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S E A R C H    D V D B e a v e r

(aka "El Conde Dracula" or "Nachts, wenn Dracula erwacht" or "Il conte Dracula" or "Les nuits de Dracula" )

 

directed by Jesús Franco (as Jess Franco)
Spain / West Germany / Italy / Liechtenstein 1970

 

In early 2023, a Madrid film archivist made a startling discovery: the uncut camera negative of COUNT DRACULA, in pristine condition and untouched for over 50 years. This gothic masterpiece from writer/director Jess Franco can now be experienced like never before, from its brilliant performances by Christopher Lee as the Count, Herbert Lom as Van Helsing, Soledad Miranda as Lucy, Maria Rohm as Mina and Klaus Kinski as Renfield to its sumptuously unnerving cinematography and eerie Bruno Nicolai score. COUNT DRACULA is newly scanned in 4K with over five total hours of Special Features, including the U.S. Premiere of Carles Prats' 2017 documentary DRÁCULA BARCELONA, which chronicles the simultaneous filming of CUADECUC, VAMPIR by Pere Portabella and Franco's horror classic.

***

In 1970, cult director Jess Franco and screen legend Christopher Lee collaborated on what they promised would be the most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker’s novel ever filmed. From its remarkable performances – including Lee as the Count, Herbert Lom (MARK OF THE DEVIL) as Van Helsing, Soledad Miranda (VAMPYROS LESBOS) as Lucy, Maria Rohm (VENUS IN FURS) as Mina, and authentic madman Klaus Kinski as Renfield – to its lush locations and atmosphere of sinister sensuality, it remains perhaps the most spellbinding version of Dracula in movie history. Fred Williams (SHE KILLED IN ECSTASY) and Paul Muller (NIGHTMARE CASTLE) co-star in this “thrilling” (Twins Of Evil) and “fascinating” (Arrow In The Head) horror classic, now fully restored, loaded with all-new Bonus Features including Pere Potrabella’s experimental ‘making of’ feature CUADECUC, VAMPIR, and re-mastered in high-definition for the first time ever.

Eric Cotenas

Posters

Theatrical Release: April 3rd, 1970

Reviews                                                       More Reviews                                                  DVD Reviews

 

Review: Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD

Thanks to Eric Cotenas fro the DVD screen captures!

Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

88 Films on 4K UHD coming in the UK in March 2024:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD
Runtime 1:36:38.542        
Video

1.37:1 2160P 4K Ultra HD

Disc Size: 65,304,940,238 bytes

Feature: 62,575,908,864 bytes

Video Bitrate: 77.91 Mbps

Codec: HEVC Video

1.37:1 Disc Size: 45,618,953,066 bytes

Feature Size: 31,627,173,888 bytes

Total Bitrate: 37.00 Mbps

Dual-layered Blu-ray MPEG4 - AVC

NOTE: The Vertical axis represents the bits transferred per second. The Horizontal is the time in minutes.

Bitrate 4K Ultra HD:

Bitrate Blu-ray:

Audio

DTS-HD Master Audio English 1986 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1986 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
DTS-HD Master Audio Spanish 1997 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1997 kbps / 24-bit (DTS Core: 2.0 / 48 kHz / 1509 kbps / 24-bit)
Commentary:

Dolby Digital Audio English 256 kbps 2.0 / 48 kHz / 256 kbps / DN -31dB

Subtitles English (SDH), None
Features Release Information:
Studio:
Severin

 

Edition Details:

4K Ultra HD disc

• Audio Commentary With Horror Historian David Del Valle And Actress Maria Rohm
• Trailer (3:19)

 

Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray

• Audio Commentary With Horror Historian David Del Valle And Actress Maria Rohm
• Illustrated 1973 Christopher Lee Audio Interview With Filmmaker Donald Glut (19:50)
• Beloved Count - Interview With Director Jess Franco (26:35)
• Handsome Harker - Interview With Actor Fred Williams (26:14)
• An Interview With Actor Jack Taylor (10:00)
Stake Holders - An Appreciation By Filmmaker Christophe Gans (7:32)
• Trailer (3:19)

