Dracula Chapter 2 – Background

At the beginning of this chapter, Jonathan Harker has arrived at Dracula’s castle. As we have discussed, Bram Stoker never traveled to Transylvania himself and imagined the Romanian setting based on his research at the British library. Below are some images of the REAL Dracula’s (Vlad Tepes’s) castle, Bran Castle.

And here are some pictures of how it has been imagined.

In this chapter, we also meet Dracula himself (at least, as he is presenting himself – who might that coach driver have been?). There have been many interpretations of Dracula’s physique in film.

nosferatu

The 1922 silent film Nosferatu was clearly inspired by Dracula, even though the main character’s name is Count Orlok. You can see that they definitely play up the monstrous side of his appearance – his hands appear to have claws, and his fangs are visible.

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This scene from the 1922 Nosferatu is one of the most famous in all of cinematic history; it’s a fantastic visual representation of dramatic irony (which I’m sure you all recall is when the reader – or viewer – is aware of something that a character is not).

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Bela Lugosi’s Dracula (above) is the one with which you are probably the most familiar, from the 1931 film. (Lugosi was actually an East European – Hungarian – actor, and a very interesting person in his own right.)

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This interpretation of Dracula emphasized the elegant, aristocratic side of his persona.

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Honestly, I have no idea what’s going on with the interpretation of famed director Francis Ford Copolla’s 1992 Dracula and that bizarre hairstyle. Perhaps he was thinking of 18th century French aristocrats (but that’s just a guess)?

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And Leslie Nielsen does an excellent job of spoofing FFC’s character in Dracula: Dead and Loving It.

Of course, in our post-modern, millennial era, we have a new spin on this old character:

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Gerard Butler in Dracula 2000, which in case the title is not obvious enough, is about making the Dracula story relevant to today.

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Jonathan Rhys Meyers in the television series premised on what would happen in Dracula came to the United States.

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And of course, in his most recent incarnation, Dracula played by Luke Evans in the origin story Dracula Untold (2014).

One thing that I notice in assembling these portrayals is that it appears – to me, at least – that the character of Dracula has been moving along the spectrum from monster towards sympathetic character (he is literally becoming more human) – in the last film, he’s even the hero. Anyway, it’s interesting to see how Bram Stoker’s novel has been interpreted and re-imagined over the course of almost 100 years.

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