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Produktart: Buch
Verlag: Bachelor + Master Publishing
Erscheinungsdatum: 02.2019
AuflagenNr.: 1
Seiten: 88
Abb.: 107
Sprache: Englisch
Einband: Paperback


This thesis analyses motifs of vampirism in gothic film parodies on the basis of Mel Brooks Dracula: Dead and Loving it”, which parodies its original Dracula” by Tod Browning. The contrasting juxtaposition of the two films serves to provide the parodic constructions of vampirism. By using the six methods of parody by Dan Harris – reiteration, inversion, misdirection, literalizitation, extraneous inclusion and exaggeration – the parodic constructions will be examined. This works aims to find answers to the question what is left of the old-fashioned motifs of vampirism.


Text Sample: Chapter: 3.1.3 COMPARISON: SIMILARITIES AND DIFFERENCES Tod Browning's Dracula and Mel Brooks' Dracula: Dead and Loving It conspicuously show clear parallels plot-wise. Insofar, going back to both Grellmann's (630) and Korkut's (14) definition of parody, Brooks' Gothic film parody intentionally imitates Browning's Gothic film by, if you will, conserving the formal elements. In this case, however, the initial translation of the Greek word parody as beside-or-against song (Verweyen and Witting 4ff. Rose, Parodie” 5 Chambers 3) applies insofar as, on the one hand, the plot is mirrored, but humorously intended, thus unfolding as beside song”, and, on the other hand, includes, scenes such as the ballroom scene (see Appendix fig. 60) or the passing away and the bloody staking of Lucy Westenra (see Appendix fig. 82), which are not displayed in Browning's plot, hence appear as against song”. The latter scene, however, proofs that Brooks' Gothic film parody is structurally quite true to the familiar story” (Joslin 133) - Stoker depicts Lucy's staking, here taken not by Jonathan, but by Arthur, as follows: [...] driving deeper and deeper the mercy-bearing stake, whilst the blood from the pierced heart welled and spurted up around it.” (Stoker 201). Insofar, the beside song” elements in Brooks's Gothic film parody unfold within an intermedial connection to literature. Lyndon W. Joslin goes even so far to claim that Dracula: Dead and Loving It is more faithful to the novel than the 1931 version it spoofs” (132). With regard to the plot, this is even a matter of fact, so that between Gothic film parody and novel, one encounters a dominant use of beside song” elements than between Gothic film parody and Gothic film. According to Dan Harries' parodic methods, therefore, on the level of syntax, Brook's and Stoker's narrative unfolding contains several reiterations such as the ship's name, the Demeter the use of garlic the character names the passing away and the staking of Lucy. Browning's syntax, in contrast, transforms names such as Westenra to Weston Jonathan to John or Demeter to Vesta. Moreover, garlic is replaced by wolfsbane, and the visual passing away and the staking of Lucy is either extremely shortened or left out. Browning's narrative unfolding, thus, in respect of Kamilla Elliott (24ff.), can be seen as a parody of Stoker's novel as well, but, opposed to Brooks' syntax, without any clear intention for humour. However, Joslin indicates that Browning's film isn't really an adaptation of Stoker's novel per se, but an adaptation of the stage play by Hamilton Deane and John L. Balderston” (25). Nonetheless, Browning reiterates Stoker's first chapters regarding the doomed trip to Transylvania, but replaces Jonathan Harker with 27 Renfield due to the need to explain” Renfield's involvement with the Count” (25). Brooks' Gothic film parody, or spoof, emphasises this very point through humorous imitation by placing incongruities in the visual depictions of the motifs of vampirism. By this means, Renfield is not given, but intrusively sold a crucifix, and the people's fear of vampires results in Renfield going than being driven to the Borgo Pass. The Count greets Renfield in both plots, but comes crashing down the stairs (see Appendix fig. 100) in Brooks' where one accident follows the next one (see Appendix fig. 102, 103, 104). Such misdirections on the level of syntax are, among other factors, responsible for the parodic presentation of the target material. With these means, Mel Brooks doesn't insult his audience by claiming Bram Stoker wrote a comedy, not a horror story” (Joslin 133). In this regard, there is no surprise about Brooks' inversion of Browning's syntax - he makes Renfield survive the story. The vampire's slave's participation is, furthermore, more concrete than in Browning's version: Brooks clearly presents the way Renfield becomes the Count's slave he shows how the bars of Renfield's window are bent to help him escape and he gives him a real task as Dracula's