While most people will be fixated on hearts and flowers and romance today, I'm going to take a different look at February 14 with a topic near and dear to my heart: vampires. To be specific, the most famous vampire of all.
It was today in 1931 that Bela Lugosi orginally took to the screen in the premiere of Dracula. The story itself had been around for ages, but Lugosi's film interpretation became instantly iconic. Even those who aren't fans of the vampire genre are familiar with his classic look and the name. In my upcoming novella The Vampire and the Vixen, my hero Rafe dresses as Dracula for a Halloween party. It was fun to recreate Lugosi's iconic look for Rafe: Flowing black cape with a high collar. White vest over a white tuxedo shirt with a white bowtie at the neck. The famous gold medallion. I even gave him some fangs. It leads my heroine to wonder if perhaps Rafe is a real vampire: not just dressed as one for Halloween.
Over the years, other film makers have also interpreted Bram Stoker's famous novel. Most have featured well-known actors in the title role.
In 1974 a tv version starred Jack Palance. Almost a household name when it comes to horror.
My first experience with a movie version of Dracula came in 1992 when my boyfriend at the time took me to see Gary Oldman play the part. Back then, I didn't know who Gary Oldman was (I'm more familiar with his work now.), but I did enjoy the movie. We saw it at a historic theatre with red velvet curtains, (padded) wooden seats, ornate decorative scrollwork, murals on the walls, and a tin ceiling. The setting couldn't have been more perfect.
In 2000 another version came out, aptly titled Dracula 2000. This has always been on my list of movies to see as I am intrigued about the plot tie-in to Judas Iscariot and those pieces of silver earned for betraying Jesus. However, I've never gotten around to seeing it. Although since I recently discovered that it's Gerard Butler playing the title role, I'm going to have to make an effort to move it up in the que. He's yummy: I'd let him bite my neck anytime.
I guess in a way having Dracula's original movie debut on Valentine's Day makes sense. For all the legends of blood and gore associated with these powerful creatures of the night, they are just as often thought of as dashing, romantic characters.
Until next time,