(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective Introduction

(Mis)Understanding a Monster: Dracula Retrospective Introduction

So. Dracula.

Talking about Count Dracula as a character and cultural icon is a rather daunting task, as he’s appeared in over 200 films, plus numerous plays, books, TV shows, et cetera, constantly changing in how his character is framed and presented. Though the novelist who birthed this creature of the night was Irish, his cultural impact has been felt far, far from Ireland’s shores. Most of us know who Count Dracula is, but how many of us truly know him in his multitudes, from a repulsive, barely-human beast to a Nice Guy who just wanted to save his wife and son (yes, really)?

Obviously, it’d probably take years to watch every single bit of Dracula media ever made, from the direct-to-garbage bin schlock to the big-budget studio productions to the barely-concealed fanfic, so I won’t be covering every single bit of Dracula media ever. I want to try and cover as much ground as I can, however. The way Dracula the character has been re-shaped over time to suit the needs of numerous creators is fascinating; it constantly reflects cultural attitudes towards women, foreign countries, sexuality, and religion. The way writers and directors grapple with the social mores of the Victorian period (or don’t, tellingly) in contemporary contexts is fascinating from multiple critical perspectives, and hopefully I’ll be able to dig into why the different versions of the character over the years make the changes they do.

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