helper when he is instructed to remove dozens of garlic bulbs in Lucy's room, which is neither depicted in Stoker's nor Browning's Dracula. Insofar, Brooks' Gothic film parody, in respect of Dan Harries' parodic techniques, beside reiterating, transforming, inverting and misdirecting the syntax, extraneously includes narrative scenes as well which are not covered in the target model's syntax. Chapter: 3.2 PHYSICAL FEATURES OF A VAMPIRE The apparently striking difference between Tod Browning's and Mel Brooks' vampire is the colour - Browning's vampires are yet black and white (see Appendix fig. 1, 7, 9), but more than sixty years later, Brooks celebrates the vampire's revival with inverted style (see Appendix fig. 3, 8, 10) by the use of modern film technology. Nonetheless, it must not be ignored that, according to Borrmann, it was Bela Lugosi, Browning's actor for the role of the vampire Count, who created the gentleman-like Dracula-Image in 1931 (270). Although there were only three years in between, rather than creating a parody on Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula which might be still up to date in people's memory, Brooks correctly observes that the Dracula most people remember is the one who sports a tux and speaks with a Hungarian accent” (Joslin 132). Evidently, Brooks decided to create his vampire Count in an 28 analogous manner to the Lugosi-version, than merely following Harker's description in Stoker's novel: a tall man […] clad in black from head to foot, without a single speck of colour about him anywhere” (Stoker 18). Brooks' Dracula (see Appendix fig. 3), thus, in terms of lexicon, reiterates the costume of Browning's vampire Count (see Appendix fig. 1) which, inverted in colour, however, displays a red ribbon and a red lining of his cloak. The red colour might be an allusion to Coppola's Dracula wearing a long red cloak (see Appendix fig. 2). Joslin indicates that Browning's Dracula is simply […] overdressed” (Joslin 26), and Brooks', thus, all the more: Especially in combination with his hairstyle (see Appendix fig. 3), Brooks' vampire Count not only reiterates Francis Ford Coppola's along with the pale facial make-up (see Appendix fig. 2), but, by this means, on the one side, exaggerates, and, on the other side, inverts the hair colour of Browning's (see Appendix fig. 1), thus creating ironic incongruity portraying the vampire Count with a renaissance wig and an old man's white hair (see Appendix fig. 3). In terms of style, Brooks uses a similar camera angle to introduce his Dracula (see Appendix fig. 3) in a similar fashion to Browning's (see Appendix fig. 1) Combined with the reiterated set such as the big spiderweb (reiterated iconography) in the background (see Appendix fig. 1, 3), Brooks' Gothic film parody automatically calls up expectations of the traditional syntax. But then, Brooks recalls the parodic recipe of his film by the use of lexical misdirection creating an ironic incongruity between Coppola's depiction of Dracula's hair (see Appendix fig. 2) and Brooks' unexpected reveal of this very hair being a hat (see Appendix fig. 4). With regard to the vampire's aggressive mimics, Brooks' vampire Count (see Appendix fig. 6) reiterates Browning's facial expressions (see Appendix fig. 5), but inverts the depiction of his fangs clearly displaying the characteristic vampire teeth. Such inverted iconographic element is, as opposed to Browning's (see Appendix fig. 7, 9), illustrated in Brooks' depiction of Dracula's vampire women (see Appendix fig. 10) as well. The vampire women's facial expressions and body movements are inverted, too, portraying Brooks' vampire women as sexually tending (see Appendix fig. 8). Compared with this, Browning's vampire women are displayed as emotionless servants (see Appendix fig. 7). Brooks' sexual element is further emphasised by the female vampire's costumes which, although reiterated displaying a thin and transparent garments (see Appendix fig. 7, 8), invert the closed garments (see Appendix fig. 7, 9) 29 presenting a large cutout for the generously depicted female breasts (exaggerated lexicon) (see Appendix fig. 8, 10). Insofar, Brooks' Gothic film parody reiterates certain elements such as the vampire Count's and the female vampire's costumes, but then inverts or even exaggerates these lexical elements to evoke ironic incongruity and sexually charge the depiction. The latter, however, can be seen as parodic criticism of the sexually tabooed depiction of Browning's female vampires where any bare skin is covered, and any kind of sexual lust or behaviour is suppressed. By the use of exaggeration, Brooks' Gothic film parody shows clear tendencies against the traditional depiction of female vampires in Browning's Gothic film.

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