Dracula by Bram Stoker
Dracula is the quintessential horror story… a monstrous vampire roams the night in search of a warm body to suck fresh blood and nourish his tortured flesh. His soul is possessed by the devil, in eternal limbo. His home is a dilapidated ancient castle in Transylvania, Romania. He has the physical strength of 10 human beings, can change form – into a bat or wolf – and can outsmart almost everyone. Well, he has for centuries, but possibly Dracula has finally met his match.
Sound scary? In 1897 when first published I’m sure it was. And as a young child in the 1950’s, watching the old movie Dracula made in 1931 starring Bella Lugosi on a black and white screen TV, I can vouch for it’s ability to horrify. But by today’s standards, it borders on being trivial and boring.
I’m curious if Stephen King was inspired by Dracula to write his award winning book It.
It is the story of a monster that can also take different forms. “It” loves to take the form of a clown and lure young children. “It” also thrives on human flesh, has lived for centuries, has inhuman strength, and can outsmart everyone. But the similarities go further. In both books a group of men and one woman decide to confront the monster once and for all – and kill it.
But there is one huge difference. It is actually scary. I mean… really scary. Perhaps because “It’s” opponents are mere children rather than doctors and professors. And, since “It” thrives on eating children, and it’s home is the sewer system of a large town – “It” is quite mobile and has little difficulty luring it’s prey. Also, with Stephen King’s It, you get the added bonus of character development, suspense, emotion, and lots of humor.
I must admit, my sole purpose for reading Dracula was to acquire some authentic flavor of Romania. Vlad Dracula was a prince who ruled Transylvania in the 1400’s. He was a barbaric warrior who had a reputation known as “the impaler”, and rumored to occasionally eat bread dipped in blood. Thus, Vlad Dracula became Transylvania’s legendary myth. However, most of the story takes place in London or in Dracula’s remote castle. The book shares nothing of Romania’s culture, history, or social climate.
If you are looking for a classic gothic novel about vampires, by all means, read Dracula. But if you are looking for a spellbinding scary horror story – go for It. (Check out my review of Stephen King’s It for further details).
Rated 3 Stars