Thursday, February 14, 2013

Vampire Bite Blog Hop!

'Cause what better way is there to celebrate Valentine's Day but by talkin' 'bout vamps? (What? Blood's red!)

Author Jolie Du Pré of Precious Monsters hosts the Vampire Bite Blog Hop today, for which all participants have to do is in some way blog about vampires. Click here and scroll down to read others' Vampire Bite posts.

For my entry, I'm exhuming a brief examination of the dark romance of Bram Stoker's Dracula, as portrayed by the eternally smexy Frank Langella. (Woof!)

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(Originally posted as Dark Romance #1 ~ Dracula on November 30, 2011.)

Given the premise of this bloggy-blog (that I'm a goth mom who digs the dark and creepy, even in romance), I thought I'd do a series based on some dark romances I have luuuuurved. (Be warned - thar be SPOILERS below, so if you've not yet read the book/seen the film under discussion, but intend to, you may wish to give this post a pass. Just sayin'.)

Still here? Kewl.

I decided to start with Dracula, but not the book, oh no. I recently re-read the Bram Stoker tome and must assert that there just ain't nothin' sexy or romantic about it. Yeah, sure, Jonathan Harker experiences a bit of lusty-lust for Dracula's wives and whatnot, but all that amounts to is his intense desire that they kiss him. Lame. There's no back-story connecting Mina Harker with Drac's supposedly long-dead bride, as the Coppola film tells it (though I must give props to the flick, as it's one of the more faithful adaptations of the novel; moreover, it doesn't drop the one American character Stoker featured, Texan Quincey Morris, who, along with J. Harker, dealt the killing blow to the dastardly Count).

The Dracula I want to focus on today is Frank Langella in the 1979 film of the same name, which was adapted from a play, which was adapted from the book (whew!) and merrily screws around with not only the characters but also their names. Here, it's Mina who first succumbs to Dracula's unholy allure and Lucy upon whom Dracula sets his fangs at for his...uh...Unlife Mate. Another departure from the book is that the end may not really be the end for the Count, 'cause this Dracula's a BAMF.

*Ahem* Anyway.

Langella plays the Count tall, dark, and spookily swoony (woof) and, with his debonair Old World mastery, steals every scene he's in. But what really interests me about this film is the feminist edge of Lucy, who deplores the very idea of woman's subjugation to man. By the time Drac's worked his monstrous mojo on her, however, she can't wait to be under his...thumb. (Frankly, neither could I. Did I mention woof?)

The dark romance of it all: Dracula determinedly preys on Lucy, it's true, but she isn't his victim; she's a ready, willing, and eager participant in his deadly dance. He seduces her but never has to bend her to his will. He charms her with his conversation, his savoir faire, his sex appeal (woof!), and he exerts himself to win her because of her strength, her intelligence, and her beauty - she is his equal, excepting one teeeny, tiny detail. Lucy doesn't so much fall as she leaps into the fire, and not due to deception or coercion, but from her own desire to burn. She never embodies her own ideals as much as when she willingly chooses to join the ranks of the moldy undead. It's the joining of his dark power to her independent spirit which rocks the Casbah for me. And they might have enjoyed a happier end but for the interference of her father, her fiancé, and Van Helsing who, essentially, restored their masculine authority over Lucy when they "saved her" from the Count, her own wishes notwithstanding (and girlfriend wanted to hook up with the bloodsucker, for realz!). To which I say Booo, patriarchal bossiness! and Yay, Girl Pow-ah!

36 comments:

  1. If folks don't know about these books or movies they've been living in a cave!

    Wonderful post, and yes, she did want it didn't she! What better way than here to start the blog hop about vampires and dark romance!

    HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY!

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    1. Hope you enjoyed a lovely Valentine's Day too, Yolanda! I treated myself to Mrs. Fields White Chunk cookies, fresh from the shop, which were lovely. :-)

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  2. I'm totally with you on this post, I'm not so much a fan of the original book, but the adaptations, I'm so there for them.

    I love Frank Langella as Dracula. It's the first vampire movie I really remember watching and never getting to see the end of because my twin sister screamed so loudly when Dracula was clawing out the lead from the window (we weren't quite old enough for horror movies at the time). I was so glad when I finally did see it and I rejoiced when I could get it on DVD. Jonathan is such a prick in this movie that I really want Dracula to win every time I watch it :).

    He was an arse for what he did to Mina though. Lucy was all on board, Mina wasn't. Then again, I'm all for the sexy bad boy ;).

