"What’s your favorite performance by a musician in a horror movie?"
Horror doesn’t get more operatic than Bram Stoker's Dracula. Featuring a powerhouse cast (and a regrettably terrible, studio-imposed Keanu Reeves) screaming for the rafters in over-the-top performances, along with an array of seemingly complex but slyly simplistic in-camera visual effects, Francis Ford Coppola’s take on the legend remains a bonafide classic and the focus of sad tumblrs everywhere. When you’ve got heavy hitters Gary Oldman as the titular foe and Anthony Hopkins as Dr. Abraham Van Helsing, foe to his foe, what perfectly eccentric performer could play the small but vital role of Renfield, raving lunatic and Dracula’s human familiar?
Enter Tom Waits.
Either as a musician or an actor, Tom Waits fits exactly into one category: Tom Waits. Between his bourbon-drenched, tobacco-infused gutter throat, and his extremely dry, odd, yet charming and melancholic screen presence, he’s appeared in numerous Coppola productions over the years. His appearance in Bram Stoker's Dracula is brief but, as the bug-crunching, straightjacketed lunatic Renfield, Waits fits right in with the overly dramatic production and has the unenviable task of trying to be even more overly dramatic than everyone else, as demanded by the role. Whether he’s going big and grand, or in the smaller moments he shares with Mina Harker (Winona Ryder) through the bars of his asylum cell, he’s fully committed (pun!) to the character and a total delight to watch.
[Reprinted/excerpted from Daily Grindhouse.]