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A gore noir from a member of the famous Coppola family, “Dracula’s Widow” fulfills eighties horror fans with a fix of bloody fangs.

Dracula's Widow

Count Dracula’s widow finds herself amongst the exhibits of Hollywood Wax Works and promises to bring the patrons of LA a bloody good time. Let’s dig into 1988’s DRACULA’S WIDOW, directed by Christopher Coppola!

As I See It

While Nic Cage was busy putting forth a meme-worthy performance in Vampire’s Kiss, his brothers Chris and Marc Coppola had a blood-sucking tale of their own to tell. The affinity for old-time Hollywood seems to be a genetic disposition.

Chris Coppola runs with a noir tone, especially with the narration, coupled with some prime eighties gore.

The performances are intentionally over the top, but the skill level of the cast saves it from feeling contrived. It’s beautifully shot with vivid color replacing natural lighting that evokes a moving picture version of Basil Gogos’ Famous Monsters covers.

The gore was executed by Todd Masters (Demon Knight, Tales from the Crypt the Series) and fit perfectly within the pages of Fangoria in that era, which featured an on-set behind-the-scenes article in issue 72 of the first run of the legendary magazine.

The only thing missing was a cameo appearance from Nic Cage.

Famous Faces

The Coppolas — Director Chris Coppola and actor Marc Coppola — are the brothers of the beloved Nic Cage. The whole extended family is in the industry and has made undeniable waves from Uncle Francis (a little film called The Godfather, etc., etc., etc.) to Aunt Talia Shire (Rocky series) to Cousin Sofia (Lost in Translation).

Marc has featured in many bit parts of his family’s films, and Chris decided to cut his own path and pursue projects of his own.

Josef Sommer (Lannon) hit a home run with his first film credit, featuring in Don Siegel’s Dirty Harry alongside Clint Eastwood as D.A. Rothko. He was also in Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind and hated quacking as Mr. Ducksworth in the Disney hockey hit The Mighty Ducks.

Lenny von Dohlen (Raymond) was the keeper of Laura Palmer’s diary, Harold Smith, in David Lynch’s Twin Peaks.

Of Gratuitous Nature

A topless woman on “the rack” a la Tower of London surely qualifies. Vanessa makes easy, bloody work of the blonde bombshell’s torturers.

Heartthrob

I need more Lenny von Dohlen. It’s a sin that he had not carved out a deeper trench as a dedicated character actor in his forty years in Hollywood. Tragically, von Dohlen passed away in 2022 after a long illness.

Ripe for a Remake

This is the exact type of time capsule I sought to uncover with this column. I don’t want to recreate this type of film. It’s great as it stands. Now, go watch it.

Spawns

No progeny to report, though it could be posited (read sarcasm) that Uncle Francis may have taken inspiration from his family’s dallying in vampiric endeavors when he took on directing duties in a little film called Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992.

Where to Watch

You can stream Dracula’s Widow on NBC’s Peacock, The Roku Channel, Shout TV, Plex, Amazon’s Freevee, and Tubi.

Overall Rating (Out of 5 Butterflies): 3.5


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