Posts Tagged ‘Dracula’

Very cool Dracula-themed Google doodle today to mark Bram Stoker’s birthday. I like the fact that the depiction of Dracula they used is the one from Stoker’s book, not the one that became standard in later years. We’re talking the ugly old man version of Dracula. The one who’s not the least bit f**kable.

See, I’ve argued this point with other Dracula fans before, and I still insist I’m right. The sexy, seductive version of Dracula was not the one in Stoker’s book. That version of Dracula came later, when the handsome Bela Lugosi played him in the 1931 film version, and left his indelible stamp on the character and on virtually all subsequent portrayals of vampires in popular fiction.

But wait, didn’t Dracula seduce Lucy? Well, he sucked her blood and killed her. I don’t recall a scene in the book where he took her out for Thai food and salsa dancing first.

Here’s my trump card in that argument. A couple of times in the book, Stoker refers to Dracula’s foul breath. What do you expect? He’s dead, he subsists on blood and he lived in an era before Tic Tacs were invented.

Now there’s A LOT that seducers in gothic novels can get away with. They can be savage, impetuous and cruel. They can rob, ravish, plunder and murder. But they CANNOT get away with having bad breath.

So there. Game, set and match.

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My friend Carlette found my previous blog entry about the book “The Vampire Slayers’ Field Guide to the Undead” intriguing, so she decided to make it the subject of one of her blog talk radio broadcasts. And she graciously (foolishly?) asked me to sit in. Give it a listen if you want:

http://www.blogtalkradio.com/letteschat/2012/08/23/from-lore-to-ludicrous–all-about-vampires

Did you know that Count Dracula walked around during the day? He wasn’t at the height of his powers. But that whole “daylight-kills-vampires-on-contact” thing was never in Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, “Dracula.” For that matter, it was never part of the Eastern European vampire folklore that inspired Stoker’s story, either.

So where does that particular element of vampire mythology come from? According to the book “The Vampire Slayers’ Field Guide to the Undead” by Shane MacDougall, it actually comes from Friedrich Wilhelm Murnau’s 1922 silent film “Nosferatu.” (Which was a classic in its own right, but totally ripped off Stoker’s novel. Stoker’s widow sued.)

Murnau needed a way to kill off Count Orlock, the Dracula surrogate. He basically pulled the “sunlight kills him” plot device out of his ass. And now it’s as intrinsic to vampire lore as crucifixes and stakes.

I recently got a copy of MacDougall’s book. By the way, that name’s a pseudonym for horror author Jonathan Maberry. If you’re a horror fan, do yourself a favor and pick up his Pine Deep trilogy. It’s awesome.

I’ve got a feeling I’ll end up devoting more than one blog entry to this book. Hell, it could be the subject of a blog in and of itself. (more…)