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.

dracula_book_cover_1902_doubleday_89

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