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Plot: busload of tourists is forced to stay overnight in a creepy castle.

Compared to the rest of Europe, Belgium has always been something of a silent force within the cinematic landscape of cult and exploitation. Often overlooked and forgotten in favor of other countries in the Old World that had a more established reputation in the industry of cinema. That isn’t to say that Belgium hasn’t contributed in its own way. The country famously hosts the Flanders International Film Festival Ghent and the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy Film (BIFFF) as well as co-producing the annual traveling extravaganza The Night Of Bad Taste terrorizing cinemas and cultural complexes all around Belgium and the Netherlands. Having never established a cinematic industry quite in the same way the neighboring France, the Netherlands, Germany, Spain and Italy did for many years the country’s contributions to the cinematic arts were minimal but not insignificant. Belgian filmmakers concerned themselves mostly with culturally important bigger and smaller literary adaptations, rural dramas, prestigious biopics, the occassional action-thriller and comedies (sports and otherwise) there’s plenty to like in Belgian cinema.

Flanders has brought forth a number of important directors, most prominent among them Marc Didden, Robbe De Hert and Stijn Coninx. Didden revolutioned the Belgian cinematic landscape with the gritty drama Brussels by Night (1983), De Hert is mostly remembered for his Ernest Claes adaptation Whitey (1980) whereas Coninx reigned supreme in the eighties and nineties with the Urbanus comedies Hector (1987) and Koko Flanel (1990) as well as the Louis Paul Boon adaptation Daens (1992). Dominique Deruddere became an overnight sensation with the drama Everybody Famous! (2000). Jan Verheyen, a cult/exploitation cinema aficionado and co-organiser of The Night Of Bad Taste, helmed a string of dramas and thrillers with the likes of Team Spirit (2000), Alias (2002) and Dossier K. (2009). Erik Van Looy briefly became a Hollywood hopeful thanks to The Alzheimer Case (2003) (released internationally as The Memory Of A Killer) and Loft (2008).

Felix Van Groeningen established himself with the dramas The Misfortunates (2009) and The Broken Circle Breakdown (2012). In the French part of the country Jaco Van Dormael helmed the drama Toto the Hero (1991) and a student-film-turned-feature Man Bites Dog (1992) from Rémy Belvaux became an international cult favorite shooting Benoît Poelvoorde to superstardom. At the dawn of the new millennium Walloon filmmaker Fabrice du Welz quickly amassed a modest but respectable resumé including, among others, Calvaire (2004) and Vinyan (2008). The oeuvre of Jean-Pierre and Luc Dardenne, darlings of critics and audience alike, are internationally renowned for a reason. The same rings true for the beloved animated feature The Triplets of Belleville (2003) from Sylvain Chomet. These titles and directors you might have actually heard of or read about, but Belgium has a something of a miniscule but not unimportant history in fringe horror cinema too.

Unlike France, Germany, Spain and Italy, Belgium was never able to spin a cottage industry from whatever trends or movements happened in European cinema. Neither does the country have, or ever had, a grand tradition in horror or genre cinema - a few notable exceptions notwithstanding. In the early seventies documentary maker Harry Kümel helmed the haunted house movie Malpertuis (1971) as well as the erotic vampire fantastique Daughters Of Darkness (1971). Belgium helped co-produce Jess Franco’s Female Vampire (1973), a valentine to Lina Romay. By the mid-to-late 1980 and early 1990s Kortrijk-based writer/producer/director Johan Vandewoestijne (as James Desert) singlehandedly put the country on the map with deranged shlock as Rabid Grannies (1988) and State of Mind (1994) (co-produced by that other The Night Of Bad Taste co-organiser, Jan Doense). After a long break Vandewoestijne returned to writing/directing in 2014 and has been unstoppable since. The most famous Belgian co-production, of course, is the ill-fated Dutch slasher disasterpiece Intensive Care (1991), a horror exercise so inept that not even a briefly topless Nada van Nie could save it. In more years Jonas Govaerts delivered the excellent Cub (2014) and Julia Ducournau debuted with the coming-of-age horror allegory Grave (2016).

