I was thinking about vampires, Dracula in particular, and I just thought I'd write up a short piece. I could elaborate so much more, but there's just so much I could say on the tributaries of subjects pertaining to the main, and if I were going to go into that much detail I would have to do a ton and a half of research and I may as well write a book about it. So, out of enthusiasm alone, I decided to just superficially skim the topic for fun.
In my mind, there are two actors who bring life to the infamous Dracula. When I think "DRACULA", I think of either Christopher Lee or Bela Lugosi. However, while Christopher Lee was one of the greatest Draculas ever, Bela Lugosi standardized the popular vision of what a vampire should be. He was and is the ultimate movie monster. I do love seeing the fresh new versions, with the long hair and more modern rock-star persona. But, without the novel, it's quite possible that Dracula would have merely gone down in history as some unknown figure in some obscure country. Imagine! Transylvania, Romania would be just another place in the world!
Before getting into the vampire version of Dracula, let me first give a tiny bit of background that may have inspired Bram Stoker's timeless classic. Vladimir Dracula (Dracula meaning "Son of the Dragon") was and is to this day revered as a hero in his country. He had cruel ways of eradicating his enemies, the most famous known as the "Forest of the Impaled". His victims were sent over cliffs, meeting with a gruesome end as they came crashing down upon sharp stakes. Who knows how long they survived the torment before their bodies succumbed to the painful wounds and the elements? The suffering they endured can only be imagined. There was a depiction of Dracula eating dinner in front of the "Forest", and it was said that he was feasting on the bodies and drinking the blood from his victims. On the contrary, I've also heard that the picture was just showing him having his daily non-cannibalistic lunch as he watched his victims for entertainment, and that he had never even sipped the blood of his victims. I can't claim to know what is true, and for every "fact" I have found, I have found another "fact" to contradict it. I'm sure that there are many reasons for the more outlandish stories. Maybe to sell Gothic merchandise or to promote Dracula's Castle as a tourist attraction, or maybe just for the sake of keeping the legend alive. And who knows what the truth is? I would love to go into greater detail on Vlad the Impaler, about what I know and what I've heard, but because of the inconsistencies out there, I'll save that for the experts. Besides, I kinda like the mystery.
When Bela Lugosi graced the screen in 1931, it created a visual of what a vampire should be. Slicked back hair. Piercing eyes. The eerie smile. That debonair presence and charisma. The cape. And that accent! He was amazing. One-of-a-kind. And even now, it is the classic image of a vampire that not even time can erode.
Now, onto the book! Abraham Stoker (Yes, his name was Abraham, Bram for short; I've had people argue that fact with me and some have even gotten pretty nasty about it! LOL) wrote his masterpiece and even visited Romania to gain some understanding of the place. What I love about the book is that it was written and set in Stoker's time. I love the whole feel of it and getting a glimpse of a different day and time from the perspective of his characters. It's as close to a time machine as I'll ever get!
But the amazing thing about it all? The original Dracula was born in 1431, over 600 years ago! The book was published over 100 years ago in 1897. And Bela Lugosi gave him stage presence 80 years ago, and Christopher Lee only 50 years ago. Just think of all the changes that have taken place in these time spans. It boggles my mind!!! And even now, there are documentaries and movies being made, and even new stories featuring the character. And, even with our modern technology, Dracula is still a well-known character to this day! And in a sense, Dracula (and even those who are so closely associated with the stories and the name) has truly achieved immortality.
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