sometimes witty book reviews
The original and the best. Any vampire story written post-Bram Stoker is ultimately a dilution of the original tale (except maybe for The Last Vampire series by Christopher Pike). Not only is Dracula the one of first vampire stories published (circa. 1897) but one of the first to use modern technology to combat an ‘ancient evil’ (like the 19th century’s Doctor Who vs. Daleks). Though phonograph, telegraph, typewriter and electric torch may be archaic today, Stoker is writing for his time as epic a battle as HBO’s True Blood.
Stoker does creepy exceptionally well. Something I believe results from the sensitivities of his time. Gore and guts and excessive depictions of violence were shocking in even minutest proportion (compared to today) so thrills and chills were delivered in fantastic prose. Yes it’s wordy, pre-turn-of-century and a touch long winded. But how evocative is this description?
There was a deliberate voluptuousness that was both thrilling and repulsive. And as she arched her neck she actually licked her lips like an animal till I could see in the moonlight the moisture that lapped the white, sharp teeth. Lower and lower went her head. I closed my eyes in a languorous ecstasy and waited.
…I just don’t think Twilight ever quite grabbed me like that.
Dracula has reaffirmed my love of the gothic novel and made me realise something; I read a lot of vampire fiction. Real vampire fiction. It’s beginning to feel like an obsession actually. I am presently hunting for a copy of Sheridan le Fanu’s Carmilla (the first lesbian vampire, 1872) and John William Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819 – the original blood-drainer publication).