 

Severin - Region FREE - Blu-ray 2

• DRÁCULA BARCELONA - 2017 Documentary (1:30:24)
• Jess Franco's BRAM STOKER'S COUNT DRACULA - Stephen Thrower On COUNT DRACULA (45:21)
• In The Land Of Franco Bonus Sequence With Alain Petit And Stephen Thrower (6:07)
• Alternate Title Sequences (1:40 / 1:36 / 1:23 / 1:35)

 

Disc 4

• Original “Count Dracula” Soundtrack CD


4K Ultra HD Release Date: November 28th, 2023
Black 4K Ultra HD Case inside slipcase

Chapters 12

 

 

Comments:

NOTE: The below Blu-ray and 4K UHD captures were taken directly from the respective discs.

ADDITION: Severin 4K UHD (January 2024): Severin have transferred Jesús Franco's "Count Dracula" to 4K UHD to a 4-disc package that includes two Blu-rays and a CD. Severin released the film on Blu-ray in 2015. We compared it to DVDs HERE. This 1080P is a new upgrade over their older Blu-ray with a higher bitrate and a sharper image presumably from the same source as the 2160P - cited as "The Worldwide UHD Premiere Restored From the Original Negative With 5+ Hours of New Special Features Including the Documentary Drácula Barcelona Plus Bruno Nicolai Soundtrack CD and More!".

The 2015 Blu-ray (it's 1080P debut) was not stellar - as Eric pointed out: "It does look softish even considering the zoom-happy photography. The framing seems almost identical if a little tighter to the earlier master they provided to Dark Sky. It looks like the Spanish source reveals a bit more in a few shots." However this new transfer (this is the Spanish 35mm camera negative, and features the English title sequence - it was French for the 2015 Blu-ray "Les nuits de Dracula") - notably the 4K UHD - is quite a monumental improvement by comparison. Overall it may be a semi-tone darker than the 2023 Blu-ray but compared to the older digital releases - it is a revelation in terms of contrast, color balance and detail. There is significantly more information in the frame, grain is consistent and I only noticed a minor few incidents of light scratches etc. (see below.) Certain scenes lean blue / red / pink - warmer flesh tones - by comparison to the, less effectual, Blu-ray and poor DVDs. There are a few sequences showing depth in the accurate 1.37:1 frame. Bottom line - the 4K UHD looks fantastic - a ginormous leap beyond previous editions. Fans should be extremely pleased with this HD presentation.

It is likely that the monitor you are seeing this review is not an HDR-compatible display (High Dynamic Range) or Dolby Vision, where each pixel can be assigned with a wider and notably granular range of color and light. Our capture software if simulating the HDR (in a uniform manner) for standard monitors. This should make it easier for us to review more 4K UHD titles in the future and give you a decent idea of its attributes on your system. So our captures may not support the exact same colors (coolness of skin tones, brighter or darker hues etc.) as the 4K system at your home. But the framing, detail, grain texture support etc. are, generally, not effected by this simulation representation.

NOTE: 68 more more full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K UHD captures, in lossless PNG format, for Patrons are available HERE

We have reviewed the following 4K UHD packages recently: Full Circle - The Haunting of Julia (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Warriors  (software uniformly simulated HDR), Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio (software uniformly simulated HDR), Blackhat (software uniformly simulated HDR), Mark of the Devil (software uniformly simulated HDR), Barbarella (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Picture Show (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Man Who Knew Too Much (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rope (software uniformly simulated HDR), Frenzy (software uniformly simulated HDR), American Graffiti (software uniformly simulated HDR), East End Hustle (software uniformly simulated HDR), Three Days of the Condor (software uniformly simulated HDR), Witness (software uniformly simulated HDR), Fascination (software uniformly simulated HDR), Lips of Blood (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Others (no HDR), It Came From Outer Space (software uniformly simulated HDR), Don't Look Now (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rosemary's Baby (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Last Wave (no HDR), The Train (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Trial (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Walkabout (software uniformly simulated HDR), Black Magic Rites, The Night of the Hunted (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Rape of the Vampire (software uniformly simulated HDR), Gorgo (software uniformly simulated HDR), Akira Kurosawa's Dreams (software uniformly simulated HDR) The Man From Hong Kong (software uniformly simulated HDR), One False Move, The Tall T (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cold Eyes of Fear (software uniformly simulated HDR), Rules of the Game (no HDR), The Manchurian Candidate (software uniformly simulated HDR), After Hours, Rain Man (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Changeling (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Night of the Hunter (software uniformly simulated HDR), 12 Angry Men (software uniformly simulated HDR), Branded to Kill (no HDR), Picnic at Hanging Rock (software uniformly simulated HDR), Two Orphan Vampires (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Shiver of the Vampires, Drowning By Number (software uniformly simulated HDR), Serpico (software uniformly simulated HDR), Cool Hand Luke (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Seventh Seal (software uniformly simulated HDR), The Maltese Falcon (software uniformly simulated HDR).

