Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Dracula: or How Vampires Are Not Cold Cuddly Creatures That You Should Want To Jump Into Bed With

Dracula
by Bram Stoker

I have not read Twilight. In fact, I refuse to read Twilight. This refusal, believe it or not, does somewhat disturb me, because I fully believe that, in order to believe a book to be bad, one must first read it. True, other people, whose opinions I trust, have reassured me that yes, Twilight is a terrible book, full of bad, immature writing and questionable views of women and love. However, I will fully acknowledge that, in order to claim these opinions as my own, I must read the books first.

I still refuse to read Twilight.

However, I have seen the movies, so I know what Stephenie Meyer has done to the vampire. This in itself, I believe, is grounds enough to refuse to read the books. Guys, believe me when I say this, vampires don't sparkle. In fact, vampires are scary as shit.

Seriously.

I don't only blame Meyer alone for the romanticizing of the vampire, though I do blame her for the extremes to which she took it. Anne Rice did it to. Read Interview with a Vampire or The Vampire LeStat. Both are good books, by the way, but both turn the vampire into a hero, beautiful and desirable, lost and searching. But the vampire was never meant to be a hero. The vampire was always meant to be a thing of horror, a thing to be feared.

And then as we looked the white figure moved forwards again. It was now near enough for us to see clearly, and the moonlight still held. My own heart grew cold as ice, and I could hear the gasp of Arthur, as we recognized the features of Lucy Westenra. Lucy Westenra, but yet how changed. The sweetness was turned to adamantine, heartless cruelty, and the purity to voluptuous wantonness.
... 
When Lucy, I call the thing that was before us Lucy because it bore her shape, saw us she drew back with an angry snarl, such as a cat gives when taken unawares, then her eyes ranged over us. Lucy's eyes in form and color, but Lucy's eyes unclean and full of hell fire, instead of the pure, gentle orbs we knew. At that moment the remnant of my love passed into hate and loathing. Had she then to be killed, I could have done it with savage delight. As she looked, her eyes blazed with unholy light, and the face became wreathed with a voluptuous smile. Oh, God, how it made me shudder to see it!
            - Dracula, Bram Stoker, Chapter 16
 See?

Terrifying.

I'm not actually saying much here. I mean, I love Anne Rice's books. And Buffy and Angel? How can I condemn such a love story between the Vampire Slayer and the creature she's supposed to be killing? Star-crossed lovers at their best. But, I am lamenting the loss of the horror of vampires. They used to be some of the most terrifying creatures one could imagine. Now? They're a watered down semblance of themselves.

So, do me a favour. Go read Dracula. You can download it for free on Goodreads so it won't even cost you a dime. And trust me - it may have been written in 1897, but it's a very accessible book, with only a little of the complicated language you'll find in other 100-years-and-older novels.

Vampires - love them? Hate them? Miss what they were or love what they have become? What's your favourite vampire book? Do you love Twilight and think I'm being completely unreasonable in my refusal to read it? (I probably am.) Will you be adding Dracula to your to-read list?

6 comments:

  1. I too refuse to read Twilight and I refuse to watch the movies. I've been meaning to read Dracula for some time now: its been on my Kobo for nearly 1 year. I'm hoping to get to it when I am on vacation (2 weeks away!). Course I also have a strong desire to finish reading all the Sherlock Holmes stories (also have 3 of those on my Kobo waiting to be read)...We'll see how much reading gets accomplished!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I've read the Twilight series, twice... The first time I didn't really like it until the last book. The ending took me by surprise, and I liked that it could do that. The second time I read through the series I hated myself the entire time. I felt disgusting.

    I've read Dracula several times and have loved it every time. I agree with you, I want to be scared. I don't want my vampire to sparkle or save me in the end. I want to be terrified of this horrific creature that could seriously mess me up. (Gary Oldman in the '92 Dracula movie. Oh boy....)

    Salem's Lot is a pretty good vampire book. I've only read it once but I was impressed with the horror of it.

    p.s. Don't read Twilight. There are so many other book, millions I'd say, that are better and worth your time.

    ReplyDelete
  3. I loved Dracula and haven't read the Twilight series, either. I had forgotten about Salem's Lot until I read Faith's comment. I read that when I was a pre-teen and it rattled me. I was so freaked out that I asked for mini-blinds for Christmas to put on my bedroom windows. I distinctly remember a scene with a baby. Maybe I'll have to re-read it!

    ReplyDelete
  4. I love vampire stories and while I have read Twilight, there's no better vampire book than the original Dracula. Vampires have to scare you and not make you fall in love with them. A few years back they wrote a sequel to Bram Stoker's Dracula and it comes close to the original, loved reading it. Another favourite is The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova. Loved it!

    ReplyDelete
  5. Ok, so this is going to seem weird, but I haven't read Dracula. I know, I know, it's a classic. It's on my very long list of books I want to read. I also haven't read Twilight. However, I feel like I should give at least the first hundred pages a try to fairly evaluate it...

    ReplyDelete
  6. I'm not really for or against vampires. I've watched Buffy (loved), read Twilight (cringe), watched Vampire Diaries (surprisingly not bad) and read The Historian (SO good). The Historian totally had me hooked. Like, I contemplated skipping class so I didn't have to stop reading it was so good. I read it last year (or late 2011) so the details are fuzzy, but I remember that it's not an obvious vampire book. I mean, it is about vampires, but it's about more than that. And the vampires are bad if I remember correctly (no twilight business here) I don't want to say too much because I don't want to spoil it, but I loved it. And now I want to go back and re-read it so I can do a proper review haha

    ReplyDelete