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Dracula, the Gothic Pimp

October 29, 2013

vampire mouthDespite my almost unnatural love for the thriller – especially the spy thriller – my favorite novel of all time is actually Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It is, in my humble opinion, the most highly original and genuinely terrifying story I have ever read. Bram Stoker has brought into the public consciousness a character so confounding, erudite, and manly in the classical sense, that I think it’s safe to say that he’s the only monster that makes women want to both scream and swoon.

The whole vampire genre has given new meaning to the Bible’s warning to resist “the glamor of evil.” It has turned us into undead junkies and actually convinced us that becoming a murdering, blood sucking, night-dwelling, hell-bound, semi-immortal creature might not be so bad. Not if we get to spend much of that time cozying up to the count in his coffin.

And while Frank Langella was probably the first to interpret our favorite vampire (no, not Edward) in a blatantly romantic way, the raw material was always there.romantic dracula

Dracula looks a woman straight in the eyes and stares blatantly, lustfully at her body. He runs his lips softly over the skin of her neck. He whispers his needs into her ear. Salacious moves aside, his manners are courtly and well, perfect. According to legend, he can’t even enter your house unless you invite him in.

He’s a pretty good dresser, too, in an old fashioned sort of way. And can he dance? You bet! No white man’s overbite there.

But I think what makes Dracula such a fine ladies man in spite of his obvious limitations – namely being a demon from hell who wants to drain you of all of your blood – is something many of us women are loathe to admit. It’s what makes the modern man – schooled in the art of sensitive conduct – want to slam his fist into a table and scream “Unfair!” and makes liberated women from all over seethe with righteous anger.

It’s that like it or not, when Dracula unbuttons the top button of our lacy nightgown and says in that deep, commanding voice of his, “You will cross land or sea to do my bidding,” even the most strident of us want to whisper, “Okay.”awake

  1. thedarkphantom permalink

    Love this post! Very well articulated!

  2. Thanks, Mayra. Any Halloween festivities in Belgium?

  3. Great post 🙂 As much of a reader as I am, I’ve never read the original Dracula. Reading this post makes me want to badly though. You’re so right, there’s a little in all of us that would succumb to his power.

  4. I highly recommend it, Caitlin. I could read it again tomorrow 🙂 if only I had the time.

  5. Very nice. Thank you.

  6. Ha! Very good. I remember reading the original Dracula in high school and being completely transported. Unfortunately I’ve been sated with vampires since then. What once seemed an eerie marriage of the gothic with the transgressive now seems cliched. Good essay. ken

  7. Reblogged this on abracadabrasite and commented:
    & right back to the erotic porn blog 😉

  8. Thoroughly enjoyable! I recently watched Dracula (Frank Langella) and see the scenes play across my mind as you write. Screaming and swooning…

  9. Sean P Carlin permalink

    Vampires have always been most effective when utilized as a metaphor for sexuality; that’s why the chaste or “neutered” vampire, à la Twilight, is completely counterintuitive. It’s amazing we didn’t really get a romantic or sexualized Count until Langella’s performance (which I wish I could’ve seen onstage as originated). Gary Oldman, for my money, offers the most dimensional interpretation of Dracula, taking him from the warrior prince of history to the ancient, monstrous bloodsucker reminiscent of Nosferatu (with shades of Lugosi), and then the Victorian romantic who seduces Mina (to Wojciech Kilar’s beautiful score). That Oldman was able to pull off all of that so believably — that he evoked so many of the previous incarnations yet delivered something greater than the sum of its parts — makes him my favorite actor to essay the role.

  10. I love Gary Oldman! And I don’t know whose interpretation of Dracula I like better – his or Langella’s. They’re both so different, but just brilliant. Years ago, I toyed with writing a series based on the original Vlad the Impaler, chronicling his life as a prince and his early years as a vampire. But I was in the middle of other stories at the time and I think I missed the moment.

    • Sean P Carlin permalink

      A few years ago, I pitched a TV series based on Florescu and McNally’s Dracula: Prince of Many Faces that would’ve been an ensemble-driven, decades-spanning historical-fantasy narrative in the style of Rome and Game of Thrones set during the Wallachian and Moldavian campaigns of the Ottoman Wars. Dracula as a character — both historical and folkloric — lends himself to perennial reinterpretation; he just continues to inspire the imagination!

      Nice essay, Victoria!

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  1. Stoker’s Manuscript by Royce Prouty | Excursions Into Imagination

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