Dracula by Bram Stoker 1897 edition by Bram Stoker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
I imagine that, when it was first published, Dracula probably kept a lot of people up at night. The idea of the undead rising up as evil killers in the night must really have thrown people for a loop.
But I am not a Victorian socialite. I grew up watching horror films that my parents didn’t know I was watching. I startle easily, but I don’t scare easily. And I have to say that Dracula didn’t really do much for me.
If you’ve lived under a rock for the last hundred years or so, here’s the synopsis: Jonathan Harker, a young lawyer, is retained by the mysterious Count Dracula. While there, it becomes apparent that there’s something a little off about the Count, and things soon get dangerous. In the meantime, Harker’s fiancée, Mina Murray, is corresponding with her best friend, Lucy Westenra. Lucy is proposed to by three men in the same day, and accepts one: Arthur. But, in the meantime, Lucy contracts a mysterious illness. Arthur calls in his friend and Lucy’s former suitor, Dr. John Seward, to cure her. Seward, unable to find the cause, calls in his colleague, Dr. Abraham van Helsing. It seems that van Helsing has some inkling of what’s plaguing Lucy, but is reluctant to say. We eventually find that Jonathan’s imprisonment and Lucy’s illness are connected.
I'm sure Bela Lugosi was a terrifying Dracula for his time.
Parts of it were quite quaint, actually. It’s almost laughable how Dr. van Helsing, the vampire expert, keeps everyone in the dark about the existence of vampires. Instead of telling Seward & Co., “I think Lucy’s being stalked by a vampire. Here, let’s keep some garlic in her room and see if she gets any better,” he simply brings in the garlic flowers and tells no one how important they are. Instead of telling Seward, “I think a vampire is coming and sucking her blood at night. We should sleep during the day and keep awake at night to protect her,” they keep falling asleep and Lucy keeps getting weaker.
But the fact is that none of us live in the late 19th century, and you just can’t go back. Unless you’ve lived a very sheltered life and scare very easily, Dracula probably won’t do much for you.
I guess it’s a groundbreaking work in the horror genre. But I’ll never forgive Bram Stoker for being the precursor to Twilight.
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