Monday, June 30, 2014
Prior Knowledge of Dracula
Before beginning to read "Dracula", my knowledge of it was very limited, as most of the stuff I knew was from loose film and television adaptions, and some facts that would fall into the category of common knowledge. I knew that the character Dracula was inspired by Vlad the Impaler, who's legacy mostly involved him executing thousands of people by impalement during his lifetime. I had also scene a few films that included the character Dracula, including parts of the Bella Lugosi version, and the 2004 film "Van Helsing", which was a very loose adaptation of the story. From these films, I learned that Dracula lived in Transylvania and that he had brides or women who lived with him who were also Vampires. After seeing "Van Helsing" I looked up where the character of Van Helsing came from, and I then learned that he was a character in the original book, who is a vampire hunter. Lastly, having watched sesame street as a young child, I knew that the character Count Von Count was based on Dracula. Not only is his name a homage to Dracula, but his appearance is based entirely on the way Dracula appeared in the Bella Lugosi version.
Having not known much about the plot of "Dracula", I did however know that since the book was written, a certain standard has been set for Vampire movies and books. For example, it is usually assumed that Vampires can't go out in daylight, sleep in coffins, can control people, can be killed by a wooden steak, can be driven away by a crucifix and garlic, and that by drinking someones
blood, that can either kill a human, or turn them into a vampire themselves. Many of these reoccurring vampire descriptions are shown in many modern day vampire movies (such as the twilight series). Although the vampire concept has been around for hundreds of years, it is safe to say that even before reading the book, we all know that the mainstream image of a vampire originated from "Dracula".
Dracula and his brides as depicted in "Van Helsing" (www.ign.com)