1971 was a banner year for the European fantastique and vampire movie. That year offerings as diverse as Hammer’s Lust For A Vampire (1971) and Twins Of Evil (1971), Jess Franco’s Vampyros Lesbos (1971), that other famous Belgian co-production Daughters Of Darkness (1971), The Werewolf Versus the Vampire Woman (1971), and Girl Slaves Of Morgana LeFay (1971) were released in cineplexes. This offered motivation enough for producers Pierre-Claude Garnier and Zeljko Kunkera to put together their own gothic horror revival production. Chosen to direct was Jean Brismée, a mathematician by trade, who worked as an instructor at the prestigious INSAS (Institut National Supérieur des Arts du Spectacle et des techniques de diffusion) in Brussels. Brismée was a specialist in short features and contemporary art documentaries. The screenplay for The Devil’s Nightmare was written by Patrice Rhomm and Brismée based on an original treatment by producer Garnier (as Charles Lecocq). For location shooting Garnier was able to secure the Chateau d'Antoing in Hainault, Belgium and a cast consisting of local talent (Jean Servais, Lucien Raimbourg, Daniel Emilfork, Jacques Monseau) with international name stars as Erika Blanc, Lorenzo Terzon, Shirley Corrigan and Ivana Novak and Alessandro Alessandroni providing the score. The Devil’s Nightmare (released back at home in Belgium as La plus longue nuit du diable or The Devil's Longest Night) was Corrigan’s big-screen debut after a number of decorative roles and she wasn’t informed of the snake scene until her arrival in Belgium. Whereas much of the talent on the production was Italian, The Devil’s Nightmare is a decidedly Belgian affair.

Berlin, 1945. Somewhere in Germany a Nazi general is witness to the passing of his wife during childbirth. The general is informed that long-desired kin is a girl, forcing him to do the unthinkable. He takes the freshly-born infant girl somewhere out of sight and stabs her with his bayonet. A quarter of a century passes and a group of seven tourists traveling in their single-deck 1952 Opel Blitz bus are forced to make an overnight stop in the environs of the Black Forest in southwest Germany. The road to their intended destination appears to be blocked and night is swiftly descending. The group – driver Mr. Ducha (Christian Maillet), cranky senior citizen Mason (Lucien Raimbourg), bickering married couple Howard and Nancy Foster (Lorenzo Terzon and Colette Emmanuelle), libertine adolescent minxes Regine (Shirley Corrigan), the ditzy go-go boot wearing platinum blonde and her firm-bosomed brunette friend Corinne (Ivana Novak) as well as seminarist Father Alvin Sorel (Jacques Monseau, as Jacques Monseu) – is lucky to happen into a strange looking local farmer who points them to the nearby castle Von Rhoneberg. Seeing no other option they head to the castle to seek lodging for the night.

At château Von Rhoneberg they are welcomed by butler Hans (Maurice De Groote, as Maurice Degroot) and the housekeeper (Frédérique Hender) who tell them they were expecting them. The butler escorts every guest to their respective room informing them of the sordid history of murder and death that comes with each. A few hours later they are invited to join the Baron (Jean Servais) at a bacchanalian banquet where he details the curse that has been looming over his bloodline for several decades. At the very last minute a mysterious eighth guest arrives in the form of Lisa Müller (Erika Blanc) who, despite protests from the housekeeper, manages to talk her way into the château. In no time Lisa worms her way into the hearts of each guest by indulging their every desire. Ducha is treated to more food than he’ll ever be able to consume. Regine treats herself to a warm, foamy bath before Corinne comes on to her strongly and the two soon find themselves in the throes of sapphic passion. Corinne has caught the eye of frustrated middle-aged Howard and before long they are in a tryst too. Nancy is informed about the alleged buried treasure in the vault, quenching her thirst for riches. As convention would dictate the Baron engages in alchemic - and occult experiments deep in the bowels of the château. What nobody seems to notice is that wherever Lisa goes death inevitably follows. As the guests one by one fall victim to Lisa’s considerable charms only the righteous and celibate Father Alvin Sorel can repel and cast out the unholy forces of evil at work in the château. Which only leaves the question: is Sorel’s faith strong enough to stop Lisa the succubus and Satan (Daniel Emilfork), her master?

