DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by reading Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 3!
Now that I am becoming somewhat of an expert on Dracula, well, the first couple of chapters at least, I am becoming more and more dismayed with every Dracula film I’ve ever seen.
I’ve just read Chapter Three where our young solicitor hero, Jonathon Harker, starts to realise the depths of Dracula’s strangeness and he gets to meets the Counts super-hot harem of lovelies.
This is the first chapter in the novel that could be classed as horror.
We see that Count Dracula is very smart and is working out ways of ensuring whatever he is up to in England is not discovered by using many legal representatives in different cities so they can’t collaborate against him.
Oh, and Harker sees Dracula scaling the castle walls downward like a lizard.
Harker now knows that Dracula is a creep and starts working out ways he is going to escape from the Castle. Harker disobeys Dracula and once the Count leaves the building, Harker leaves his room and starts exploring. Again, despite Dracula’s warnings, Harker falls asleep and that’s when all the fun starts. He finds himself being approached by three sexy women – all very pale with thick, red lips.
Harker’s introduction to the “brides” is pretty steamy stuff with little left to the imagination. (Well, there’s a lot left to the imagination but essentially Bram Stoker is going hardcore Mills and Boon at this part of the novel.) As sexy as it all is, we are quickly confronted with some very gross stuff, namely, Dracula pays off the lusty vamps with a live baby in a sack for them to presumably feast on.
Let’s be clear here: Dracula has given a live baby for the women to puncture and feast on its blood. That’s Texas Chainsaw Massacre, Ed Gein, The Hills Have Eyes, sick stuff. This scene is shocking now; it must have been far more shocking back in 1897.
Here’s the elephant in the room that everyone fails to mention when they are too busy discussing the romantic themes in Dracula. This guy exists by biting people on the neck and drinking their blood. It ain’t cool. It ain’t sexy. He is a demon monster who wants to kill you.
This is why I’m disappointed with film adaptations of Dracula now. They could be truly horrific if they wanted to be. I wonder if there has ever been a true adaption as Bram Stoker would have liked it to be.
PS. Last week Prince Charles made a visit to Transylvania, shortly after I announced I was going. Is this a coincidence? I will let you decide.
What I’ve learned from this chapter: Dracula chose the law of firm of Jonathon Harker because it is based in Exeter – far away from London – because he doesn’t trust London lawyers not to join forces and conspire against him. It appears that is why he will go to England via Whitby because he wants to remain secretive.
Favourite Quote: “You yourself never loved; you never love!” – one of the “brides” paying out on Dracula, when he refuses to let them drink Jonathan Harker. See even being the Prince of Darkness doesn’t save you from a whinging missus.
DAVID SAUNDERSON is the founder and managing editor of The Spooky Isles. In the daylight hours, he works in marketing. By night, he organises ghoulish and frightful ghost tours and events with Spooky London.