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Ruthven Meets Dracula…

All knowledgeable Horror marks ought to be familiar with the story of the writing of FRANKENSTEIN. Percy Shelley and young Mary Wollstonecraft (not yet Shelley), Claire Clairmont, Lord Byron, and John Polidori, spending the majority of the summer months of 1916 huddled inside a mansion on Lake Geneva. The “year without a summer” brought about by a volcanic eruption. The lousy weather, the ghost story challenge. Mary wrote the beginnings of FRANKENSTEIN that fateful night. And Lord Byron wrote the beginnings of a vampire novel, which John Polidori would take up and finish—with his fanged villain based on Lord Byron! Polidori named his vampire “Lord Ruthven.” (Byron had called the character “Darvell.”)

In the forthcoming BBC miniseries DRACULA, which debuts on New Year’s Day, Ruthven will meet the character some allege he inspired—Dracula. Will it be Dracula who transforms Ruthven into a vampire?

While this new miniseries will be based primarily on Bram Stoker’s novel, there will be some major departures. Ruthven is a primary one, as is the fact that the Van Helsing character will be portrayed by a woman this time. Also, Dracula will allegedly be bisexual, although we don’t know if this means he’ll have romantic interests in any of the characters or simply be an equal opportunity seducer/destroyer. I’m hoping for the latter. We’ve seen DRACULA done as a love story numerous times now. I want to see him depicted more sociopathic this time, more like the character in the book.

TheCheezman • December 16, 2019

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