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Dracula: Dead & Loving It (1995)
Rated PG13

Starring: Leslie Nielsen, Harvey Korman, and Mel Brooks

Rating:
*
out of
*****

In the 1970's, Mel Brooks was responsible for funny films like Blazing Saddles, Silent Movie and Young Frankenstein. They may not have been the greatest movies of that time period, but they made you laugh enough to overlook their obvious flaws. Lately, he's been dealing in low-brow "comedies" that do more to soil his reputation than anything else. Remember Robin Hood: Men in Tights? I thought not.

When Brooks took on the horror genre for the first time with Young Frankenstein, he was generally on the mark in terms of humor. That movie conjured a mood similar to that of the original Universal horror film and then distorted it with sly satire. Dracula: Dead and Loving It dives right into the distortion of the source material without taking the necessary time to set it up.

As this telling of the story goes, Dracula (Leslie Nielsen) invites Renfield (Peter MacNicol) to his castle in Transylvania to finalize the sale of an abbey in England. While Renfield is staying at Dracula's castle, he is hypnotized and made into Dracula's slave. Dracula then travels to England to live in his newly acquired real estate. To satisfy his thirst for blood, he introduces himself into the English social scene. His abbey is next door to an asylum run by the enema-obsessed Dr. Seward (Harvey Korman), his daughter, Mina (Amy Yasbeck) and a patient of his, Lucy (Lysette Anthony). As Dracula attempts to make Mina and Lucy his slaves, Seward enlists the help of Dr. Van Helsing (Mel Brooks) to find the vampire's identity.

For a comedy, this film is awfully short on laughs. The funniest things about the film are Peter MacNicol's Renfield and a gag involving a stake and Mina's lover, Harker (Steven Weber). If a comedy's funniest bits can be summed up in a single sentence, it doesn't bode well for someone looking for a source of laughter.

Since the movie seems to draw heavily on spoofing Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 Bram Stoker's Dracula, maybe I should have watched the two movies back to back to get some of the more subtle jokes, if there were any. Somehow, though, I doubt it because subtle seems to missing from Mel Brooks' comedic vocabulary.

Trivia: Steven Weber and Amy Yasbeck were both cast members of the NBC TV series, Wings. (Source: The Internet Movie Database)

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