1992's "Bram Stoker's Dracula " is an adaptation of the novel by the same name. In 1897, Jonathon Harker is a young lawyer tasked with traveling to Transylvania to finalize the selling of property in London to none other than Count Dracula. He sets off on his travels with the intent of returning and marrying his fiancé Mina. Along his journey and with his arrival, Jonathon experiences many supernatural encounters which do not sway him from completing his business in Transylvania. The Count makes Jonathon uneasy and it is only furthered when Dracula forces him to write letters to his family and work saying that he will be staying in Transylvania longer than expected, making him the Count’s prisoner. Meanwhile Dracula prepares to travel to England by filling crates with Transylvania soil to be placed at his new property. When Dracula arrives in England by way of ship and a violent storm, he preys on Mina’s friend Lucy for her blood while also pursuing Mina (because he believes she is the reincarnation of his dead wife Elizabeta). Van Helsing is called to aid Lucy by one of his old students because Van Helsing is an expert in blood disorders. Although Mina is drawn towards Dracula, she discovers that her fiancé is alive and she must rush to marry him. Dracula is distraught and decides to take Lucy for his new wife instead, but in a fit of rage, ends up killing her (or making her “undead”). Van Helsing and company must pierce her heart with a stake and cut off her head so that she will not wreak havoc upon innocent people of England. When Mina and Jonathon return to England, Van Helsing enlists the help of Jonathon because he has information about where Dracula is residing. While the group goes to Dracula’s new residence to destroy him, Mina stays across the way at the sanitorium in one of the doctor’s rooms and Dracula pays her a visit. Mina realizes he is the vampire who murdered her friend Lucy, and although she is upset, it does not deter her feelings for him. Mina tries to become undead as he is so that they may be together forever, but Van Helsing et al. burst in and Dracula escapes back to Transylvania after he and Mina drank each other’s blood. After evading the group, Dracula makes it back to his castle in Transylvania to duel with the men of the group who follow him back to his home. The group succeeds in leaving Dracula for dead, much to Mina’s dismay and she puts him out of his misery by driving a sword through his heart, decapitating him, and putting him to a final rest.
Dracula Character DevelopmentEdit
Francis Ford Coppola’s film (and by nature Bram Stoker’s novel) depicts a different form of Dracula that many are not used to. Many original representations portray Dracula as a merciless supernatural creature who kills without remorse. This film (and many recent adaptations) aims to humanize the character by giving him a normal appearance in the form of Gary Oldman as a young man, and realistic emotions and motives so that audiences may see pieces of themselves in the character. In this film, Dracula’s wife killed herself because she believed her husband to be dead and because she died in this manner, her soul is damned and she cannot be at peace. Dracula spends his life searching for love and finds it in Mina. It is clear to see the change in Dracula’s demeanor when he sees Jonathon’s picture of Mina as well as throughout the film when he starts to become more human. He depicts love, jealousy, anger, and many more emotions that people find in themselves throughout the course of falling in love. Even when he no longer looks youthful, Mina is not scared away by his grotesque, bat/monster-like appearance. Dracula is only able to find peace in death, but brought upon him by his true love.
Dracula Myth and LoreEdit
The earliest literature that features Dracula is a Russian work titled “The Story About Dracula.” In this story, Dracula is a Christian prince who brings justice to his village in cruel, tortuous ways. He sets fire to a building full of the sick and elderly so that the world will not be burdened by having to take care of them and utilize precious resources. This tale does not mention Dracula as a supernatural being who drinks the blood of others nor cannot bear sunlight as recent works do. Over time, Dracula has converged with the notion of a vampire and has even garnered human-like qualities in modern films and literature. Other vampire traits in fiction
Female Vampire Representation Between the Novel and the Movie Edit
The 19th Century Woman and the Female Vampire: Mina and Dracula's Brides Edit
The vampire women in the novel Dracula and in the film representing said novel features overtly sexual female vampires with the main example being Dracula’s vampire brides. Dracula was written in 1897, the Victorian Age, when sexual gender was forced into differing spheres of influence and power (Source 1). For example, men’s work shifted from store fronts that were managed by the family to male dominated factories. Thus, leaving women at home and inserting them into a purely domesticated role where the household and marriage was the only importance they served (Source 2). Mina Harker, from the novel and movie, is the model of a good Victorian woman who was modest in her clothing and attitude, religious, and loyal to her husband. In the Dracula novel and movie, Dracula’s vampire brides they break these rules and standards by their overt sexuality and, furthermore, embodied all the fears that men harbored over womanhood and its power over men. In the text when Jonathon remembers his encounter with the vampire sisters he writes “There was something about them that made me uneasy, some longing and at the same time some deadly fear. I felt in my heart a wicked, burning desire that they would kiss me with those red lips”. At the same time that Jonathon desired them, he was also repulsed by them because they were not natural woman like his Mina was. In the movie, there is a scene where the sisters encounter Van Helsing with Mina and they attempt to control Mina into attacking Helsing. In this scene, Helsing is adamant about saving Mina because he did not save Lucy. Lucy was more free spirited then most 19th century woman, thus, being between the sexuality of the vampire sisters and the purity of Mina. Helsing protects the standards of womanhood in this battle and denounces the lifestyle that the sisters are representative of. Furthermore, about the threat of womanhood, the concept of Victorian masculinity being undermined by woman’s sexuality is hinted at (Source 3). Harker, while at Dracula’s castle, is womanly. He is being controlled and he often faints (he faints in the novel after Dracula saves him from the vampire sisters in chapter 3), which are both womanly qualities in society and gothic novels at the time. If the vampire sisters represented the threat of womanhood, then Van Helsing’s decapitations of the vampire sisters in the movie would be representative of the reassertion of the male dominance. Female vampires, especially in the novel Dracula and the film Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992), there is a comparison of a respectful Victorian woman and a representation of a fear of the woman gender’s capabilities.
Select Depictions of Dracula in FilmEdit
Dracula vs. Frankenstein
Select Literary Sources Featuring DraculaEdit
The Diaries of the Family Dracul- Jeanne Kalogridis
The Historian- Elizabeth Kostova
Interview with the Vampire- Anne Rice
I Am Dracula- C. Andersson
Dracula: Asylum- Paul Witcover
The Story About Dracula- Efrosin