Favorite Fictional Characters, #305: Count Dracula
Imagine, if you will, a time when a vampire was a dark creature of gothic horror, a mysterious, monstrous apparition of dread, and not some sparkly tween heartthrob. Ah, vampires - you're been hijacked into that semi-literate purgatory of teen paranormal romance, dragged out of the murkiness of the Balkan countryside and into the hands of hack pop-culture lemmings. What does it say when the best modern version of Dracula is the Adam Sandler-voiced version from the animated Hotel Transylvania?
Ah, Dracula. Urbane, bloodthirsty (literally) lord of darkness. Bram Stoker's 1897 original was hardly that, drawing heavily upon the folk tales of the continent and the already-emerging vampire literature of the 19th century. But what it lacked in novelty it more than compensated for with the great charismatic character of Count Dracula himself, the embodiment of both bloodsucking terror and vague timeless tragedy. Stoker gave us the iconic and now-shopworn tropes of stakes through the heart and holy symbols and vampire hunters, a canon so indelible that Dracula has appeared on film more than 200 times, trailing only Sherlock Holmes. The best of these were the earliest. The scariest was probably the first, the deeply upsetting Nosferatu, but Bela Lugosi's Dracula set a standard for the lurking, shadowy nobility of the Count. He had style, and style goes a long way, even when you're stalking your next snack. (In the interests of full disclosure, I very nearly used a picture of Count Chocula here.)
So here's to Dracula - the original, the real deal. It wouldn't be Halloween without you.