Juliette’s Monday Book Club: Don’t Mess With The Original – Dracula

This is both a book review and kind of a rant. Fair warning.

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In 1897 something extraordinary in both popular fiction and popular culture happened. Irish author Bram Stoker’s book Dracula was published.

Dracula introduced the iconic vampire Count Dracula.

The book is written brilliantly in the form of letters and diary entries.

This is the plot in less than three hundred words: Young attorney Jonathan Harker goes to Count Dracula’s castle to help facilitate a move from Transylvania to England. Harker finds himself in a strange and scary situation but makes it home. Dracula also makes it to England. The rest of the story is about Harker, Professor Abraham Van Helsing, and various friends trying to stop Dracula from stealing their women, and doing other horrible things. There is also a wonderful story of Renfield a bat shit crazy patient of Dr. Stewart. Renfield is controlled in a weird twisted fandom sort of way by Dracula. Of course there at the very Victorian main squeezes Mina and Lucy. Some people get bitten. Some don’t. Some make it. Some don’t. It is a fantastic brilliant book and oh so interesting to read. Stoker did an outstanding job making it all real. And I have an appointment to get to so I’m making this really fast today.

READ THE BOOK.

I bring this up because, in my opinion, nobody has ever done a screen version of this story that really follows the spirit of the book or does justice to the story.

Then there are those fans who obsess with every little detail of the book. Seriously folks, it was written as popular fiction by an author who managed a successful theater, hobnobbed with royalty and other popular authors of the time (Oscar Wilde among them) and wrote many other stories and books. This story is fun but nobody is expected to write their dissertation on what the “blue light” means.

Anyway, back to film and TV…

I recently attempted to watch the new Netflix version of Dracula. OMG it was bad. I couldn’t get through the first episode. It was painful to watch. You’d be better off checking out some of the old Hammer films with Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing. At least those had some entertainment and production value. The Netflix version is the WORST version of Dracula I have ever witnessed or imagined.

With the Netflix series they had to include weird nuns, bad special effects, juvenile and unnecessary references to sex (gotta get in all of the sex), and horrible casting choices.

If you’re going to make a TV series or movie about Vampires make it NEW. Make a NEW STORY with NEW VAMPIRES. Don’t take a classic and mangle it.

Too few people have had the pleasure of reading the original Dracula. If you haven’t read it PLEASE read it. If you have read it, read it again.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Short Story Sunday: Playing Dracula

With chips and salsa, a cold beer, and two cats sharing the couch with him Jake studied the script to the yet untitled take on the story of Dracula.

With the sorry assed version of the story now showing on Netflix this play could either make or break his career. This version, written by his best friend Rick DeMarco, would run as a play for six month, then if a success would be made into a major motion picture, with Jake playing Dracula.

This version would take place in the present, in the early 20’s with Dracula portrayed in a sympathetic light, more as a misunderstood victim of discrimination. This be a Dracula who preferred jeans and a tee shirt to a red lined opera cape and tails. He thought he’d lobby for paring jeans with a white button down shirt with the sleeves rolled up as well. Women loved that look.

Of course Dracula would be hot. No doubt the most attractive Vampire ever to hit the stage or screen. Jake shrugged that one off but was secretly flattered.

Rehearsals wouldn’t start in two weeks but since Chloe had left him he had more free evenings. She’d dumped Jake for some guy she claimed was more spiritually grounded than Jake would ever be. Of course the guy was also richer than Jake would ever be, not that Jake wasn’t well off. Rather than party his money away with an entourage and series of huge mansions he’d settled into a comfortable older home in Long Beach a block from the beach and away from adoring fans and extra drama.

He read the script aloud for a few minutes, trying to get the right inflection in his voice.

Van Helsing: You know you must die.

Dracula: We all die eventually, but tonight isn’t a good time for either of us.

Van Helsing: You aren’t going to talk me out of this.

Dracula: Damn this script is horrible. Maybe I’ll just do that romantic Western I was offered yesterday. I grew up around horses. It would be a shoe in for an Oscar.

Van Helsing: You sure won’t get any award nominations with this script.

Jake put down the script and rubbed his eyes. He put up the chips and salsa, then grabbed another beer out of the fridge.

As soon as he sat down the door bell rang. It was 10:00 on a Saturday night. He wasn’t expecting anyone.

At the front door was a vision of loveliness, a Hollywood cliche, a beautiful woman in a short black leather skirt, a cream colored silk and lace camisole top and platinum blonde hair. Stiletto heeled sandals dangled from one hand. A smile was on her red lips.

“Irma. Wow. It’s been a while. Come in.”

