“I find that joke to be hilar­i­ous!”

Cred­it for that genius pun goes to a book club friend who shout­ed it out dur­ing a meet­ing.  Dur­ing the mon­th of Octo­ber we read Drac­u­la, and at first I wasn’t on board. I thought Jonathan Hark­er was a com­plete idiot (appro­pri­ate­ly played by Keanu Reeves in Coppola’s ver­sion) and I could bare­ly get past the sce­nes where VERY OBVIOUSLY TERRIBLE THINGS should have turned him around on his jour­ney to Dracula’s castle. If peo­ple looked at me and con­stant­ly made the sign of the cross I would may­be reeval­u­ate my deci­sions in life. But real­ly.

I am very hap­py I stuck with it though. As the diary entries from Hark­er decreased and the let­ters and entries from oth­er char­ac­ters like Mina, Dr. Seward, and Van Hels­ing increased, I was sucked in. One thing I love about this book is how every­one is con­stant­ly telling each oth­er how much they love each oth­er; lit­er­al­ly every let­ter and every meet­ing is filled with praise about how great a friend and over­all awe­some human every­one is. It was hard to get some of the imagery from the film out of my head as I read; Stoker’s Drac­u­la is noth­ing like the movies, and the sexy parts are cer­tain­ly not as sexy. I remem­ber antic­i­pat­ing the scene in which Mina finds Lucy in the gar­den hav­ing ani­mal­is­tic sexy time with Drac­u­la as a wolf…but in the book this scene isn’t near­ly as hot. Also, Coppola’s ver­sion makes Van Hels­ing (played by Antho­ny Hop­kins) a total per­vy lunatic a-hole with Asperger’s. In the book, Van Hels­ing is noble and com­pas­sion­ate, and does NOT engage in leg hump­ing while scream­ing “she’s the devil’s con­cu­bine!” No thank-you. My favorite line of the book by far is Hark­er to Van Hels­ing upon their first meet­ing: “Doc­tor, you don’t know what it is to doubt every­thing, even your­self. No, you don’t; you couldn’t with eye­brows like yours.” HA! I want to start say­ing that to peo­ple all the time.

So about Stoker…weird to think of him as Irish, no? The name is so drenched in East­ern Euro­pean-ness that I was sur­prised to learn he was a total gin­ger. I’m not going to go into a bunch of bor­ing facts about him so I will high­light the good stuff:

  • He was bedrid­den with an unknown ill­ness until the age of 7.
  • He got a BA in math­e­mat­ics from Trin­i­ty. (lady­bon­er!)
  • His first work of non-fic­tion was called “The Duties of Clerks of Pet­ty Sessions”.….…no thank-you.
  • He snagged Oscar Wilde’s wom­an! (They both used her as a beard. I SAID IT.)
  • The orig­i­nal man­u­script was lost and found in a barn in West­ern PA in the 1980’s, ha!
  • In 1922, a Ger­man com­pa­ny ille­gal­ly made Nos­fer­atu and Stoker’s wife sued to have all copies destroyed. She won the case in 1925, but luck­i­ly copies sur­vived, and Her­zog (my boyfriend) remade it in 1979.
  • It took him 6 years to write it! Main­ly because he was a devot­ed slave (and may­be more) to Hen­ry Irv­ing, the great­est actor of the time, and worked tire­less­ly for him as the man­ager of his the­ater, the Lyceum. Dude skipped his own hon­ey­moon to hang with Irv­ing. Dis­like.
  • Count Drac­u­la was “Count Wampyr” orig­i­nal­ly.
  • Con­trary to pop­u­lar belief, Drac­u­la is NOT based on Vlad the Impaler. Drac­u­la means “dev­il” in the Wal­lachi­an tongue, but that’s the only ref­er­ence in Stoker’s notes–and he was a METICULOUS note tak­er.
  • In the last years of his life he was such a homo­phobe that he was for the impris­on­ment of gay authors, despite his long friend­ship with Wilde. This is most­ly attrib­ut­ed to his own clos­et­ed sex­u­al­i­ty. BUMMER.

I will leave you with a gem I found in the spi­der-web­by vaults of YouTube, fea­tur­ing Mr. Mor­gan Free­man as Drac­u­la:



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So, what do you think?