Dracula Scrapbook, The

Rating: 
3
The Dracula Scrapbook
Review by Ogcocephalus, submitted on 14-Oct-1992

The Dracula Scrapbook
by Peter Haining
Longmeadow Press, Stamford CT, 1992
(previous edition copyright 1987)
ISBN 0-681-41643-2

Although at first view this book appears to be solely a history of vampyre movies, it in fact includes a wealth of information about the character Dracula, and vampyres in general.The ten chapters, plus appendices, provide a review of vampyre folklore and early literature (Chapter 1) as well as discussing the real life events that might have effected Bram Stoker during the years 1890-1896 while the original manuscript of Dracula was being written (Chapters 2 and 3).

Chapter 4, "The Blood thirsty Parents of Dracula" traces the literary Dracula's origins to two historical figures familiar to list members, Vlad the Impaler and Countess E. Bathory. Chapter 5, "Dracula by Day and Other Misconceptions" contrasts movie vampyres with their folkloric and literary antecedents. For example, Haining notes that in the book Dracula appears in day- light and notes that sunlight first appears lethal to vampyres in the 1922 silent film Nosferatu. Haining also claims that Stoker invented the idea that vampyres throw no shadow and was the first to suggest that vampyres could change into vampire bats (although Barber in Vampires, Death and Burial notes the long standing traditional association between vampyres and common European bats). Haining also attributes to the movies the idea that the wooden stake is the *sole* effective means of killing a vampyre (recalling that in the book Dracula is dispatched with a kukri and Bowie knife).

Chapter 6, "The Count Who Won't Lie Down" is an account of Wil- helm Murnau and his classic film Nosferatu, considered by many as the greatest vampyre movie of all time. Chapters 7, 8 and 9 profile the different actors and actresses who have appeared as Dracula, Van Helsing and female vampires respectively. The final chapter"The Wurdalak Who Might Have Been" is about Boris Karloff, who was among the actors considered for the 1931 role that made Bela Lugosi synonymous with Dracula.In an appropriate turn- about, Lugosi later turned down the opportunity to play the monster in Frankenstein providing Karloff with his entrance into the movie monster hall of fame. Karloff later appeared in several movies with Lugosi, but his association with vampires movies was limited to House of Frankenstein (1944) when he reanimated Dracula (John Carridine) by pulling the stake out of the Count's skeleton. In 1965 Karloff finally got his chance to play a vampyre in Black Sabbath, a film based on Tolstoy's short story "The Wurdalak" (a variety of Russian vampyre).

The appendices are as diverse and interesting as the rest of the book.Appendix I includes an essay on Transylvanian supersti- tions by Emily de Lazowka Gerald whose book Land Across the Trees is considered to be one of Stoker's primary sources for information on vampire beliefs in Romania. Appendix II "A Check- list of Vampirism" provides abbreviated sketches of historical vampyres from the XIII through XX centuries taken from The Vampire in Legend, Fact and Art by Basil Copper (1973), The Natural History of the Vampire by A. Masters (1972), The Vam- pire, his kith and kin and The Vampires of Europe by M. Summers (1928 and 1929) and Vampires and Vampirism by D. Wright (1924).Appendix III is a short essay by Bela Lugosi entitled "Why I like playing Dracula". Appendix IV lists the major vampyre films between 1922 (_Nosferatu_) and 1981 (_Countess Dolingen of Gratz_). Included in this filmography are several foreign films such as the 1953 Turkish film Drakula Instanbulda which combines Stoker's novel with the story of Vlad Dracula (as told from the Turkish perspective) and Chi O Suu Mi (_Lake of Dracula_) a 1971 movie which is said to be the first Japanese version of the classic novel. Not included in the filmography, but mentioned in the text is The Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires.

Altogether, this book is not just an account of vampyre films but deserves consideration from anyone interested in vampyre lore, history or literature as well as movies.

Fanged Films

USA, 1978
It's Alive II
USA, 1957
Blood of Dracula

From the Library

As the 20th century evolved, rational man turned to science to explain mythology that had pervaded for thousands of years. How could a man be mistaken for a vampire? How could someone appear to have been the victim of a vampire attack? Science, in time, came back with answers that may surprise you.Anemia
A million fancies strike you when you hear the name: Nosferatu!N O S F E R A T Udoes not die!What do you expect of the first showing of this great work?Aren't you afraid? - Men must die. But legend has it that a vampire, Nosferatu, 'der Untote' (the Undead), lives on men's blood! You want to see a symphony of horror? You may expect more. Be careful. Nosferatu is not just fun, not something to be taken lightly. Once more: beware.- Publicity for Nosferatu in the German magazine Buhne und Film, 1922  

Drawn to Vamps?