There is quite the fascination with taming classic monsters on screen these days. Gone are the days we would cower behind the sofa from Christopher Lee’s Count Dracula. Children’s entertainment is turning the most famous bloodsucker in the world into a character we can understand; Dracula is becoming someone with thoughts, feelings and doubts about his own capabilities.
For anyone with young kids who are frightened of vampires, Dear Dracula might help them to sleep at night. Complete with the voice talent of Modern Family‘s Ariel Winter and Ray Liotta as the Count himself, Dear Dracula revolves around Dracula’s biggest fan, Sam. Living with his grandmother and engaging mostly in the company of a friendly spider and the nice girl who lives next door, Sam decides to write to the Count for Halloween, in the hopes he might receive a Dracula figurine for Christmas.
Delighted to have a young fan in the age of Twilight, Dracula travels all the way from Transylvania to visit Sam in America. It quickly becomes apparent that the world’s best known vampire isn’t the fearsome creature he used to be. He’s lost his confidence and can’t seem to scare people any more. Not even Sam’s grandmother is fazed by him! Sam decides to help Dracula learn to scare again, and where better to try out his skills than at a neighbourhood Halloween party?
It’s a very cute story, aimed at and appropriate for young children. While recent releases like Hotel Transylvania have maintained Dracula’s fierce reputation, even while turning him into a loving father trying to protect his daughter from humans, this version is very gentle in comparison. Even when he’s scaring people, he’s not doing it to be mean. After all, what’s the point in having fangs and an ability to turn into a bat and pop out of a coffin, if you can’t mess about with it? He’s not even cruel to his sidekick Mirroe (Emilio Estevez), although pranks are common between servant and master.
For those of you who have grown accustomed to the polished animation of Pixar and Dreamworks, don’t expect too much. Animation made for television and home video is much more basic.
Overall though it’s a sweet animation which you can stick on the TV to keep the little ones happily occupied for an hour. Just don’t be surprised if the kids start running around pretending to be bats and scaring people this October.
Dear Dracula is out on DVD now.