Dr. Jekyll and Sister Hyde, Demons of the Mind) and Barbara Lindley, who appeared in Benny Hill and Monty Python sketches.

As for inventing that Dracula looking for his reincarnated wife plot, Curtis merely laughed and said that he was stealing from himself. Indeed, Dark Shadows and its vampire folklore informs this movie quite a bit.

You can watch this on Tubi.

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