Irma Snowberry. Jake had met her at a party a few years before. She was wearing a long silk evening gown the color of pale gold and silver mixed with stardust. Only Irma could wear a dress like that so well. He met her again a year later and taken her home for the night. After a night of incredible sex he slept like a dead man and didn’t see her again. The number she’d given him was out of order. He looked her up and only found obituaries of long dead women.

Irma. He doubted that was her real name. His mom had once made a comment about all of the girls his age having grandma names, but he imagined Irma must be her stage name, or just a fake name she used when she wanted to have some noncommittal company for a night.

“I was in the neighborhood and thought I’d stop by and see you,” she said with a voice as smooth as her pale bare skin. Why was he even thinking this way, like he was in some sort of bad movie or romance novel?

He felt sort of self conscience in his pajama pants and tee shirt that read Cat Dad across the front. Oh well. It was Saturday and he was at home in his own house. Comfort was the only thing that mattered. He didn’t have to look good for his cats.

Jake invited Irma in, offered her a drink, and sat her down on the couch next to the cats.  The tabby cat Willy hissed and ran off. Maggy the black cat hid under a chair and sat with wide green eyes.

“I hear you’ve been offered the role of Dracula,” said Irma.

“Uh, sure. I’m reading the script right now. I’m not 100% sure I’ll take it.” Jake didn’t want to talk about the part. He never liked to talk about his roles until he was either onstage or the movie was out in theaters.

“Do you believe in Vampires Jake?” Irma licked her red lips in a way that was both exciting and kind of weird.

“No. Do you?”

“Yes, I do Jake. I do believe in Vampires,” said Irma.

Jake woke on Sunday morning alone in his bed without his pajama pants or his Cat Dad shirt. He didn’t remember anything from the night before except that Irma had dropped by and he’d let her in. He moved to get up and felt a sharp pain in his neck.

New pillows. I’ve got to get new pillows today, he thought to himself.

The cats sat on the couch curled up together. They both looked up with green eyes then ran into the kitchen for breakfast.

Irma hadn’t left a note or a phone number, or anything except lipstick marks on a wine glass. Next time, if there was a next time, he’d ask her what happened. Or maybe he’d just tell her that he was busy or involved with someone. He had no desire to see her again. She was no doubt a user just like Chloe. On the other hand there was something weird about her. He’d do more research and ask around about her.

The phone rang. It was his friend and Dracula producer Rick.

“So what do you think of the script?” Rick asked.

“You know, I hate to do this to you but I think I’ll pass on it. I just don’t think it is a good match for me.”

“You liked the idea yesterday.”

“I know, but I just don’t feel easy about it. Remember that woman Irma? She came over last night. It was weird, and you know, it has nothing to do with the script. We didn’t even talk about it, but this morning, I just feel uncomfortable with it.”

“Sounds like you need more coffee dude. I’ll talk to you about it later when you’re awake.”

Jake fed his cats and stared some coffee. He thought about Irma and all of the obituaries, then felt the two bug bites on his neck. He pulled on a sweatshirt and sat out on his deck.

The Western was sounding a lot better. Besides he liked horses. He liked them a lot better than bats.

The cats ate their food and Jake sipped his coffee, as the pages of the script were caught by a stray wind and drifted out in the wind over his deck and vanished into the Sunday morning fog.

No, it wasn’t a good time to play Dracula. Maybe it never would be.

~ end

 

tangled-tales

Short Story Sunday at Vampiremaman.com

2020 Juliette Kings

 

2019 Summer Reading: Dracula, Frankenstein, and Other 19th Century Horrors

For me summer reading means picking up a variety of books. It means trying out new books, as well as revisiting old friends.

After a steady diet of mysteries, romances, and modern literary fiction, sometimes we need to sit around the proverbial camp fire and be scared silly.

Oh by the way, this blog is inhabited by Vampires, and we read. We usually don’t sit around and read Vampire books but when we do we like it to be interesting.

Dracula – Annotated

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Dracula is a fun, unusual, and well written book.

Unfortunately, as with many books that grab the imagination, Dracula has been made into a lot of awful movies that only vaguely capture the story line. You have to read the book.

I recommend adding “The Annotated Dracula” which is Dracula by Bram Stoker, with an introduction, Notes, and Bibliography by Leonard Wolf. The book also includes maps, drawings, and photographs, plus beautiful illustrations by Satty.

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Mr. Wolf, who sadly passed away earlier this year, also created annotated versions of Frankenstein, The Strange Case of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, and The Phantom of the Opera,

Note: An annotated book is a book that includes notes and images about the book. It is more than just foot notes. Please see the photos I’ve included.