On their 4K UHD, Severin offer DTS-HD Master 2.0 channel tracks (24-bit) in the both the English or Spanish languages. The score is by Bruno Nicolai (Your Vice Is a Locked Room and Only I Have the Key, Face to Face, The Perverse Countess, Torso, Ten Little Indians, Pasolini's Hawks and the Sparrows) which has an Italian feel echoing pasta westerns with decent stylistic atmosphere for unnerving Balkan gothic surroundings. Considering the post-DUB'ing, it sounds reasonably well mixed - again, better than the 2015 Blu-ray where the linear PCM didn't effectively export the higher end. There are effects, screams etc. that come through with pleasing, often surprising, bass. It can be rough around the edges - but that can be said of the film's often rushed image compositions, but generally the lossless is another upgrade (24-bit) available on both the Blu-ray and 4K UHD presentations. Both feature discs offer optional English subtitles - and the 4K UHD, is - as always, region FREE, playable worldwide. The Blu-rays are also region FREE.

The 4K UHD repeats the previous commentary from the 2015 Blu-ray as Eric Cotenas described: "... commentary by actress Maria Rohm (wife of producer Henry Alan Towers) moderated by film historian David Del Valle (a friend of both Christopher Lee and Herbert Lom). Del Valle contextualizes the film as highly anticipated for touting itself as the most faithful screen adaptation of Stoker's novel and for Lee appearing as Dracula outside of the Hammer productions. Rohm discusses her husband's career starting in radio (with the Orson Welles Harry Lime series), his interest in literary properties - Towers produced three screen adaptations of Agatha Christie's Ten Little Indians - including the reviewed 1965 and 1974 version with Rohm, as well as adaptations of De Sade for Franco, Oscar Wilde with The Secret of Dorian Gray, and the Sax Rohmer Fu Manchu series - and his tumultuous relationship with Franco, and hers with Kinski (who she considered suing for libel for statements he made about her and actress Margaret Lee in his first autobiography). Del Valle also puts forth interpretations of Stoker's novel gleaned from a class he took with The Annotated Dracula scholar Leonard Wolf and Franco's lack of interest in a "straight" retelling of Stoker's novel (both Del Valle and Rohm agree that Vampyros Lesbos was Franco's preferred interpretation)." Also on the 4K UHD disc is the export trailer.

The first of two Blu-rays has the feature in 1080P and the commentary plus a 1973 audio interview of Christopher Lee by Donald Glut (author of the exhaustive, comprehensive, and in-depth survey of the Dracula character; THE DRACULA BOOK: The Horror Phenomenon From Page to Screen) for 20-minutes. It's quite revealing with Lee's distinctive voice. Beloved Count is a 27-minute interview with Director Jess Franco discussing specific scenes and producer Harry Alan Towers. He discuss the film's heavy-ish dialogue and reaction. This was also on the Dark Sky DVD. Handsome Harker is a 26-minute interview with, unapologetic, actor Fred Williams (who played Jonathan Harker). It was on Severin's 2015 Blu-ray. Also repeated is Stake Holders - An Appreciation By Filmmaker Christophe Gans which is a lively endorsement of Franco's Count Dracula by the French filmmaker. Also included is actor Jack Taylor for 10-minutes as he relates positive-ness about Franco and his involvement in the director's films. The export trailer also appears on this first Blu-ray.

