Last evening I finished doing something that I have wanted to do for many years. Every October, I tell myself I really ought to re-read Dracula, seeing as I was a high school freshman the one and only time I read it. It affected me powerfully then, bringing vivid dreams and (I must confess) the very brief but memorable placing of garlic in my bedroom window.
It still packs quite the punch, though I haven't busted out with any garlic (yet!).
Stoker did an amazing job of weaving this complex tale through the first person point of view of numerous different people from different classes, sexes, and nationalities, in a very convincing way. I admired the novel from a technical as well as an entertainment standpoint, and though the Victorian prose sometimes got a bit thick, it was much more fast-paced and accessible than I remembered.
Movies have never gotten the Count just right, but for my money, the BBC's Count Dracula got the closest. My brother and I were such fans of this version we made an audio cassette recording of it when it re-played on PBS in the pre-VCR year (for us anyway) year of 1979. The cast was great, Louis Jourdan brought a suave yet decayed European elegance to the Count, and the true star of the show, Van Helsing, was played to absolute perfection by Frank Finlay. The haunting theme music performed the sublime miracle of capturing everything about Dracula: it was haunting, powerful, menacing, hypnotic, yearning, malevolent,...sad. Amazing.
I won't bore you with rants about how much vampire stuff mostly blows in this Twilight era. You know it and I know it. The modern twisting of the vampire myth to make the daemonic desirable is but one of the many illustrations existing in entertainment today that celebrates the spiritual degradation of the current zeitgeist. See The Monsters Among Us in my archive for more on that if you want.
If you haven't read Dracula, or read it a long time ago, do yourself a favor and enjoy it. If you have never seen The BBC's Count Dracula, track it down and see what I mean.
And keep the garlic handy!