Subverting Expectations: Dracula
A thoughtful article from a kindred spirit over at bloody disgusting inspired me to share my responses. I will put all quotations from that article in, um, quotes, as one does, and then respond to them. All clear? Let’s do this.
“DRACULA may be my favorite story ever told.” Ah, my brother! “There are sections of the book that are infuriating, to be sure. Not only do we sometimes have to hear people say how greater men are than women at all things, but the female characters are usually the ones saying it.” Hey, that’s the Victorian Era, dude. That’s just how it was. “But when it comes to crafting atmosphere, dread and a terrific ensemble cast of characters, Bram Stoker’s [novel] is second to none.” Agreed, wholeheartedly. “Dracula is nearly tied for the single most adapted fictional character in history with Sherlock Holmes.” Actually, if you count international efforts too, Dracula is ahead. “Whatever new…adaptations come out at this point—and we’ve surely not seen the last of them—it’s incredibly unlikely that they’re going to be better than the greats or worse than DRACULA’S GUEST.” Surely—surely—you are not referring to the short story originally intended as the first chapter of the novel. Surely. “Jonathan’s [Harker] time with the nuns, in which he spends months of recovery after his initial horrors at Castle Dracula, is one of the most overlooked portions of the novel and barely ever makes it into any adaptations when it is so worth exploring.” I’ve always thought so.
And here is the primary point, to me: “…if more adaptations want to stay true to the core of the book, no matter what else they change, then more adaptations should be modern. DRACULA is fundamentally about on old world folkloric monster being unleashed on the modern world.” Bingo. Hit the nail on the head, here. Yes, DRACULA needs its period trappings—but putting those trappings into a contemporary setting provides just the sort of sinister culture shock that powers the novel.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!