There can never be too many studies on Bram Stokers 'Dracula', so here's another short one...
Dracula has always been a favourite story of mine, so much so that I shunned Twilight in high school, as the sparkly vampire aesthetic didn't fit my mental image of what a true Vampire was.
I still love Dracula to this day, which is why I've put together some stuff I love and loathe about the novel and its other forms, along with what I'd like to see in the future as far as adaptations go.
I recently watched the 2020 TV Series, starring Claes Bang and Dolly Wells. Instantly this series makes changes from the book, but they keep the dark tones and general feeling of the original story. The main change, for me, was Sister Agatha Van Helsing. I found it refreshing to watch the way a female Van Helsing would interact with Dracula, despite its romanticised ending which felt a little cliche to me. The plot hints at Dracula having known Agatha's ancestors, which I thought was a clever touch as it further immortalises him. I also loved the original feel at the beginning and the slow transformation into the 21st Century.
The 1992 film, starring Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder and Keanu Reeves, is beautiful to watch. The costumes, set and direction have a lovely aesthetic and the plot actually follows the book quite closely. This film, like the novel, concentrates more on those who've come into contact with Dracula, rather than the Vampire itself.
Let's talk about the actual novel...
There were parts that I struggled to get through, mainly because it's a slow burner but also because I, personally, don't think the women were written very well at all.
It's a testament to the time. The fact that Mina can't just be clever, she is only clever because "she has the mind of a man".
The character of Lucy came across as whiny to me and overly grateful for the smallest kindness. I lost count (no pun intended) of the number of times where someone was "so good" to her. It also took a very long time for her to die, to the point where I lost sympathy for her. The 1992 film adaptation changed my mind about Lucy's character, for she fought and had so much life about her, whilst in the book, she seemed to wallow in self-pity.
What would I like to see in the future?
A version where every single role is gender-reversed or neutralised. A female Dracula and Van Helsing, a male Mina and Lucy, etc. I'd love to see what dynamic that would bring. There are so many versions that have tried to stay true to the original, and so many versions that have swayed almost completely. I'd love to see something fresh, a modern version, with diversity that keeps the dark sadistic feel but also branches out to explore newer horror tropes.
Thanks so much for reading,