Long before the film there was the written word. Long before we settled down in
front of video or now DVD players for our fright-fests, we would read tales of
terror by candlelight.
For most, this has been lost, however there are still those that prefer the pages
to celluloid or even both and why not?
This section then is for you. To help you to search through the rubbish and find
stories worth your time to read. If you're an avid reader of horror novels then
why not join 'Castle Dracula' as an official 'staff member' reviewing them.
To do so, just click on the 'Join My Staff' link in the menu to the left for details
of this and other vacancies.
- Dracula -
- Bram Stoker -
- Penguin Books -
Published in 1897, Bram Stoker’s Dracula soon became known as a work of pure
genius. Even today, it is much read across the world, and regarded as THE
all-time classical horror story.
Stoker based his Vampiric character on the fifteenth century Wallacian warrior
prince, Vlad Dracule. He researched his novel in great detail, visiting the region
of Hungary and Romania that Vlad ruled, and reading ancient manuscripts and
stories. The actual novel is written as a series of diary extracts, and the people
involved submitted their diaries after the event in order to make sense of it.
This perhaps resembles the way that time fragments history. Through time, stories
are changed and manipulated – and this in turn, makes them all the more mysterious
and thrilling. There is a possibility that Stoker was trying to tell us that perhaps
the events were exaggerated through different people’s perceptions of them. Even at
the end of the novel, we do not know whether pieces of the story were left out or
changed. This leaves us with a sensation of emptiness. We do not know whether to
believe it as a true story; or a work of complete fantasy; or if we have been informed
of all the gory details or not.
In the story, we meet Jonathan Harker, who leaves his beloved fiancé, Mina, to travel
to the remote land of Transylvania. He is there in order to organise the finances of
a Count Dracula, who is buying an estate in England. Harker soon becomes suspicious of
Dracula’s motives. He asks himself why there are no mirrors in Castle Dracula; why he
is forbidden to enter a particular part of the Castle; and where Count Dracula disappears
to during the day. He realises that not all is what it seems to be in the remote Castle,
nestled amidst the Carpathian Mountains.
Dracula’s intentions soon become clear. He intends to create a race of Vampires to rule
the world. Such an idea would place the Human race second in the food chain, instead
of being on top of it. Such an idea is so immense, and the implications are terrible.
A race of Vampires would reduce Human beings to the role of animals. They would be
farmed as cattle, and drained of their blood. Together with Professor Van Helsing,
Harker and a few others seek to hunt down the Demon and destroy him. This is revenge
for their beloved Lucy, who fell at the hands of Dracula; for Mina, who becomes a
communication portal for Dracula; and for the sake of mankind.
This is a story about good against evil. It depends upon the late Victorian ideal that
good shall always triumph. The almighty God must win against Satan in the end.
Together with this, Stoker seems to depict the social classes of the era to be corrupt.
If the lower classes are not repressed, then they will turn into a raving monster that
consumes and possesses all that stands in it’s way.
I love this novel dearly, and I hope that others will too. Even if you are a devout
reader of contemporary horror, this is still a must. The story of Dracula underpins
most horror stories that follow it, as well as the whole literary ‘Horror’ genre.
Reviewed By Lizabet.
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