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Saturday, May 3rd 2008

8:25 PM

Dracula in a Comedy about Recovering from Lost Love?

  • Posted by: Steve Biodrowski

FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL is a comedy, not a horror, sci-fi, or fantasy film, but it does contain at least one sequence of interest to fans of cinefantastique: near the end, the lead character imagines himself achieving his dream of staging a rock opera version of DRACULA, with puppets.

In “Breathing Life into Dracula,” the Los Angeles Times profiled puppet-maker Peter Brooke, the creative supervisor of Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, who provided puppets for the vignette:

  • Getting fleeced: Since the puppets are supposed to have been made by the film’s main character — a jilted musician played by Jason Segel, who also penned the screenplay — Brooke strove to give them just the right look. “I must say if you look at the final characters, they’re incredibly well-crafted handmade puppets,” he says. “Initially, we were thinking about this type of [felt] covering, which would reveal the seams to give it that handmade look. But in the end, we went for more of a traditional fleece covering. We use fleece an awful lot to cover the soft puppet heads because it’s got a little bit of a pile to it, like a fuzziness to it, which helps us hide the seams. It looks great on film, and it picks up the light well.”
  • The Transylvania express: Segel learned to puppeteer Dracula himself for the film. “He did a good job. As you can imagine, puppeteering these characters requires a certain coordination. For starts, this Dracula has fangs, but he also has to close his mouth. So there was that element about the mouth that we had to deal with. Jason did both [arm] rods. And in the final scene when a stake is driven through his heart by Van Helsing, we wanted to show him in his death throes. And so actually, there are two real pieces of red silk, which are pulled out and appear like blood. I mean, it’s supposed to be an amateur production that he puts on, so that’s why we used these old theatrical gags.”

Cinefantastique has a review of the film here.

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