What has given The Devil’s Nightmare its longevity is not only Erika Blanc’s fantastic performance but the screenplay's 7 deadly sins motif. Each of the seven visitors is given a creative death scene directly related to the sin they represent. While the premise is deceptively simple and the castle locations as brooding and atmospheric as any gothic horror worth its stripe is ought to be, the real star of The Devil’s Nightmare is Erika Blanc. What a difference a little black lipstick, nail polish and some minimal old-age make-up makes. Blanc does more with minimal make-up and a revealing evening dress than others do with every tool at their disposal. Blanc was a fixture in spaghetti westerns, Eurospy, commedia sexy all’Italiana and gothic horror whose claim to fame was that portrayed Emmanuelle in I, Emanuelle (1969) half a decade before Sylvia Kristel, Laura Gemser, Chai Lee and Dik Boh-Laai. While perhaps not nearly as famous as some of her contemporaries Blanc had that same regal demeanour as Helga Liné, Luciana Paluzzi, Dagmar Lassander and Silvia Tortosa. Among her most memorable appearances are her turns in Kill, Baby, Kill (1966), Spies Kill Silently (1966), So Sweet… So Perverse (1969), The Red Headed Corpse (1971), and The Night Evelyn Came Out Of the Grave (1971). As soon as Lisa Müller takes on her deadly succubus form, she transforms from an alluring ginger seductress into an ashen, decrepit looking killer. Blanc sells it with some great facial contortions and silent cinema body language. Had The Devil’s Nightmare been made a decade later it would have probably starred Cinzia Monreale instead.

Almost all of the gothic horror plotpoints are accounted as there’s a dreaded family curse, buried treasure, mad science and conveniently blocked roads. The only thing amiss are rubber bats on strings, an ominous portrait of a deceased ancestor and a hidden monster. Testament to its efficiency is that Johan Vandewoestijne would recycle pretty much the main plot in its entirety for his Rabid Grannies (1988) set in a castle in Kortrijk. The Devil’s Nightmare never quite reaches Italian levels of surrealism nor is it as erotic as a Spanish or French productions of the day. It might not have commanded the sort of budget that the prime Italian gothic horrors of the decade prior did but that doesn’t stop The Devil’s Nightmare from transcending its budgetary limitations frequently. While Shirley Corrigan and Ivana Novak steam up the few scenes they’re in, it is Erika Blanc who truly is the pulsating black heart of the feature. There never was a tradition in gothic horror in Belgium making The Devil’s Nightmare and Daughters Of Darkness (1971) pretty much the only titles able to measure themselves with the finest that Mediterranean cult – and exploitation cinema of the day had to offer. If there’s anywhere to start exploring Belgian horror cinema The Devil’s Nightmare is a good starting point.

Plot: Wallachian warlord Vlad Tepes vows to find his love Elisabeta again.

Informed by three decades worth of Spanish, and Latin American gothic horror tradition and bursting at the seams with all the expectant excesses Bram Stoker’s Dracula (Dracula hereafter) is Italian gothic horror kitsch on a Hollywood mega-budget with all the attendant bells and whistles. Announced by Francis Ford Coppola as the most faithful adaptation of the old folktale Dracula was going to be a monumental genre piece no matter how it turned out. Not only was Dracula custodian to some of the hottest young stars of the day, some old veterans and awe-inspiring special effects; it grossed an impressive $215 million ($82 million domestically plus $133 million internationally) on a $40 million budget. Dracula introduced the world to, among other things, Coppola’s love for Italian gothic pulp, Keanu Reeves’ shaky English accent and Monica Belucci’s milky-white breasts.

While the nineties were a barren wasteland to many subgenres in horror the vampire movie thrived, above and below the mainstream. The decade saw the release of the high-profile Ann Rice adaptation Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) as well as Robert Rodriguez’ genre-hybrid From Dusk Till Dawn (1996). Joss Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer (1992) took a more comedic approach while smaller productions as Cronos (1993) from Guillermo Del Toro and The Addiction (1995) from Abel Ferrara put interesting new twists on the age-old lore. The old vampire conventions were lampshaded in parodies as Wes Craven’s Vampire in Brooklyn (1995) and Mel Brooks’ Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995). Vampirella (1996) just as much as Blade (1998) missed the impending DC Comics and Marvel superhero craze (one that hasn’t subsided since) by just a few years and have been largely forgotten. Roger Corman stood at the cradle of said decade’s gothic horror revival with Frankenstein Unbound (1990). However it was Dracula - Francis Ford Coppola’s big-budget, mostly faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s classic 1897 novel – that ushered in the vampire horror revival in 1992. While horror is it’s genre of choice Dracula really wants to be a sprawling, timeless romance instead….

