The novel’s castle is a far cry—and there are many far cries in the air hereabouts—from the cardboard Gothic pile erected by Hammer’s set designers. Paradoxically, given Dracula’s predilection for night and darkness, the Hammer movies, shot in gorgeous, acrylic-bright colours that seem always about to brim over and bleed into each other, present a noble ancestral mansion suffused with light, whereas at the end of the book’s first chapter what Harker arrives at is ‘a vast ruined castle, from whose tall black windows came no ray of light, and whose broken battlements showed a jagged line against the moonlit sky’. Similarly, Stoker’s Count Dracula, ‘a tall old man, clean-shaven save for a long white moustache’, is a drab figure indeed compared with Christopher Lee’s icily immaculate aristocrat, a Byron of the Carpathians. Let there be light, said Hammer, and we looked upon it, and found it good.
Friday, October 22, 2021
In case you wondered …
…JOHN BANVILLE: HOW BRAM STOKER'S DRACULA BECAME A SURPRISING, DEATHLESS CLASSIC. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)