115 Years ago, Bram Stoker’s famous Dracula hit the bookshevles and changed our view on the world forever. Read on for more.
Bram Stoker was born on November 8th, 1847 in Dublin, Ireland. He was the third of seven children, and spent a long period of his childhood ill and in bed, which he has accredited his wild imagination to his time in bed. He received a Bachelor’s degree in Math from the University of Trinity in Ireland, and took up writing theatre reviews for the local theater. During those days theater critics were not highly regarded, but gained some acclaim because of the quality of his reviews. After a most favorable review of one of his pieces, Henry Irving asked Stoker to dinner and ended up forging a strong friendship with Irving. They later became business partners at the Lyceum Theater. His original Dracula manuscript was discovered in a barn in Pennsylvania in the 1980s. The Dracula story has been plagued with problems since the first film adaptation, Nosferatu (1922), which according to his widow at the time, was made without her permission (she controlled all rights and permission to her late husband’s works) and she never received any royalties after its popular release. After years of lawsuits, she demanded that the original film and all copies be destroyed. Thankfully, some copies were saved, and has since become a very popular film. There have been several subsequent adaptations since.
Since Stoker’s Dracula, our society has had a love affair with vampires. Whether it be showing the audience a savage blood-sucking vampire, or a gentle, human-loving and sparkling vampire. Stoker’s vampire shows a recluse century-old vampire who will stop at nothing to get the blood he wants. On the other hand, 115 years later we see a “vegetarian” vampire who shies from direct sunlight because he sparkles in direct sunlight to show the world what he truly is. How has the idea of a deadly vampire changed so much? The first film adaptation, Nosferatu, was especially keen on the scariness of Dracula and vampirism due to it being a silent film. Count Orlok is portrayed as a cold-hearted, blood-sucking thing that will stop at nothing to get what he wants–blood. His visage is not something we see in modern vampire movies. He is old, with long talon-like fingers, his fangs are his two front teeth as opposed to the canines in more recent portrayals. He is a loner, only taking solice in his night time activities. The second adaptation, Dracula, showed a different side of the notorious vampire. In this version, we see a more likeable character. At least, more appealing to the eyes. This adaptation showed a Dracula that walked about at night, and socialized with people. His lust wasn’t just for blood, but we see his endless attempts at getting the woman he wanted. After these movies we see a change in vampires in general. We see hybrids (Blade), long-haired vampires with a love for music (Interview with the Vampire), vampires who love metal music (Queen of the Damned), and now vampires that fall in love with humans and sparkle in direct sunlight (Twilight). There have been many other vampire movies, but we have seen a shift in the potrayal of vampirism. For example, in the popular TV show, True Blood, the vampires make their presence public and try to get equal rights as humans and attempt to live amongst humans openly. In True Blood we also see vampires that are both savage (Russell Edginton) and ones who have good hearts (Jessica).
But what makes vampires so likable to us? Is it their need to drink blood? Is it their immortality? Or is it their powers? It could be all of these. Humans have always had a need to try and find the way around death. Whether it be giving us world possessions to carry on with us in the afterlife as the Egyptians did or to find the fountain of youth so we never grow old and die. Thousands of people watch vampire movies and TV shows in order to live their fantasy of immortality. Anne Rice is one of the most popular gothic horror fiction writers of our time because of our love for Vampires and its lifestyle. Twilight has become one of the most popular teenage stories. Either way, our love for Vampires should be credited towards Bram Stoker. If it wasn’t for him, many of our favorite movies, books, and shows would not be in existence. So we, at Truly Disturbing, say thank you and happy birthday to Bram Stoker.
I would love to hear your comments on what Vampire movies/books/shows you love. I have only mentioned a few, as there are so many of them. Feel free to discuss!
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