Dracula vs Dracula


Here’s some sound advice.  Don’t read Dracula and watch the original Dracula movie right before you take a nap.  I guarantee that the results are not to be desired.

I realized today that I’m a bit of a sham.  You see, I claim expertise on a variety of subjects in which I am not expertly versed.  I think the only fandom I can claim any sort of superior knowledge over average fans is Tolkien, but that may just be because you average modern fan is too lazy (I’ll accept excuses of intimidation, too) to read The Silmarillion.  Otherwise, I just have a wide base of knowledge on a variety of nerd subjects.

This realization came when I decided to watch Bela Lugosi in his iconic role.  Imagine my surprise when the scene opened up on a film I had never seen before.  Me, self-proclaimed vampire aficionado, who scoffs at other so-called fans for being posers, has never seen the film that created the image of vampires maintained for nearly a century in novels, comics, and film.  That’s like saying I’m a fan of Beethoven, but I’ve never heard his 5th Symphony.  It’s an imperfect analogy, but it suits the magnitude of my fan-fail.

I can affirm that this hole in my authority has been remedied, which is why I can attest to the unsavory results of combining the book and the movie right before nap time.

I found several of the differences between the two sources to be manifold and I would be very interested to see the play that the movie is based on (according to the opening credits).  I certainly approve of the swift demise of Lucy (she just wouldn’t die in the book).  It is telling that they couldn’t just have Renfield as a mysterious loony in the asylum, but had to use him in place of Harker as Dracula’s solicitor.  They also invented a meeting between Dracula and the good guys at the beginning, which is an indulgence that Stoker never stoops to feed.  Also, Stoker spends the first half of his novel vehemently avoiding the word vampire while the film blurts it out at the first opportunity.

It isn’t really fair to compare the two works, though you know this is a primary occupation of mine.  The film isn’t based on the book (unlike the Francis Ford Coppola film of the 90s), just on the characters created by Stoker.  And you have to give mad props to Lugosi for learning the script a syllable at a time since he wasn’t fluent in English yet.  It is better to look at the alterations as indications of the society and culture of the time.

This is good for now, I think.  Be prepared for many more posts about vampires and British mythology.

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