Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary

Poster for Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary

Autumn 2003 Edge series

Sunday, October 12, 2003 at 7:00pm

Empire Theatres, New Minas, NS

Directed by


Rated NR · 1h 13m

Guy Maddin, the Winnipeg wunderkind, breaths new life into a classic tale in his horror dance film, Dracula: Pages From A Virgin’s Diary, based on the Royal Winnipeg Ballet’s adaptation of Bram Stoker’s famous novel of the undead. Maddin (Careful, Tales From Gimli Hospital) stays true to the roots of the five year old ballet by filming Dracula as a silent film, using the absolutely wonderful score from Mahler’s 1st and 2nd symphony, digitally deteriorated in an age of digital enhancement. The first half of the film, which stays surprisingly faithful to the 1897 novel (at least in its focus), follows the possessed Lucy (Tara Birthwhistle), a young woman who is trying to choose from her three suitors. An image of blood seeping across a crudely drawn map of Europe and inter-titles which shout “Others!” and “From Other Lands” herald the approach of the most famous undead villain in film and literature. To the dismay of all of her suitors, Lucy summons Dracula’s unholy presence into her boudoir, and their lengthy dance in a wintry graveyard seals her fate. Maddin told CinemaScope, “I see Dracula as not even existing. He’s just a big, pleasurable lust fluttering around from woman to woman”. As such, Maddin presents Dracula as a hero and Van Helsing, the classic hero, is presented as a guardian of morality (not mortality). Choosing to shoot the film in black and white, with the exception of the red blood (which is plentiful) and green money, Maddin uses many of the effects that made Heart Of The World such a visually exciting movie. Through the use of dreamy close-ups, slow motion, pantomime, silhouette, copious amounts of fog and matted images, Maddin’s Dracula does not lampoon or steal from old movies but somehow reminds the viewer of a movie they never saw, and forgot. At times voluptuous and whimsical (sometimes simultaneously), assuredly always strange, Guy Maddin has once again crafted a beautiful, brilliantly original film that is a pure delight to watch.

“The latest example of Maddin’s alchemy…a picture that aficionados of classic film – and classic Dracula – should eagerly seek out.” – Michael Wilmington, Chicago Tribune

“Maddin’s work testifies to the notion that the past knows more than the present and that silent cinema is a richer, dreamier, sexier, and more resonant medium than what we’re accustomed to seeing in the multiplexes.” – Jonathan Rosenbaum, Chicago Reader

“Maddin takes cinema to its outer limits without stranding you there in a vacuum of heady esoterica.” – Wesley Morris, Boston Globe

“A 75-minute tour de force that’s often fascinating, sometimes frustrating, but ultimately rewarding.” – Rick Groen, The Globe And Mail