Francis Ford Coppola needs no introduction. He got his start with Roger Corman and in the seventies left his indelible mark on worldwide cinema with the likes of Patton (1970), The Godfather (1972) and The Great Gatsby (1974). Coppola commandeered budgets and possessed industry clout like no other. His Vietnam epic Apocalypse Now (1979) – plagued by disaster and well-documented production woes - and the box office bomb One from the Heart (1981) changed all that. Coppola was bankrupt and forced to sell his American Zoetrope Studio in 1983. He would spent the next decade working on smaller projects to pay off the debts. The ill-fated The Godfather Part III (1990) had been lucrative enough but he was in dire need of a bankable property to re-establish himself as a reliable director in the face of the Hollywood bigwigs. What better way to do that than to re-imagine the classic tale of Romanian folk hero Dracula as a gothic romance the way only an Italian could? Dracula was the scion of the vampire horror films from Renato Polselli and Luigi Batzella as well as the atmospheric potboilers from Spanish directors as Amando de Ossorio, León Klimovsky, and Paul Naschy. Coppola delivers a sumptuous designed, blood-drenched gothic horror tour de force redolent of the best vampire films of the sixties and seventies. Dracula overflows with all the pomp, decolettage and religious hysteria you’d expect from an Italian-American director. Apparently quite a few people were surprised that a respectable filmmaker as Francis Ford Coppola would lower himself to a big budget iteration of a classic bloodsoaked Meditterranean / Filipino vampire movie. Lest we forget, Coppola debuted with the Corman produced proto-slasher Dementia 13 (1963) almost thirty years earlier.

The Universal Horrors of the thirties had inspired Hammer Film Productions from Great Britain to update them for the fifties and sixties. Hammer Film in turn led to a veritable gothic horror cotton industry in Mediterranean Europe and Latin/South America with the Italian, Spanish, Méxican, Filipino, and Argentine producing a spate of imitations for the local – and international market and even spawning a few sub-classics in the process. With the dawning of the eighties the gothic horror went all but extinct as the American slasher horror craze (which truly was pioneered in Germany and Italy some two decades prior with the parallell genres of the krimi and the giallo, respectively) and gritty action came to dominate the multiplexes. The following decade saw the genre turned into a pariah of sorts as horror turned into thrillers and scares were replaced by self-reflective witticisms and slapstick – or situational humor. In that hostile environment Dracula – the convergence of several decades worth of international vampire lore – was released. The last hurrah of the big-budget American gothic came with enough blood, breasts, and religious iconography to satiate even the most ravenous fans of Latin/South American - and European horror. At times Dracula almost deigns to collapse under the weight of its own pompousness. Never before, or since, has Hollywood embraced the exploitation film ethos so unabashedly.

1462. Constantinople has fallen. Voivode of Wallachia Vlad Drăculea (Gary Oldman), member of the Order Of the Dragon, returns home victorious from the Night Attack at Târgovişte. He discovers that his love Elisabeta (Winona Ryder) has flung herself into the chasm after receiving a false writ from the forces of Sultan Mehmed II of the Ottoman Empire that he died in battle. The head priest (Anthony Hopkins) informs Drăculea that Elisabeta has eternally condemned her immortal soul by committing suicide. Enraged, the Kaziklu Bey desecrates the chapel, renounces his faith in God and declares that he will avenge the death of his beloved. Drăculea drinks the blood from the desecrated chapel’s stone cross and becomes a vampire. Four centuries later, in 1897, in late Victorian Age London, newly-qualified solicitor Jonathan Harker (Keanu Reeves) is given an important assignment by his chief employer Mr. Hawkins (Jay Robinson). Harker is to travel to the land beyond the great vast forest, Transylvania, to attend to matters relating a number of real-estate acquisitions that his colleague R. M. Renfield (Tom Waits) – now rendered a babbling, bug-eating madman sequestered away within the walls of Carfax Asylum for the Insane - was unable to finalize before succumbing to insanity.

