Happy 25th, BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA
I’m having a hard time wrapping my head around this one, friends. BRAM STOKER’S DRACULA was released to theaters 25 years ago. TWENTY. FIVE. YEARS. How is that even possible? How could time have flown by so fast? Twenty years I might–might–be able to buy. But a whole quarter-century? Please time, please, slow down. Like Prince’s famous Little Red Corvette, baby, you’re much too fast.
I so clearly recall standing at the magazine rack at the little mom-and-pop grocery store in the small town where I lived, reading about, and getting excited about, the upcoming release of the movie in the latest issue of FANGORIA. (Oh, FANGORIA, how I miss you!) I remember going to the theater when it came out. I went to the mall beforehand (the theater was located behind it) and ate at Sbarro’s. (Oh, Sbarro’s, how I miss you!) Something I ate there that night disagreed with me, because it insisted on forcing its way back up the elevator. Feeling sickly, I entertained the notion of going home. No! I said to myself. I am going to see DRACULA! And I did.
I wasn’t the erudite, educated guy back then that I am now. A lot of the movie went over my head. I went back to see it again the next week, to try to absorb the stuff I missed the first time. I ran into a cousin of mine at the theater, who told me he was there to do the exact same thing. That cousin died last year of cancer. He and I had kept in touch through social media, but the last time I can authentically remember seeing him in person was at the movie.
October 1992 passed. I remember the TV ads in November, and the tagline, “Have you feasted yet?” I had, yes, but I went back to the movie anyway. Between my third and fourth viewings, though, I reread the novel on which the movie was based. I found my enjoyment of the film much increased. It was necessary for me to read the book and THEN see the movie in order to get the most out of it. It was too much to digest in one sitting, too rarified, too sensual. It marked a big milestone in my life. My appreciation for it has only increased in the years since.
But TWENTY-FIVE years? It blows my mind. I think about how much my life has changed in those years. Mostly for the better, thank God. In some few ways for the worse. I think about the person I am now and the person I was then, about all the ways in which I’ve changed–again, mostly for the better–and all the ways I’ve remained the same. If 25 years can hit me this hard, I can only imagine how it must feel to be Dracula, to have lived through so many lifetimes. And I can completely understand how and why he would latch onto Mina, the reincarnation of his dead wife, as he does in the movie, how he would become obsessed with her. I can well imagine him saying, “400 years?! How is that even possible?!”
I know how you feel, my dear, dark Prince. Believe me, I know.