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Catch Up on Screen Time: Read This Dracula Critique

My parents felt a child’s time was best spent outside, on homework, and in extra-curricular pursuits, so my screen time was limited to one hour per week. The way I got to know any movie was through my father’s recounting the plot to me the day after he watched it. By the age of 19 I had actually viewed maybe 7 movies. Although I watch movies now, I have seen relatively few.

My lack of exposure to film factors into why Leland Monk’s “Undead Images, Images of the Undead: Dracula on Film” stands out the most in the critiques of Dracula. In his critique, Monk shares how three Dracula interpretations on film engaged “social issues of the time”, he shows how adaptable the plot of Dracula is (490), and he explores the “culture of cinema” (491). Despite having never seen Dracula on film--the closest I've seen is the recent Hotel Transylvania movies featuring grandpa “Drac”, for me the critique is captivating. Similar to my father’s stories over the breakfast table, Monk shares the highlights and uniqueness of each Dracula movie. Through his retelling, I feel as though I’m watching each film, taking the one or two pictures I have seen of each Dracula character, and playing them on imagination’s screen.

Monk goes on to explain that each of the movies brings alive the storyline in its historical context. Thus, in Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror, “vamparism is the plague” (491), in Dracula starring Bela Lugosi, the focus is on the “exotic foreigner” (498), and a “red army” (500). In Bram Stoker’s Dracula, AIDS is the connection to the historical timeframe (501). Finally, Monk explores the evolution of the screen through chronologically moving through each of the three movies, discussing everything from silent film techniques, a “rat wrangler”, to CGI (505). In consequence, as readers we move through a speedy yet well-supported overview of cinematic history.

As someone who has viewed few movies, the critique fills in the blank screen. It also shows the wonder of Dracula as not only as a classic novel, but as a tale that has been crafted into several cinematic masterpieces, transcending the original setting.

Works Cited

Monk, Leland. “Undead Images, Images of the Undead: Dracula on Film.” Dracula: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, by Bram Stoker. Second Edition, edited by John Paul Riquelme. Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2016.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Performance by Gary Oldman, Winona Ryder, and Anthony Hopkins, Columbia Films, 1992.

Dracula. Directed by Tod Browning. Performance by Bela Lugosi, Universal Pictures, 1931.

Hotel Transylvania. Directed by Grenndy Tartakovsky. Voice performance by Adam Sandler, Kevin James. Columbia Pictures, Sony Pictures Animation, 2012.

Nosferatu: A Symphony of Horror. Directed by F.W. Murnau. Performance by Max Schreck, Prana Film,    1922.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula: Case Studies in Contemporary Criticism, Second Edition, edited by John Paul      Riquelme. Bedford/St. Martin’s: 2016.