After an arduous journey by train through the grim mountains and haunted forests on the borders of Hungary, Moldavia and Bukovina Jonathan is picked up by an armor-bound spectral coachman who brings him to the imposing castle of eccentric and decrepit nobleman Count Drăculea (Gary Oldman) in Carpathia. Having per chance glanced at a photograph of Harker’s fiancée Wilhelmina Murray (Winona Ryder), who he believes to be a reincarnation of his Elisabeta, the Count insists Harker stay with him for a month to finalize the necessary administration for his estate acquisitions in England. Soon enough Jonathan realizes that he is in fact the Count’s prisoner and sees no other option but to indulge the Count’s requests to preserve his own hide. One night he is seduced and nearly ravaged by the Three Sisters (Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu, and Florina Kendrick), the Brides Of Dracula, but manages to escape within an inch of his life. Partially exsanguinated by the Brides, Jonathan is able drag himself to a convent in Budapest where the nuns in Christian charity nurse him back to health.

Meanwhile in London Mina has been staying with her debutante friend and lady-in-waiting Lucy Westenra (Sadie Frost) over at the Hillingham estate in Whitby. While Harker is on assignment in Transylvania Mina makes her acquaintance with a suave young East-European prince (Gary Oldman) who insists that they have met before. Mina eventually falls for the prince’s considerable charms and two engage in a passionate illicit affair. While Mina does not recall her past life as Elisabeta, her blood does. At a high society ball Lucy is courted by three different men: the Texan Quincey P. Morris (Billy Campbell, as Bill Campbell), the clumsy but highly intelligent proprietor of Carfax Asylum Dr. Jack Seward (Richard E. Grant), and Sir Arthur Holmwood, Esq. (Cary Elwes). That night Lucy is bitten by a wolfen creature and falls into an inexplicable maladie that Seward finds impossible to diagnose. In his desperation he summons his aging mentor Professor Abraham Van Helsing (Anthony Hopkins). Mina, having finally heard from her ailing Jonathan, travels to the distant Romania to marry her betrothed. Enflamed Drăculea transforms Lucy into one of his undead minions necessitating Van Helsing and her three former suitors to stake, behead, and incinerate her remains.

Harker, now rapidly aged and despondent from his Transylvanian ordeal, along with Van Helsing and the three men agree to hunt Drăculea down. As Mina becomes increasingly corrupted by the Count’s evil the men learn that the fiend is traveling back to ancient Romania. The hunting party travels in haste to Varna, Bulgaria where the Count reads Mina’s mind and manages to evade them. The party splits up in Galatz, Romania with Mina and Van Helsing traveling to the Count’s castle near the Borgo Pass. Once more does the party face the Three Sisters but it is Jonathan who mortally wounds Drăculea in the fracas by slitting his throat. In the same chapel where he renounced his faith centuries ago Mina confesses her eternal love for the Count. As the Count regains his faith Mina lifts his curse of immortality and bloodlust by driving a stake through his heart and beheading him. At long last the Count is reunited with his beloved Elisabeta as a fresco depicts their two souls ascending to the Heavens.

What a cast was Francis Ford Coppola able to assemble for his first (and, so far, only) foray into horror since the early sixties. Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, Keanu Reeves, Richard E. Grant, Cary Elwes, Billy Campbell, Sadie Frost, Monica Belucci, Tom Waits, and… Tina Cote? Okay, so maybe Tina Cote wasn’t exactly a star at any point and her role was merely that of an uncredited extra but there are far worse places to start. Cote regrettably would end up making a living in Albert Pyun productions which was a hell not unlike the crazy, mixed up worlds of Andy Sidaris, Rene Perez, or… god forbid, the Neils, Johnson and Breen. Reeves’ star was on the rise after Dangerous Liaisons (1988), Bill & Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989), Bill & Ted's Bogus Journey (1991), Point Break (1991) and My Own Private Idaho (1991). Ryder had a few classics to her name in the form of Beetlejuice (1988), the teen comedy Heathers (1988), the Jerry Lee Lewis biopic Great Balls of Fire! (1989), Edward Scissorhands (1990) and Mermaids (1990).

