Bram Stoker’s Dracula
Hellsing: Alucard and Anderson
Dr. Van Hellsing
Novelization: Bram Stoker
Bram Stoker was an Irish author who is celebrated for his 1897 Gothic Horror novel ‘Dracula.’ In his early years, Stoker worked as a theatre critic for an Irish newspaper, and wrote stories as well as commentaries. Since his death, his magnum opus Dracula has become one of the most well-known works in English literature, and the novel has been adapted for numerous films, short stories, and plays.
In 1878, Stoker married Florence Balcombe, a celebrated beauty who may have briefly dated Oscar Wilde. Stoker had known Wilde from his student days, having proposed him for membership of the university’s Philosophical Society while he was president. Wilde was upset at Florence’s decision, but Stoker later resumed the acquaintanceship, and, after Wilde’s fall, visited him on the Continent.
The Stokers moved to London, where Stoker became acting manager and then business manager of Irving’s Lyceum Theatre, London, a post he held for 27 years. Stoker became involved in London’s high society, and even met Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (to whom he was distantly related). In London, Stoker also met Hall Caine, who became one of his closest friends – he dedicated Dracula to him.
In the course of Irving’s tours, Stoker travelled the world, although he never visited Eastern Europe , a setting for his most famous novel. Stoker enjoyed the United States, where Irving was popular. With Irving he was invited twice to the White House and knew William McKinley and Theodore Roosevelt. Stoker set two of his novels in America, and used Americans as characters, the most notable being Quincy Morris. He also met one of his literary idols, Walt Whitman, having written to him in 1872 an extraordinary letter that some have interpreted as the expression of a deeply-suppressed homosexuality.
He also wrote ‘The Lair of the White Worm’ in 1911.
Stoker spent several years researching Central and East European folklore and mythological stories of vampires. The original 541-page typescript of Dracula was believed to have been lost until it was found in a barn in northwestern Pennsylvania in the early 1980s. It consisted of typed sheets with many emendations, and handwritten on the title page was “THE UN-DEAD.” The author’s name was shown at the bottom as Bram Stoker. Author Robert Latham remarked: “the most famous horror novel ever published, its title changed at the last minute.”
After suffering a number of strokes, Stoker died at No. 26 St. George’s Square, London on 20 April 1912. Some biographers attribute the cause of death to overwork, others to tertiary syphilis.
He was cremated, and his ashes were placed in a display urn at Golders Green Crematorium in North London.
The Lair of the White Worm
Also issued as ‘The Garden of Evil’, the horror novel set in 1860 is widely considered one of the worst books ever written.
Les Daniels noted that while The Lair of the White Worm had “potential”, it was undermined by the “clumsy style” of the writing. The horror critic R. S. Hadji placed The Lair of the White Worm at number twelve in his list of the worst horror novels ever written. Historian of the horror genre H. P. Lovecraft, in his essay “Supernatural Horror in Literature,” stated that Stoker “utterly ruins a magnificent idea by a development almost infantile.”
The central character of the book is Adam Salton, an Australian at the outset living there, who in 1860 is contacted by his elderly great-uncle, Richard Salton, a landed gentleman of England, who has no other family and wants to establish a relationship with the only other living member of the Salton family. Although Adam has already made his own fortune in Australia, he enthusiastically agrees to meet his uncle, and on his arrival by ship at Southampton the two men quickly become good friends. His great-uncle then reveals that he wishes to make Adam the heir to his estate, Lesser Hill. Adam travels there and quickly finds himself at the center of mysterious events, with Sir Nathaniel de Salis, a friend of Richard Salton’s, as his guide.
The White Worm is a large snake-like creature dwelling deep under Arabella’s house at Diana’s Grove. It has green glowing eyes and feeds on whatever living creatures it can find to eat. Sir Nathaniel believes the Worm is descended from dragons, who traded their physical power for cunning. The Worm ascends from its pit and seeks to attack Adam and Mimi Watford in the forest of Diana’s Grove.
Jerusalem’s Lot is a town in Maine. The residents are turning into vampires.
In the 1975 horror novel by Stephen King, his second published work, a man named Ben Mears returns to the town where he lived from ages 5 to 9. In two separate interviews in the 1980s, King said that, of all his books, ‘Salem’s Lot was his favorite.
In 1987 he told Phil Konstantin in The Highway Patrolman magazine: “In a way it is my favorite story, mostly because of what it says about small towns. They are kind of a dying organism right now. The story seems sort of down home to me. I have a special cold spot in my heart for it!”
Ben has returned to “the Lot” to write a book about the long-abandoned Marsten House, where he had a bad experience as a child when he saw a hanging ghost. He learns that the house—the former home of Depression-era hitman Hubert “Hubie” Marsten—has been purchased by Kurt Barlow, ostensibly an Austrian immigrant who has arrived in the Lot to open an antique furniture store. Barlow is supposedly on an extended buying trip; only his business partner, Richard Staker, is seen in public. The truth, however, is that Barlow is an ancient vampire and Staker is his human familiar.
The duo’s arrival coincides with the disappearance of a young boy, Ralphie Glick, and the death of his 12-year-old brother, Danny, who becomes the town’s first vampire turned by Barlow. Barlow also turns town dump custodian Dud Rogers and telephone repairman Corey Bryant. Danny turns other locals into vampires, including the graveyard digger, Mike Ryerson; a newborn baby, Randy McDougall; a man named Jack Griffen; and Danny’s mother, Marjorie. Danny fails to turn his classmate Mark Petrie, who resists him by holding a plastic cross in Danny’s face. To fight the spread of the new vampires, Ben and Susan are joined by Matt and his doctor, Jimmy Cody, along with Mark and the local priest, Father Callahan. Susan is captured by Barlow, who turns her. She is eventually staked through the heart by Ben.
When Father Callahan and Mark go to Mark’s parents’ house to explain the danger that the family is in, the power is suddenly cut off and Barlow appears. After killing Mark’s parents, Barlow takes the boy hostage. Callahan pulls out his cross in an attempt to drive him off, and it works until Barlow challenges him to throw the cross away. Callahan, not having faith enough to do so, is soon overwhelmed by Barlow, who forces Callahan to drink his blood, making him “unclean”. When Callahan tries to re-enter his church, he receives an electric shock, preventing him from going inside. Defeated, Callahan leaves Jerusalem’s Lot.
Matt suffers a fatal heart attack while Jimmy is killed when he falls from a rigged staircase and is impaled by knives set up by the vampires. Ben and Mark destroy Barlow, but are lucky to escape with their lives and are forced to leave the town to the now-leaderless vampires. Ben returns the following day to retrieve and bury the bodies of Jimmy and Mark’s parents in a clearing behind the Petrie residence. The novel’s prologue, which is set shortly after the end of the story proper, describes Ben and Mark’s flight across the country to a seaside town in Mexico, where they attempt to recover from their ordeal. Mark is received into the Catholic Church by a friendly local priest and confesses for the first time what they have experienced. An epilogue reveals the two return to the town a year later, intending to renew the battle. Ben, knowing that there are too many hiding places for the vampires, starts a brush fire in the nearby woods with the intent of destroying the town.
Stephen King: While teaching a course on fantasy and science fiction for students at Hampden Academy, King was inspired by ‘Dracula’, one of the books covered in the class. “One night over supper I wondered aloud what would happen if Dracula came back in the twentieth century, to America. ‘He’d probably be run over by a Yellow Cab on Park Avenue and killed,’ my wife said.
“– if the legendary Count came to New York… But if he were to show up in a sleepy little country town, what then? I decided I wanted to find out, so I wrote ‘Salem’s Lot, which was originally titled Second Coming.”
King expands on this thought of the 20th-century vampire in his essay for Adeline Magazine, “On Becoming a Brand Name” (February 1980): “I began to turn the idea over in my mind, and it began to coalesce into a possible novel. I thought it would make a good one, if I could create a fictional town with enough prosaic reality about it to offset the comic-book menace of a bunch of vampires.”
Politics during the time influenced King’s writing of the story. The corruption in the government was a significant factor in the inspiration of the story. Of this he recalls,
“I wrote ‘Salem’s Lot’ during the period when the Ervin committee was sitting. That was also the period when we first learned of the Ellsberg break-in, the White House Tapes, the connection between Gordon Liddy and the CIA, the news of enemies lists, and other fearful Intelligence… During the spring, summer and fall of 1973, it seemed that the Federal Government had been involved in so much subterfuge and so many covert operations… the horror would never end … Every novel is to some extent an inadvertent psychological portrait of the novelist, and I think that the unspeakable obscenity in ‘Salem’s Lot has to do with my own disillusionment and consequent fear for the future. In a way, it is more closely related to ‘Invasion of the Body Snatchers’ than it is to ‘Dracula.’ The fear behind ‘Salem’s Lot seems to be that the Government has invaded everybody.
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