Popular culture has watered down Bram Stoker’s original concept for the vampire Dracula.
He hocks cereal on Saturday morning television. He counts numbers on Sesame Street. To Mel Brooks, he’s “dead, and loving it.” Stephanie Meyer’s Edward, in the Twilight Saga, bears little resemblance to the undead creature envisioned by Stoker, the one that clambered over windowsills to feast at the necks of hapless maidens.
Critical interpretations of Dracula (1897) range from psychoanalytical to an attack on female sexuality. Indeed, there’s something of everything for the literary theorist to analyze in Dracula. But, at its heart, it remains a horror story, one that involves one of the most frightening supernatural entities ever created on page.
Yes, you will recognize the main characters and their traits. Dracula’s dupe Harker, the vampire hunter Van Helsing, the virginal Mina Murray, the wanton Lucy, etc. And while it’s probably difficult to come to Stoker’s novel without your own preconceived notions on the nature of these characters, it’s best to leave them behind once you crack the book’s spine.
Stoker’s Dracula is not the dashing romantic hero imagined by countless Hollywood pictures. He’s a force of nature, a malevolent evil being, the last of his kind.
Humans are his meat.
Think Jaws in a cape.