The 10 Strangest Draculas in Pop Culture [VIDEOS]
Few monsters have appeared more on TV and film than Dracula. The character, who first appeared in Bram Stoker's novel way back in 1897, has long lapsed into the public domain. Thus, pretty much anyone can do whatever they want with The Count.
Dracula’s most iconic portrayals came from legendary film actors like Max Shrek, Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee. However, being public domain has allowed for some interpretations that are a little bit strange. Not always bad, mind you, just odd. If you’re a true fan of the Dracula mythos, you should know about the 10 strangest Draculas in pop culture.
Originally a bit character on the British animated series 'Dangermouse,' Count Duckula proved popular enough to get his own show. Fitting, since Duckula was interested in becoming famous rather than sucking blood. (He also preferred broccoli to blood.) While strange, 'Count Duckula' was still a fun show. And British. Very, very British.
Bela Lugosi immortalized the role of Dracula in 1931, but Universal never used him in any of the sequels until the 1948 film ‘Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein’. While not a bad film, it’s still jarring to see Lugosi's Dracula play the straight man to Abbott and Costello's wacky hijinks. The result is like seeing your favorite band reduced to birthday party gigs.
Before '300' turned him into an action movie star, Gerard Butler camped it up in the starring role of 'Dracula 2000,' a sequel set in the modern day world of clunky cell phones and dial-up internet. (Back in the late '90s, anything with "2000" in the title sounded cool.) Also, Lucy was played by Vitamin C of 'Graduation Song (Friends for Forever)' fame. It's safe to say this Dracula is more than a little dated.
Nonsensical crossovers were alive and well before 'Cowboys & Aliens,' but this one stands apart in terms of sheer nuttiness. John Carradine, a long way from 'The Grapes of Wrath,' plays the titular vampire who faces off against a squeaky-clean Billy the Kid. While this Dracula may be impervious to bullets, a well-placed gun tossed to the head is enough to take him down. Even weirder, the B-movie classic was released as a double feature with its even awkwarder cousin 'Jesse James Meets Frankenstein'. Where's the 'Mystery Science Theater 3000' gang when you need them?
Riding high off of the brilliant 'Robin Hood: Men in Tights,' famed comedy director Mel Brooks targeted Dracula for parody next. Be warned -- 'Young Frankenstein' this movie is not. Leslie Nielsen, who plays the Count, tries his best but can only manage a few genuine laughs in a sea of groaners. After a bat drops a bit of guano near him, Nielsen exclaims, "Children of the night! What a mess they make!" before slipping and taking a tumble down the stairs. Yuck yuck, indeed.
Back before the FCC was deregulated to the point where toy companies could produce their own Saturday morning TV shows, children in the '70s had to make due with bizarre oddities like 1976's monster mash-up 'Monster Squad.' In the short-lived show, the Wolf-Man, Frankenstein and Dracula team up with a criminology student and fight evil via the Crime Computer. Why? They want to make up for their past sins. Frankenstein and the Wolf-Man are understandable, but Dracula? Clearly he was just in this for the fresh necks.
Morgan Freeman was a regular on the '70s PBS sketch show 'The Electric Company,' and made several appearances as Dracula. In the strangest moment, he sings a song about his love for taking bubble baths in caskets while soaking in a coffin. No doubt Bram Stoker’s original intent for the character.
Lovers of sugary cereals and delightful puns are forever indebted to General Mills for introducing Count Chocula in 1971. One of the many examples of Dracula trading his taste for blood for something more kid-friendly, the Count was surrounded by a bevy of equally oddball cereal mascot monsters. (Remember Fruit Brute?) In the ad below, he comes face to face with another famous Dracula.
As kids, we never realized how strange 'Sesame Street' is. Big Bird suffered from hallucinations. Oscar the Grouch was an anti-social homeless man, and poor Cookie Monster was a binge eater. But even when we were young, we knew something wasn’t quite right about the Count. He has none of the Muppet charm of a Grover or an Elmo, and spends all of his time in a dank castle surrounded by cheap-looking bat puppets. But the worst thing? He’s a math teacher.
The strangest Dracula comes from the '70s, when blacksploitation was an actual film genre. The titular character isn't actually the real Dracula, but rather an African king who becomes the Count's victim. Added to Dracula's usually villainy are racism and slave trading, turning him from the Prince of Darkness into 'The Man.' Dracula is only in the film at the very beginning, while the rest of the film sees Blacula searching for his reincarnated lover after he is awoken by two stereotypically flamboyant interior decorators. (Oh, the '70s.) A sequel, 'Scream, Blacula, Scream' followed a year later. Thankfully, the Hollywood remake machine has let 'Blacula' lie in the coffin of cinematic misfires.