Today we celebrate the 165th birthday of Mr. Bram Stoker, author of Dracula. You may click the links for more information on the man and his work. Tonight, however, I’m going to talk about vampires. Won’t you join me as I discuss these creatures of the night?
Stoker set the mold for the modern vampire. Prior to Dracula, vampires were largely the stuff of folk tales and superstition. They were cursed dead things that fed on the living. These revenants more often resembled modern zombies than anything sexy, debonair, or sparkly.
Dracula changed all that. Rather than being a repulsive dead thing, The Count was aristocratic, intelligent, and charming. Although still undead and vulnerable to the traditional methods of killing vampires, he also had intriguing supernatural powers and a coven of beautiful women at his command.
What’s not to love?
I’ve been intrigued by vampires since I was a little kid watching Count Von Count playing his pipe organ and laughing between numbers on Sesame Street. (“One! Two! Two batty bats! AH HA HA HA!”)
I don’t guess that fascination ever left me. There was a time when I consumed about everything relating to vampires that I could find. Interestingly enough, I’ve always favored the monstrous ones over the modern anti-heroes. I enjoyed the first few of The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice, for example, but at the same time I wished that Barlow from Salem’s Lot would show up and kick some whiny vampire ass when things got too introspective.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not that unrefined in my literature. But for pure enjoyment I like the monsters.
Dracula is a monster. A really good and mean, evil monster. And he doesn’t sparkle, not one bit.
And the novel holds up. I read it when I was in my vampire phase years ago and I remember it being very suspenseful and fun. I haven’t read it in years but I’ve heard recently that the narrative style works really well in the audiobook format. Since I barely have time to read my watch these days, I think I’m going to try it out.
I think it says a lot about Mr. Stoker that he could write a horror novel that is still scary 115 years later. Many attempts at horror aren’t even scary on the first day.
Tonight I raise my glass of Vampire wine to you sir.