There are many annotated versions of Dracula from 1975. I recommend this one. It is out of print but you can find copies on eBay, other online sources, your library, and at your local used book store. Ask around.

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This is hours of good fun, and you’ll get to read the ORIGINAL.

 

Gris Grimly’s Frankenstein

Assembled from the original text by Mary Shelley

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For a lot of people Frankenstein can be a difficult read. First published in 1818 it quickly became a classic. However, it was written in 1818 and is sometimes puzzling and odd to many modern readers. I love the book, but I understand if it isn’t always easy.

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Like with Dracula, NOBODY has made a movie true to the book. READ THE BOOK. Get the real story.

A great version to start with is the illustrated version from one of my favorite illustrators Gris Grimly. Yes, it is a graphic novel. Yes, you will like it. Yes it is strangely weird and ugly and beautiful at the same time just like the original story.

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Get a copy, put it in your tote bag, back pack, satchel, or purse and carry it with you all summer. Savor it with a tall glass of something cold and remember to keep a light on later in the night.

 

Now for a different kind of horror…

 

The House of Mirth

by Edith Wharton

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Imagine living in a world where social status and money rules every chance of happiness you have. Imagine being a woman with no power over her own life, and who is judged and brutally unforgiven by every choice she makes – by the people who should be her own. Welcome to the cruel world of the 1870’s and how a women who is of the upper class, but with nobody to protect her is left to fend for herself in a world that has no place for women like her. This is the story of Lily Bart, beautifully told by Edith Wharton.

This book is brilliant, but frustrating and tragic. This is also a reminder to get out and vote in every single election so that the rights and opportunities for women everywhere will not be taken away.

The House of Mirth can be found in every bookstore and every library.

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High Fashion 1870’s

 

Happy summer reading and feel free to leave your comments or reading suggestions in the comments.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

 

 

 

 

Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi

Béla Ferenc Dezső Blaskó (20 October 1882 – 16 August 1956),

October 20! Happy Birthday Bela Lugosi

Bite Me!

He is best known for his starring role in Dracula, but this Vampires favorite Bela Lugosi movie is the 1945 film The Body Snatcher with Boris Karloff. Now THAT is a great movie. And creeeeeeeeeepy.

 

Have fun and wishing everyone born in October a Happy Birthday.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman

Bela by Jason Kemp

Bela by Jason Kemp

Dracula Lives

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Oh the romance with Vampires. Who doesn’t love a well dressed blood sucking man coming into their bedroom in the middle of the night? Nothing makes you feel sexy like the scrape of a fang against your neck, or the sound of your heart beating with fear in your exposed chest.

Monster magazines and comics have always been, and always will be popular. My favorites are the Fanzeens – wonderful publications created by fans.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful in the fanzines and small craft publications.

The artwork is absolutely beautiful in the fanzines and small craft publications.

Yesterday I visited my friend Steve who somehow ended up with boxes of monster magazines that he is now selling on ebay (super cheap thrills – priced to sell.) Of course I was immediately attracted to the artwork on these things. I’d frame a lot of this stuff. Just imagine a wall of eight or nine framed pieces in a square arrangement. Nice.

I’m just going to share a few so you can get your classic movie type Vampire fix (since you usually don’t get it here since I’m not that kind of Vampire, well, not usually.)

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Just when you think you have some privacy with your girl and somebody else shows up…

 

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What’s for dinner? Stakes!

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Monster Magic from Forest J Ackerman

Monster Magic from Forest J Ackerman

 

Vlad to see you. Vampire thrills for everyone! Cheap thrills too.

Vlad to see you. Vampire thrills for everyone! Cheap thrills too.

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Hope you enjoyed the artwork.

This week more and more old monster, Vampire, Frankenstein, Aliens, Star Wars, and other related film magazines and comic books will go up for auction. All auctions start at $0.99. Yes, everything is going for cheap. There are also “buy it now” opportunities. Some of the descriptions are as good/fun as the magazines.

The seller is sfk1999. He usually specializes in watches, estate jewelry and other antiques, but lucky for us this week he has monsters and Vampires.

And today a couple of Peter Cushing autographs are going up for sale. Woo Hoo.

Click here to the link for one of the auctions then check out everything else he is selling: http://www.ebay.com/itm/Dracula-Lives-May-1975-12-Marvel-Monster-Group-Stan-Lee-Presents-/182065279100?hash=item2a63efb07c:g:UAUAAOSwxcRW84-r

If you’re interested in buying everything left in this huge stash Steve has (a lot hasn’t been posted yet on ebay) call him at his shop: Crown Precious Metals, Sacramento California (in beautiful East Sacramento.) (916) 456-6227.

Have fun.

~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman