Friday, June 28, 2013


It all began in the year 1897. The year Abraham “Bram” Stoker introduced the Gothic novel “Dracula”. With his skills as a newspaper writer, Stoker was able to convey a sense of realism, making Dracula an epistolary novel. He drew much inspiration from the novella Camilla, European folklore and mythological stories of vampires, and some influence from Vlad the Impaler.
In 1927, Bram Stoker’s Dracula would be adapted on Broadway starring non-other than Bela Lugosi as the Count. There Lugosi was talent-spotted to become a character actor for the new Hollywood talkies, including the very first “talkie” film adaptation of Dracula. The pre-production of Universal Studio’s Dracula was shrouded with coincidental deaths; the first being the original director Paul Leni, who’d be replaced by Todd Browning, and the second death, Lon Chaney Sr. , Universal’s first choice to play the titular role. Despite Lugosi’s critically acclaimed and successful performance in Broadway’s Dracula, he was second in line to play the role he made famous. He would return to the role for a second and last time in Universal’s Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948).

Dracula was also adapted as Nosferatu (1922), a film directed by the German director F. W. Murnau, without permission from Stoker's widow; the filmmakers attempted to avoid copyright problems by altering many of the details, including changing the name of the villain to “Count Orlok”.
In 1958, Christopher lee would star in his first Dracula film Horror of Dracula (three years after Bela Lugosi’s final movie role). The commercial success of Hammer’s Dracula would warrant many sequels, all of which Lee was hesitant to star in because of what he deemed to be poor screenwriting. Lee has gone on record to state that he was virtually "blackmailed" by Hammer into starring in the subsequent films; unable or unwilling to pay him his going rate, they would resort to reminding him of how many people he would put out of work if he did not take part.
The process went like this: The telephone would ring and my agent would say, “Jimmy Carreras [President of Hammer Films] has been on the phone, they've got another Dracula for you." And I would say, "Forget it! I don't want to do another one." I'd get a call from Jimmy Carreras, in a state of hysteria. "What's all this about?!" "Jim, I don't want to do it, and I don't have to do it." "No, you have to do it!" And I said, "Why?" He replied, "Because I've already sold it to the American distributor with you playing the part. Think of all the people you know so well, that you will put out of work!" Emotional blackmail. That's the only reason I did them.” ~Christopher Lee
Despite Lee’s troubles with the role and Hammer, he would star in Jess Franco’s 1970 film Count Dracula, again playing the role of the vampire count.
In 1992, Bram Stoker’s novel would be adapted for the big screen again, this time starring Gary Oldman as Count Dracula and directed by Francis Ford Coppola. The film won three Academy Awards, Best Costume Design, Best Sound Effects Editing and Best Makeup and was nominated for Best Art Direction/Set Direction. It also won four Saturn Awards, with Best Director and Best Actor for Coppola and Oldman, respectively.

Dracula would appear in many more films such as; Dracula 2000 (Gerard Butler), Dracula: Dead and Loving It (Leslie Nielsen), Blade: Trinity (Dominic Purcell), Van Helsing (Richard Roxburgh), Dracula (Frank Langella), Blood for Dracula (Udo Kier), Love at First Bite (George Hamilton), Nosferatu: Phantom der Nacht (Klaus Kinski), The Monster Squad (Duncan Regehr), Dracula 3D (Thomas Kretschmann).
Dracula’s popularity continues to grow to this day through toys, comics, television and cinema. You can find many cool Dracula items at Horrorbles, including screen-used shadow puppets from Bram Stoker’s Dracula & Basil Gogos Dracula signed prints (pictured below).