We never realized that there was so much loaded in a horror movie from a costume perspective…so now here’s our fourth and last installment. 🙂
Dracula, like Bram Stoker’s book of that name and the legends surrounding vampirism in general, has a heavy erotic element to it that both excites and repels at the same time. While we tend to identify with the plight of the hero/heroes, we are also excited by the villains. In Dracula, we not only have the sometime suave/sometime repellant Count Dracula (depending on what guise he’s assuming), but we also have his minions. Dracula’s “Brides” definitely fill the bill as we see below:
The above three “Brides” are dressed in outfits reminiscent of the Classical Greek Peplos, and Chiton, garments consisting of loose draped fabric. Naturally, the fabrics used in the movie are sheer that serves to heighten the Brides’ eroticisim. Below are examples of the Chiton:
And after the story has unfolded, we are left with ultimate redemption and triumph of good over evil. From a costume perspective, we see the how the costuming helps to tell the story. This is not your old school Dracula wearing a tuxedo and top hat; no this is a more “real” vampire who has a story and a strong set of motivations for what he does. While we may have issues over historic authenticity of some of the wardrobe, it’s not a serious detraction from the movie and it still works.
In looking at the Victorian Era clothing of the film, we’re left with the feeling that while the selection of fabrics, colors, and styles were well thought out, it suffers from the tendency of people to lump the decades together and this is especially true when it applies to the late 19th Century. A bustle is not just a “bustle” as the decades pass and neither is a train and by the 1897, bustles and trains have for the most part disappeared. This is a key lapse that could have been corrected for in a number of ways.
We hope that you’ve enjoyed this and we look forward to bringing you more commentary on other film costuming in future posts.