“Dracula” needs more lifeBy DONALD PORTER
Mel Brooks’ new comedy “Dracula: Dead and Loving It” is one of those good news/bad news movies. While it may be better than “Robin Hood: Men in Tights” and “Spaceballs,” it doesn’t come close to “Blazing Saddles,” “Young Frankenstein” or “High Anxiety.”
Brooks’ tenure in Hollywood has been meteoric: It burned white hot, then plummeted.
“Dracula: Dead and Loving It” marks a partial return to old form for the once-master spoofer. He lampoons not only the movies that have been adaptations -- loose, and otherwise -- of the classic horror novel “Dracula,” but also the novel itself. In his own offbeat way, he remains as close or closer to the source material than many previous adaptations, including Francis Ford Coppola’s “Bram Stoker’s Dracula” and Tod Browning’s 1931 version of “Dracula” starring Bela Lugosi.
Leslie Nielsen (“The Naked Gun”) stars as Count Dracula, and Peter MacNichol plays his mad slave, Renfield. Together, they travel from Transylvania to London, where the count sets about gnawing on the necks of a pair of local women. Out to stop him are the uptight Harker (Steven Weber) and famed vampire hunter Dr. Van Helsing (Brooks).
The film is about equal parts funny and stupid. The best scene begins with this exchange between Harker and Van Helsing, upon entering the crypt where a vampire sleeps:
“She’s dead,” observes Harker.
“No,” counters Van Helsing.