Leslie Nielsen, Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995) There are worse vampire/horror parodies (Stan Helsing, Transylmania) but Mel Brooks’ stab at following Young Frankenstein two decades later with a take on Dracula is thin gruel. A nicely designed and costumed, scene-by-scene redo of Tod Browning’s Dracula with snarky dialogue (which effectively makes it a remake of Dracula Sucks), DDALI parodies the look of Coppola’s Dracula, with Leslie Nielsen’s Lugosi-accented vampire adopting an Oldman-style quiff, and Hammer Films, especially in Lysette Anthony’s bosomy reading of the Lucy role.
Nielsen, imported from the Naked Gun tradition of genre spoof that had eclipsed Brooks’ Blazing Saddles style, is less funny when camping things up than he is when playing straight (a failing of almost all of Nielsen’s comedy vehicles outside the Airplane/Naked Gun series). The director overindulges his own performance as a tiresomely daffy Germanic Van Helsing, while other talented players struggle without workable material. Aside from Anthony, the only player who really gets to strut any stuff is Peter MacNicol, copying his whiny Renfield laugh from Dwight Frye and hogging most of the film’s (few) passable jokes.
Releasing a film in 1995 with a title resurrecting a catch-phrase from Brooks’ 1960s sit-com Get Smart perhaps suggested that the comic genius had lost track of the audience somewhere. Co-scripted by Brooks, Rudy DeLuca and frequent BluRay commentator Steve Haberman. Former Dracula Charlie Callas (Hysterical) cameos as ‘Man in Strait Jacket’. With Steven Weber as Jonathan Harker, Amy Yasbeck as Mina, Harvey Korman as Dr Seward and Anne Bancroft as a gypsy woman. It’s no Love at First Bite.
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