One obvious source of inspiration is Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 movie Bram Stoker's Dracula. Unfortunately you don't really get a good look at the castle during the movie, and the only picture I've had for years was the simple screen capture above. On a side note, the outline of the castle always looked like a man sitting on a chair to me, and I've often wondered if this was intended or not.
Just a few days ago I found these pictures on the blog site: Hollywood Movie Costumes and Props. They are from a display at the Planet Hollywood Cafe in Las Vegas featuring a prosthetic costume worn by Gary Oldman and the miniature model of Castle Dracula.
I did a little more digging and I found the StudioSL website of Stuart Land who worked on the miniature with Matte World for the movie. In addition to a few more shots of the castle from the movie, he includes a brief history of the model.
"Castle Dracula was sculpted in an old cabin on the side of a hill surrounded by redwood trees in downtown San Anselmo, California. I carved the master structure out of 4 lb. urethane foam from some very bad blueprints. They were bad because they was blurry and unclear and had no measurements that I can remember. The castle was six feet tall with a 2 ft x 6 ft mountain cliff base. Jack Haye, who hired me for Matte World, made all the nurnies (those cool looking model pieces hanging all over the castle), plus gave it the stone texture using a secret process, and painted it.
The idea was that the castle would by shot from only one direction, like that in the photos on this page, so it was sculpted in forced perspective, which means that it looks good from only one perspective. Well, the higher-ups liked it so much, they decided they wanted to do a fly-around, approaching from one side with the camera, move up the wall, fly above the castle, then circle around and come back down the front. No problem they said, just sculpt another castle, only this time we lost the blueprints, so you have to make it all by memory, plus it has to look perfect from every side. OK, we pulled it off."
Funny, when I first saw the miniature pics above I wondered what the back and other side looks like. Turns out, from Stuart Land's tale above, there's nothing to see. This also finally explains why there are no better shots of the castle in the movie. That fly around shot would have been sweet! Oh well... great flim regardless.
UPDATE: Be sure to see what Stuart Land has to say himself.
in the comments below!
in the comments below!