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    1. LOL, I get so caught up in the vampy-sexy I forget there are genuinely disturbing moments of the movie. Thinking on it, seeing poor Mina after she's been transformed is pretty danged scary. And you're right; what Drac did to Mina was 100% unsexy - with her, he simply fed and destroyed.

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  3. I think this was the film that kept me awake through my teen years! In there somewhere they mention vampires bite on one particular side of the neck, I spent the next ten years sleeping on that side with the sheets pulled up high! Okay... I still do... but everyone knows a vampire can't hurt you if the sheet's up around your neck!

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    1. Especially if the sheet's been trimmed with fresh cloves of garlic! :-)

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  4. I loved your comment Charmaine! It is interesting how children react to certain information. Liked your post Mina.

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  5. I have a foggy memory that I actually watched this movie but then Leslie Nielsen's Dracula keeps standing in the way. Anyway, your words make it sound like a good movie and a refreshing version of the usual Dracula.

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    1. Haha, I don't think I've seen the Leslie Nielsen spoof...though I have seen George Hamilton's which I manage to find super sexy as well. :-D

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  6. I agree with Al Diaz. I vaguely remmeber watching it, probably cuz it freaked me out so much that I'm choosing to block it out. Dracula makes me shiver with fear!

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    1. Oh, I shiver as well. Not with fear, though. ;-)

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  7. Girl Pow-ah, indeed! Will have to re-watch the 1979 flick, it's been a while.

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    1. Come to think of it, it's been a while for me as well... ::makes note::

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  8. Well, I'm a HUGE fan of the original Dracula book. I read it when I was about 16. Stoker did such an excellent job with the descriptions, for example, when Harker meets the vampire. I felt like I was there, like I could actually smell the vampire. In short, the book gave me nightmares, and I couldn't sleep for a few nights.

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    1. The way Stoker described Harker's trip to the Count was so vivid, I felt I was there, too.

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  9. I have always been a big fan of the 1979 Dracula film. I even played Dr. Seward in the play! Don't forget one of the real nice things about this particular movie is the fantastic soundtrack. This movie sounds as good as it looks (and that is saying something).

    I think we are about due for another remake to be honest with you.

    Tim
    The Other Side

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    1. Hmmm, hadn't really paid too much attention to the soundtrack before, I don't think. Another reason for me to re-view it!

      Really, think we're due for another remake? I'm not so sure it would go over very well. The play was revived a few years ago, just off Broadway. I sent to see it while it was in previews and it closed a few weeks later. Of course, there could be numerous reasons for it, but I think that the very religious underpinnings of the tale written by Stoker aren't something post-modern audiences can really take to...

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  10. Darn those interfering guys! Can't stand it when a girl has the situation under control. Thanks for sharing this post!

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  11. I don't remember much of the film but you've got me intrigued to see it again. "BAMF" LOL!
    I don't know if you're into manga at all, but if you want to read about a BAMF vampire, I'd suggest Alucard of the Hellsing manga and anime series.

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    1. Thanks for the recommendation! I think I've heard about this but haven't investigated (yet).

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  12. I don't think I ever saw that flick at all.

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    1. I didn't see it till about 2008, when I wrote a short story and in my mind's eye the hero looked like a young Frank Langella, which made me check out this flick. If you like the creepy/sexy, you might wanna give it a try. :-)

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  13. I saw this too long ago but i swear I only remember bits and pieces.

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    1. I'm thinking I need to re-watch it soon, myself. :-D

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  14. Have not seen the Langella version and have not read the Stoker book. I do prefer the darker more sinister vampires to the sparkly new ones. Nosferatu was a very creepy fella.

    Lee
    Wrote By Rote
    An A to Z Co-host blog

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    1. I agree that Max Shrek played a pretty danged scary vampire, for sure. Much closer to what vampires of European lore were perceived as being.

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  15. y'know, I can't remember the last time I read Dracula. Thanks for the post.

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  16. Okay, so I've watched it before, but reading your commentary gave me chills. For reals! Girl, you have talent.

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  17. I remember the movie vaguely, not so much the plot but Langella. Woof, indeed.

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  18. I never looked at it from the angle of patriarchal power, but that could be said of the other versions, as well. In the case of Mina being the one, she's free when she's with Dracula, rather than conforming to the rules set out for her by her patriarchal surroundings. Propriety Schmopriety.

    Shannon at The Warrior Muse

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