“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: