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When The Cramps infiltrated 'Bram Stoker's Dracula'

Bram Stoker’s Dracula is the 1992 gothic horror offering from legendary director Francis Ford Coppola. The Godfather mastermind’s film is a bizarre, unnerving flick that is actually one of the closest to Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel to date. Since Stoker’s original release, the world has had countless Dracula-based books, TV shows and films. However, the Francis Ford Coppola adaptation endures out as one of the most memorable, even if it is polarising.

One of the film’s iconic features is the all-star cast. It stars Keanu Reeves, Winona Ryder, Anthony Hopkins, and Gary Oldman as the titular count. Coppola’s adaptation is spine-tingling at points and, due to its Ray Harryhausen-Esque animation, downright laughable at others. The scene where Oldman’s Dracula traverses the outside of castle walls like a chameleon is a standout moment of real hilarity.

Critics have also noted that the film is perhaps a little bit too preoccupied with aesthetics and themes of centuries of repressed passion rather than narrative devices. As the late Roger Ebert pointed out, “The one thing the movie lacks is headlong narrative energy and coherence. There is no story we can follow well enough to care about.” This is true to an extent. However, Coppola’s movie has a rewatchable quality, constantly throwing up new angles, scenes and lines that we missed heretofore—adding to its pulp.

One of these easter eggs is just incredible. The story goes that Francis Ford Coppola’s daughter, Sofia, suggested to her father that everyone’s favourite rock ‘n’ roll vampire, Lux Interior, the frontman of The Cramps, provide the otherworldy shriek that occurs as the opening credits roll. 

This is one of the most surprising revelations in film history. It was not Oldman who provided the primal, anguished scream but Lux Interior. 

The undeniable influence of The Cramps founder Lux Interior

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The harrowing scene at the film’s inception, after Dracula returns home from fighting the Turks to find that his wife has taken her life due to some trickery by his enemies is really quite something. He renounces his faith and God, and painfully turns into a vampire. The scene is hellish, and the scream sends a shiver down your spine and sets the sinister precedent for the rest of the film. 

Coppola told Interior before shooting: “Just remember, you’re back from the war, you’re horrified, but you still have feelings of romance.” When it came to recording the performance, the auteur instructed: “Now, the scream lasts one second. Okay, go!”

A haunting moment in cinema, it’s not surprising that Lux Interior delivered such an outstanding shriek. He did this for years when fronting The Cramps, making them one of the hottest live bands around – a true spectacle. 

Watch the opening of Bram Stoker’s Dracula below.