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A Different Stoker
on October 21, 2009
A Different Stoker
I can still remember spend-the-night parties with my elementary school friends on Friday nights, all sitting in the dark watching Shock Theater. Some of the old black-and-white movies were pure camp, but Bela Lugosi's Dracula brought a slowly evolving sense of dread that I still remember to this day. It was many years later that I read the novel.
I didn't expect the blood of Bram Stoker to enter the veins of his great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker, and direct his writing a sequel to Dracula. If he had gone with the original's format of journals and letters, I'm sure he would have immediately been labeled a copy-cat. And modern readers are far different from those living in the time of the original novel's publication. Would a simple revival of the classic have attracted today's Twilight audiences or Gary Oldham Dracula fans? Thus, Dacre Stoker and his co-author, Ian Hunt, picked up bits and pieces of all the old stories and movies, hoping to satisfy all.
The old story, locations, and characters are all here. Harker, Van Helsing, Holmwood, Seward, and Mina, the original band of Lucy's killers/saviors, have struggled with their actions for 25 years, and Mina has been carrying a torch for old Drac for all that time. From there, new story lines appear. A new female vampire has arisen with powers that will rival Dracula's. We learn that there are both good and evil vampires, a bit like Glenda the Good Witch and the Wicked Witch of the West although I really would have preferred just plain ol' evil vampires. There's the requisite blood and gore for this Hollywood movie in the making.
Be sure and read the authors' notes at the end of the book. Dacre and Ian explain their very different motives for writing this book and the various reasons for what they included or didn't include from the original. Ian states that "my greatest wish is we have created a book that is close to Bram's original gothic vision--while modernizing it at the same time." I believe they succeeded in this. As a consequence of this modernization, I feel that the original seductive evil is missing, but this novel certainly surpasses more recent writing attempts in the vampire genre, such as the vapid Twilight or the cartoonish The Strain.