In 1991 Gary Oldman even made the pulse of redblooded hetero men race whereas Anthony Hopkins evinced that even a respectable serious actor can appreciate some old-fashioned pulp. Ginger seductress Sadie Frost had appeared in music videos from Spandau Ballet and Simply Red in the early-to-mid eighties and Dracula was her first big Hollywood role. And then there’s marvelous Monica Belucci. Coppola clearly considered himself an American first and an Italian second as in a post-Miranda (1985), Eleven Days, Eleven Nights (1987), Top Model (1988) and Paprika (1991) world perhaps Serena Grandi, Luciana Ottaviani, Pamela Prati and Debora Caprioglio would have been more logical choices in the wordless, mostly clothing-free, parts as the sensuous Brides. Arguably la Monica was chosen for her acting chops rather than her delectable figure. Belucci was an up-and-coming star, no doubt, and - like Stefania Sandrelli, Donatella Damiani and Claudia Koll before and Maria Grazia Cucinotta after - she too oozes sex from her every pore.

If anything, Dracula is a love letter to primitivism as Coppola staunchly insisted on the usage of in-camera practical effects. Dracula leaned heavily on foamlatex appliances that were revolutionizing monster make-up at that time, and some old-fashioned visual trickery and movie magic (miniature models, forced perspective, stationary matting, conventional animation, et al) to realize his grand vision. Costume designer Eiko Ishioka was ordered to make the wardrobe Oriental which she, understandably, interpreted as meaning East Asian and not Byzantine. Where else are you going to see an ancient, pallid, parchment-skinned Dracula in a red silk kimono with a train as long as any bridal dress and a hairstyle resembling that of an Edo courtesan complete with two-feet Manchu pigtail? Where else are you going to see castle Dracula in the shape of a man sitting on a throne and the man himself desecrating a lascivious, partially disrobed, maiden in wolven form with all the lust and vigor out of a Paul Naschy El Hombre Lobo episode?

Mina and Lucy are giggly ditzes that secretly read erotic literature and their experiments with lesbianism recall the best of Jean Rollin. The Brides are dressed in veils closer to the Arabian Nights or a peplum than anything else. Where rapid aging is nothing but a scant few hairs strategically painted grey (if it worked for Jess Franco, it’s good enough for Coppola). Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula is – in tradition of Naschy’s Count Dracula’s Great Love (1973) and The Devil’s Wedding Night (1973) - both the villain and the romanic hero. For someone as avowedly Catholic as Coppola Dracula is rife with blasphemy and heresy – or at least as much as Hollywood would allow. It might not be Don't Deliver Us From Evil (1971) or Alucarda (1977) but it damn well pushes the envelope as far as it can. The ominous and lovingly creaky score from Wojciech Kilar – he of the Polish fantasy horror Lokis, the Manuscript of Professor Wittembach (1970) - is just as pompous as it is portentous. Blood flows freely, beheadings are many and often the baring of boobs is left to supporting players. This is Hollywood, after all. Frost and Belucci take off their tops and Ryder staunchly remains in hers.

The central love triangle and gothic romance is, while true to the source novel, something straight out of The Vampire and the Ballerina (1960), The Playgirls and the Vampire (1960) and The Slaughter Of the Vampires (1962). Dracula is Fangs Of the Living Dead (1969) or The Dracula Saga (1973) on a mega-million budget. It’s everything that The Living Corpse (1962) wished and wanted to be. As a genre piece Dracula is far closer to lovable Mexican kitsch as Blood Of the Vampires (1966) than it is to Argentinian sleaze as Blood Of the Virgins (1967) – and that tells you everything you really need to know. Considering that this was written by James V. Hart, or he of Hook (1991) and the cheerleader comedy Gimme an 'F' (1984), this could have been worse. At any rate, this would have been a perfect storm and creative opportunity to drag once-and-future queen of Italian exploitation cinema Edwige Fenech out of retirement for a prominent guestrole or extended cameo. Instead it would take another decade and a non-Italian director (the Mexican Robert Rodriguez) to do such with Hostel II (2002). Dracula is tribute to Francis Ford Coppola’s early days in exploitation. In retrospect it’s unfortunate that Coppola never got the chance to reimagine his Dementia 13 (1963) on a massive budget as a tribute to the Italian giallo. Dracula did not usher in a new era of gothic horror but proved that it was well and truly dead. If anything it offered ample evidence that unlike the ravening undead the expiration date of the subgenre was reached – and that the coffin was firmly nailed shut.