#CBR4 Cannonball 12: Dracula by Bram Stoker

Dracula by Bram Stoker 1897 editionDracula 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.

dracula

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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3 Comments »

  1. […] Dracula was probably really scary when it was first published, before anyone really knew what vampires were. But in this day and age, we live in a society oversaturated with vampires, and it probably won’t rattle your cage much. Share this:ShareTwitterFacebookEmailDiggStumbleUpon Posted by Jelinas in 3 stars – a good book and tagged bram stoker, dracula, fiction, horror, jelinas […]

  2. sevenstories Said:

    I read this whilst I was at university (about 7 years ago) and it scared the living daylights out of me. I don’t watch scary films and Twilight hadn’t hit yet so I suppose it was before the vampire onslaught and I’m easily scared but I got very paranoid about making sure the windows were all closed!

    • Jelinas Said:

      Hahaha!!! Well, sevenstories, my parents weren’t around much when I was a kid, so I inadvertently watched a lot of horror films. Nowadays, when I watch horror, I’ll jump and scream like the Devil himself just grabbed my leg, but I’ll still sleep like a baby that night, and then declare that it wasn’t very scary. I get more scared by thrillers about serial killers and stuff like that.

      You know what else probably contributed to my lack of fright whilst reading this book? The fact that I saw the Gary Oldman version first. So every time Jonathan Harker was mentioned, all I could think of was Keanu Reeves “whoa”ing in Victorian costume. That kinda took a lot of the scary outta the book because I kept stopping to laugh.


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