Bram Stoker's
external image dracula_title_print_hi_res_one_drop.jpg



THE NOVEL

Bram Stoker's Dracula was first published in 1897, and for the first time introduced to the world a character by the name of Count Dracula. The novel tells the story of the Dracula's attempt to relocate from Transylvania and England. The story is told by many different characters who document the events through journal entries and diaries. The story is about the battle between Count Dracula and a group of men and women who have been adversely affected by the Count's actions. Although Bram Stoker did not invent the "Vampire", he introduced the world to the modern view of what the Vampire is and drew a map for every adaptation that followed over the next century.The book is considered to be in many different literary genres. The genres include vampire , horror fiction, gothic, and invasion literature.

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcTQkXd0Th5d7usaFX_ewh4bYAxBr5NgWmmlM0BiCS55l32D4LKHQJ9YE5Tw
Bram Stoker's Dracula. First published in 1897.

The novel was not an immediate success on it's first publication, however, during the modern era the novel seemed to gain popularity. The success of the novel picked up momentum when film adaptations began to be appear. As with many adaptations, the novel's popularity substantially increased after the films began to use Bram Stoker's novel.



EARLY FILM ADAPTATIONS

Many film adaptations have taken form based on Bram Stoker's original idea. Bram Stoker introduced to the world an enormous vampire subculture that has lasted since its inception. Joel Griswell, from the College of DuPage, wrote an essay about the film adaptations that Bram Stoker inspired. Griswell wrote:

"Filmakers have also been seduced by these classic stories [Vampires] and hundreds of films have revolved around the vampire mythos . . . .Yet, inescapably, these films are drawn back to their classic birthplace--Dracula himself" (59).
In 1931, a film was produced by Universal pictures called "Dracula". In this adaptation many of Bram Stoker's original intent was secured, however, the roles and events of Jonathan Harker and Remfield were combined together. For instance, in the novel Jonathan Harker was the solicitor who helps the Count purchase land in London but in the movie Remfield is used to introduce the Count instead.

external image 220px-Dracula1931poster.jpg
The 1931 film directed by Tod Browning.
In 1958, another adaptation was introduced, directed by Terence Fisher called "Dracula". This was the first in a multiple set of series called "Hammer Horrors". This adaptation was widely recognized as successful but does deviate from the original novel. Jonathon Harker is not a solicitor but instead a librarian/vampire hunter and there is no voyage from Transylvania to England.

Original 1958 Dracula Poster
Original 1958 Dracula Poster

Original 1958 Dracula Poster

One of the reasons this 1958 adaptation was so successful was largely because of the actors. Particularly, Peter Cushing's role of Dr. Van Hesling and Christopher Lee's role of the Count seem to take center stage. As you can see below, each character appears to represent a gothic and mysterious persona.

external image images?q=tbn:ANd9GcSZE-5aHD-n8j8L8V9tuSUI6QFts7-7Rq0pA3qKJkZgRdWHtHRfb2EVkBAC
Peter Cushing (left) and Christopher Lee (right)


LATER FILM ADAPTATIONS

In 1992 the film "Bram Stoker's Dracula" debuted with top name actors. This film was directed by Francis Ford-Coppola and stars the following big-name actors:

Gary Oldman: Count Dracula
Winona Ryder: Mina Harker
Anthony Hopkins: Professor Ambraham Van Helsing
Keanu Reeves: Jonathan Harker
Sadie Frost: Lucy Westenra

The adaptation was considered by critics to rescue Bram Stoker's vision after "so many campy interpretations" (rottentomatoes.com). The film stayed true to Bram Stoker's intent and was considered to be a faithful adaptation.


1992 Trailor of Copolla's "Bram Stoker's Dracula"



VIDEO GAMES

Although there have been numerous video games which have Vampires in them, Bram Stoker's Dracula has only one adaptation. The video game "Bram Stoker's Dracula" was released in 1995 on multiple gaming systems. The game focuses on the roles of Jonathan Harker and Professor Abraham Van Helsing. The two heroins battle multiple villains which include Lucy; the manipulative three brides; a fire breathing dragon; Renfield; and of course Dracula.

external image 250px-DraculaSNES_boxart.jpg
Front cover of the 1995 video game "Bram Stoker's Dracula"



PROFESSOR ABRAHAM VAN HELSING

Bram Stoker's novel introduced a heroin which took center stage, Professor Abraham Van Helsing. As the most popular character, Professor Abraham Van Hesling is the bold, intelligent, and brave Doctor who is retrieved by his colleague, Dr. Seward, after all attempts to capture Dracula fail. Dr. Van Helsing is diverse in his knowledge of the paranormal and helps the group track and eventually kills Count Dracula. Professor Abraham Van Helsing has been used in many other adaptations, including other films that revolve around his character. Best know as a vampire hunter, Van Helsing is considered the arch-enemy of Count Dracula.

In 2004, the film "Van Helsing" was released which follows the adventures of Professor Van Helsing as he tracks and captures different historical beasts, including Count Dracula.

external image hugh_jackman_in_van_helsing.jpg
Hugh Jackman as Professor Abraham Van Helsing in the 2004 film, "Van Helsing".

Video games have also used this brave and intellegent character. Considered a faithful adaptation from the movie "Van Helsing", the video game "Van Helsing" allows users to gather different weapons to track and kill different historical beasts, just as the movie did. As you can see below, the character of the game is indeed Hugh Jackman.

external image Van_Helsing_Coverart.png
Van Helsing video game is a third-person shooter game



VAMPIRES AND POPULAR CULTURE

Vampires have also leaked into popular culture through other novels. One that is currently very popular among adults and teenagers is the "Twilight" series. Introduced as a series of novels, the author Stephenie Meyer uses Vampires as the premise of the story. Although not a direct adaptation of "Bram Stoker's Dracula" it does use the same romantic elements as the original. This is not considered a faithful adaptation but definitely has some of the same qualities as the original such as feeding off the living.

The twilight saga hardback.jpg
The twilight saga hardback.jpg
The Twilight Book Series
Based on the success of the books "Twilight", a series of films followed which only increased the popularity of the book.
external image 220px-Twilight_%282008_film%29_poster.jpg
2008 Twilight Film

Since the "Twilight" releases, Vampires have become quite popular among teenagers and continue to sell out movie theatres. The success of "Twilight" ensures that Vampires will continue to live on. Perhaps though, not as Bram Stoker would have imagined . . .


external image 100622-ent-eclipsecamp-hmed.grid-6x2.jpg
Twilight fan waiting in line


SOURCES

  1. Griswell, Joel. Dracula: Bram Stoker Meets Francis Ford Coppola, Essai. Vol. 6, Article 23 (2008)
  2. Klinger, Leslie. The New Annotated Dracula. W.W. Norton & Co., 2008
  3. Huges, William. Beyond Dracula: Bram Stoker's Fiction and its Cultural Contexts (Basingstoke: Macmillan, 2000)
  4. RottenTomatoes.com