Monday, March 19, 2012

Bloody Monday - Count Dracula

Bela Lugosi

Ahhhhhhhh, so many Count Dracula personifications to choose from... but did anyone do it better than Bela Lugosi? THE original film Dracula from back in the day - 1931. (But not the first portrayal, which may have been Count Orlock in Nosferatu, released in 1922)

What? 1931? Yes! Dang - it again makes me wonder what is it about the vampire that captures the imagination?

Brahm Stoker's gothic horror novel, Dracula, came out in 1897, according to Wikipedia. And pop culture has apparently revised and re-"vamped" the vampire over and over ever since.

That's one damn powerful literary character, isn't it?

Certainly many of us had our first Dracula encounter waaaaay back in pre-school.

Huh? In pre-school? Seriously? Why yes, Grasshopper, pre-school. Who could forget the number-obsessed Count? Hmm, for some reason I thought I had more to say about the count. One cute little brown-winged bat... two cute little brown winged bats... three cute little brown winged bats... hahahahahahaha.

Anywhile... meanwhile, back in 1897... the original Dracula introduces the English solicitor Johnathan Harker, his fiancee, Mina, her friend Lucy, and the Dutch doctor Van Helsing.

Stoker's Count Dracula was in turns charming and frightening, though there was never any doubt that he was an evil character, not a romantic one.

Count Dracula has "the strength of 20 men," can turn into a dog, can command nocturnal animals - specifically, bats and rats. He does not have to feed regularly, can transform into fog, and can pass through small spaces even in human form. He can also turn others into vampires. The sun doesn't destroy him.

He is more powerful at night, must be invited to enter a dwelling (at least initially), and can't cross running water except for at high or low tide. He is repulsed by garlic, and he needs contact with his home soil to maintain his strength.

He can be killed, and needs to be decapitated and then stabbed through the heart to actually kill him  - silver bullets, wooden stakes, iron or steel blades, holy water or wild rose.

Interesting, isn't it, how adaptations carry forth some details that are "canon" to the story, creates others, and leaves some details behind completely. I think one of the most enjoyable things about writing vampire fiction is that I get to make up my own rules - because it's almost industry standard to change and adapt the abilities and weaknesses of vampires.

Gary Oldman
I think one of the all time creepiest versions of Count Dracula was Gary Oldman's portrayl in the 1992 film Dracula. {{{{shudder}}}}

There's nothing sexy about this one, is there, darlings? Not even creepy sexy.

It's an adaptation that is dark, gothic, and well... Dracula-ish. (And what's with the super weird hair rolls, anyway? That's creepy all by itself.)

Gerard Butler

My favorite Dracula adaptation to date is Dracula 2000. Perhaps because it was one of the few vampires movies I've seen in the theater (actually, probably one of two, the first being Rice's Interview with the Vampire). Or maybe it's one of my favorites because Gerard Butler makes a pretty sexy Dracula. Even when he's scary.

So let's talk... not your favorite vampire - but I'd love for you to tell me about your favorite version of Stoker's original Count Dracula.

Don't forget - you can nominate your favorite vampire for Bloody Monday by leaving a comment here, or sending a tweet with hash tag #BloodyMondaySMJ. And if I write about your nominee, you win a free ebook from my Vampire DeVante trilogy.

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