With the release of Renfield, Nicolas Cage gets to fulfill one of his bucket list roles. He stated that the three roles he wanted to play eventually were Superman, Captain Nemo, and Dracula. He missed his chance for Superman but has at least knocked Dracula off his list. Now that the film has been released, we can see all the fun references to the Dracula lore. What Renfield Easter Eggs did you miss?
WARNING!!!! There will be spoilers for Renfield ahead!
Director Chris McKay wanted to do everything he could to tie this film back to the original 1931 Dracula film starring Bela Lugosi. The font and style of the Renfield poster mimics that of the original poster. In the film, we see scenes from the original film recreated using the modern actors portraying the characters. Not only are the moments recreated, but the actors are digitally inserted into the original footage to complete the fun tie-in. Most famously, Nicholas Hoult got to re-enact the scene of Dwight Frye’s Renfield emerging from below deck of the Demeter with a manic look on his face. These easter eggs in Renfield make it a direct sequel to the original film.
Captain J. Browning
The police captain in the film keeps trying to subvert Renfield and Awkwafina’s character of Rebecca from getting to involved with trying to bring down the Lobo family. It is finally revealed that most of the police department, including Captain Browning, have been paid off by the crime lords. If the Captain’s last name sounds familiar, that’s because it’s a nod to the director of the 1931 Universal Dracula film Todd Browning.
He received high praise for his film. The next year he made the film Freaks, which used actual circus sideshow performers in a story about betrayal and revenge. The film shocked audiences so much that his career took a hit, and he was forced to tackle lower B-grade films going forward. Freaks became a cult classic and is regarded today as a great film in Browning’s filmography.
Eagle-eyed viewers may have noticed that the old priest in the film looked familiar. This is because he was played by William Ragsdale. He played the character of Charlie Brewster in 1985’s Fright Night and its sequel. Charlie was a high schooler obsessed with horror films and began believing that his next-door neighbor was a vampire.
He enlists the help of a horror host named Peter Vincent, played by the always awesome Roddy McDowall. Vincent is a throwback to the characters played by Peter Cushing in the Hammer Dracula films. Ragsdale seems to know his way around fighting vampires but doesn’t fare well in Renfield.
A police officer that gets frequent mentions in the film is the put upon Kyle. No one seems to like him and gives him a hard time throughout the film. If you pay attention to the name tag on his vest, you will see that his last name is Raimi. This is a reference to horror filmmaker Sam Raimi. While he isn’t known for working in the vampire genre, he has sprayed a lot of blood on-screen with his Evil Dead series and a handful of other horror films. Dracula would love access to all the blood from Evil Dead II alone.
The police arrest When Teddy Lobo, he sits in an interrogation room confessing to just about any crime he can think of. Before any cops can actually interview him, an attorney shows up and gets him released. Horror actress Caroline Williams plays this attorney. Fans would remember her as the Radio DJ “Stretch” from The Texas Chainsaw Massacre 2. She goes up against the cannibalistic Sawyer family and is able to walk away in the end.
The head of the Lobo crime family is Bellafrancesca Lobo, played wonderfully by Shohreh Aghdashloo. Throughout the film, she is usually referred to as Bella. This also references Bela Lugosi, who played Dracula in the 1931 film. His portrayal of the character has become a standard for Dracula ever since.
In the film, Renfield is given super-powered abilities whenever he eats an insect. He carries around a small box that has all sorts of spiders, roaches, and crickets inside. This aspect has an origin in the original Dracula novel. Renfield is committed to an asylum. He begins to eat the flies that come into his cell to gain their life force. Soon he decides to start feeding the flies to the spiders that also inhabit his cell to merge the two insects’ life force before eating the spiders. He keeps this process going up to the point that he asks the asylum staff for a cat.
What Renfield Easter Eggs did you notice? Let us know in the comments.
Originally published at https://www.joblo.com/renfield-easter-eggs/