THE VIRGINIAN-PILOT Copyright (c) 1995, Landmark Communications, Inc. DATE: Sunday, December 31, 1995 TAG: 9601020206 SECTION: DAILY BREAK PAGE: E7 EDITION: FINAL TYPE: Movie review SOURCE: BY MAL VINCENT, MOVIE CRITIC LENGTH: Medium: 70 lines
WHEN BLOOD makes a mess, Mel Brooks looks into the camera and quips, ``I knew we should have put down a newspaper.''
When a sexy vampirette aims at the neck of the stuffy hero, he comments, ``but I'm engaged to Mina - and you're dead.''
In ``Dracula: Dead and Loving It,'' the corn is as high as a vampire's belly button. The usually outrageous and uncontrollable Mel Brooks has had lean times lately with the lame ``Spaceballs,'' ``Life Stinks'' and ``Robin Hood: Men in Tights'' but we hoped ``Dracula'' would return him to the spoofy high he reached with ``Young Frankenstein.'' That, however, was 21 years ago.
As with the hilarious ``Frankenstein'' spoof, he instructs his actors to keep a straight face amid the would-be bedlam. Brooks sticks, for the most part, to the script of the 1931 Todd Browning feature, which starred Bela Lugosi.
Fans of the three ``Naked Gun'' flicks might well expect Leslie Nielsen to put some life in the proceedings. It's a wash-out. Nielsen, in an effort to keep a straight face, seems to be playing it straight. Bela Lugosi himself was a lot funnier.
There are occasional hints at ``Naked Gun'' hijinks. Dracula falls down a flight of stairs after slipping on bat droppings. He wears a high-rise wig that is an obvious rip-off from Gary Oldman's outfit in ``Bram Stoker's Dracula.''
Nielsen merely walks through it. Peter MacNicol works hardest, as Renfield, the Dracula slave. When a group of sexy vampirettes slither into his bedroom and rub against the bedposts, he exclaims, ``What are you doing to the furniture!''
Harvey Korman is surprisingly tame, and unfunny, as Dr. Seward.
Brooks appears as vampire hunter Professor Van Helsing, delighting in making medical students pass out during autopsies.
The only good performance delivered by a non-comic - Steven Weber as a stuffed-shirt hero.
The major disaster of the holiday comedy efforts, this slow, slow spoof is sunk by lengthy dramatic exposition. Would it be too much to ask that a comedy actually have some jokes? ILLUSTRATION: Photo
CASTLE ROCK ENTERTAINMENT
Leslie Nielsen plays it too straight in Mel Brooks' alleged comedy
``Dracula: Dead and Loving It.''
``Dracula: Dead and Loving It''
Cast: Leslie Nielsen, Peter MacNicol, Steven Weber, Amy Yasbeck,
Lysette Anthony, Harvey Korman, Mel Brooks, Clive Revill, Avery
Schreiber, Anne Bancroft
Director: Mel Brooks
Screenplay: Mel Brooks, Rudy De Luca and Steve Haberman
Music: Hummie Mann
MPAA rating: PG-13 (off-color comments and gore)
Mal's rating: One star
Locations: Cinemark, Greenbrier 13 in Chesapeake; Janaf, Main
Gate in Norfolk; Kemps River, Lynnhaven 8, Pembroke in Virginia