Spooky Reads: Poor Dracula…..

Kit Steinkellner

Staff Writer

Kit Steinkellner is a playwright, screenwriter, and creative writing teacher. She also writes about books and reading  at Books Are My Boyfriends. Follow her onTwitter: @BooksAreMyBFs

I feel so sorry for Dracula.

Not the character. He’s a magical psychopath. He’s fine.

I feel sorry for the Bram Stoker novel.

“Why do you feel sorry for a really famous book?” the Bitter Chorus of Unpublished Authors shouts at me.

I feel sorry for Dracula precisely because it’s so famous. Everyone’s so sure they know the story because they know the tropes: the cape, the coffin bed, the castle in Transylvania, the bat flapping off into the distance, the courageous band of brothers on the hunt with their wooden stakes, the sexy virginal girls with blood dripping from their bite mark covered necks. So people don’t read the book. Because they think they have that box checked.

Well, I am here to tell you that if you have not read the book you do not have that box checked. Erase that bubble you filled. You have not yet passed this section of the Literate Human Being Standardized Test.

You’re in luck, though, because unlike Moby Dick where Melville goes on and on about whale blubber for eighty pages, or Scarlet Letter, which is the most boring execution of a bangarang premise in Book History,Dracula is a crazy-fun classic read.

First off, it’s an epistolary novel. We get letters, diary entries, newspaper clippings, which all work together to tell the story in a super-clever, hyper-cool way.

Second off, Dracula is such an Original Gangster. He’s so creepy and evil. It’s so refreshing! When is the last time we got a creepy, evil vampire? Not in this century. I don’t even read TWILIGHT or watch TRUE BLOOD and I’m still vomitously ill from all the sad, mopey Vampire Boys in love with sad, mopey Human Girls in pop culture today. Dracula has no “character arc.” He’s not going to “become an unlike hero because a beautiful human girl falls in love with him.” He’s going to EAT that human girl for dinner and chew on her bones for a late-night snack. Yes and more yes!

Third off, this is a genuinely creepy book. Since its publication in 1897, the world has seen some spooky stories. Psycho. Jaws. The Shining. Scream. Obligatory Jersey Shore joke. And still, with all its dust and cobwebs, Dracula manages to spook with the best of them. I wouldn’t say read this with the lights on. I would say DON’T READ THIS ANYWHERE CLOSE TO NIGHTTIME OR YOU WILL BE SO SORRY. This is a lunchtime read if ever there was one. Seriously, you don’t want to be reading this shiznitch in the dark.

We’re twenty-six days away from Halloween. It’s time to get your spooky-scary read on! I’ll be bringing you more Spooky Reads all this month.

It’s also  about time to pick out a Halloween costume. And if you are drawing a blank on the costume idea front, DRACULA’s got ideas aplenty: Jonathan “Handsome Face” Harker, Lucy “You’re Going to be a Vampire Soon” Westenra, Professor Abraham “Was Killing Vampires a Hundred Years Before Buffy was Bleaching her Roots” Van Helsing, spider-eating mental patient Renfield, and of course, the Scary Man from Transylvania himself.

Go get your Drac on!