There is a second
Blu-ray that has the feature-length 2017 Carles Prats' documentary Drácula Barcelona examining bridges between Pere Portabella's Vampir-Cuadecuc and Jesús Franco's film. I found it fairly interesting with archival footage of some of the cast (Taylor, Lee, Miranda) and Teresa Gimpera (The Spirit of the Beehive -  + Shadow of Death) among a few others. Perhaps the most valuable new extra is Stephen Thrower's (author of Flowers of Perversion, Volume 2: The Delirious Cinema of Jesús Franco) 3/4's of an hour piece filling in significant gaps of the production, relationships, the hiring of Christopher Lee and so much more. Kinda cool was the six-minute In The Land Of Franco bonus sequence with Alain Petit and Stephen Thrower describing and incident that makes us realize how small our world is. Lastly, on that disc are four alternate non-English title sequences for Count Dracula; Spanish, German, French and Italian.

The fourth and final disc in the package is an original audio “Count Dracula” soundtrack CD with the music composed by Bruno Nicolai.

This
4K UHD is just another outstanding package from Severin. Standard fare for them. Jesús Franco's "Count Dracula" was advertised as the most faithful adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. It has a superlative cast with, importantly, the great Christopher Lee as Count Dracula (you can't help reflect on his Hammer legacy), Herbert Lom as unflinching Professor Abraham Van Helsing, Klaus Kinski as deranged, fanatically devoted, Renfield and Soledad Miranda (Vampyros Lesbos) portraying the novel's first English blood-sucked victim, Lucy Westenra. It may be Franco's most polished cinema effort (or least-sophomoric) although it is still awkward in terms of pacing, inordinate number of zooms, and, at times, less-thoughtful mise-en-scene. The new 4K UHD image does indeed benefit the film experience adding a needed edge of... respectability. It absolutely elevated the film, imo. In your pitch dark home-theatre this can be an exceptionally vivid film adaptation - respecting the Dracula mythology. Great colors (blood), costuming, castle exteriors, sets (kudos Karl Schneider) etc. are captured so effectively in the 2160P resolution. It's no wonder Vampir-Cuadecuc (conspicuous by absence in the package) could be made from behind-the-scenes footage as there is so much Stoker lore and atmosphere. Of course, inequitable comparisons will be made to Francis Ford Coppola's masterful Bram Stoker's Dracula. If you're expecting that - you will be disappointed... but if you want 'more of that', in a less discerning mood, Franco's film will give you blood-sucking satisfaction. We can certainly recommend the film to vampiric cinema devotees and very strongly endorse this exceptionally well-produced Severin 4K UHD package.

Gary Tooze

 


Menus / Extras

 

Blu-ray 1

Blu-ray 2


CLICK EACH BLU-RAY and 4K UHD CAPTURE TO SEE IN FULL RESOLUTION

 

Subtitle Samples

 

1) Severin (2023) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - LEFT

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD RIGHT

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 

 


1) Dark Sky Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Divisa - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


 

1) Divisa - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Divisa - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Dark Sky Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Severin (2015) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


1) Divisa - Region 0 - PAL - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Dark Sky Films - Region 1 - NTSC - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Severin (2015) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 

 


1) Severin (2015) - Region FREE - Blu-ray - TOP

2) Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD BOTTOM

 


Bonus 4K UHD Captures

 

 


 

 


 

 


 

 


Damage (very minor) samples

 

(CLICK to ENLARGE)

 

 


Examples of NSFW (Not Safe For Work) 4K UHD - (Mouse Over - click to enlarge)

 


 

More full resolution (3840 X 2160) 4K Ultra HD Captures for Patreon Supporters HERE

 

 

 
Box Cover

CLICK to order from:

  

88 Films on 4K UHD coming in the UK in March 2024:

Bonus Captures:

Distribution Severin - Region FREE - 4K UHD


 


 

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