Dracula: Dead And Loving It

on December 22, 1995 by Kim Williamson
   A satisfying enough sit, "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" suffers from our familiarity with the Mel Brooks' vein of wit. Conditioned by his early hits "Blazing Saddles" and "Young Frankenstein" and his later misses "Spaceballs" and "Robin Hood: Men in Tights," audiences by now often know the laugh simply from its setup. Here, in a relatively straightforward retelling of the cinema's previous Count incarnations, Leslie Nielsen plays the Transylvanian vampire, whose comedy is mostly limited to pratfalls; working in "Ghostbusters II" mode, Peter MacNicol is his fawning servant; Amy Yasbeck and Lysette Anthony are Dracula's bustier-babe prey; and Mel Brooks and a surprisingly dry Harvey Korman are the scientists determined to stop him.
   The supporting players--chief among them MacNicol--provide an agreeable number of laughs, with dead air intermittently puncturing the flow. Missing is the manic energy that fellow comedians Gene Wilder and Marty Feldman lent to "Young Frankenstein"; comparisons will be made by audiences familiar with that 1974 hit, and all down the line this cast will (if somewhat unfairly) suffer. For Brooks' work to work, he must reinvent it, the way the makers of "Airplane" gave his already on-its-ear comedy a 180-degree turn.    Starring Leslie Nielsen. Directed and produced by Mel Brooks. Written by Mel Brooks, Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman. A Columbia release. Satire. Rated PG-13 for comedic sensuality and gore. Running time: 89 min.
Tags: Mel Brooks, spoof, satire, vampire, Dracula, parody, horror, doctor, Leslie Nielsen, Steven Weber, Peter MacNicol, Anne Bancroft, Amy Yasbeck, Lysette Anthony, Harvey Korman

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