DAVID SAUNDERSON continues counting down the days until his Transylvanian holiday by readng Dracula by Bram Stoker. Today, he discusses Chapter 9!
OK, this is the part of Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992) that had me most surprised.
Having never actually read the original book until now, I was befuddled when watching the Francis Ford Coppola film back in the early 1990s when I saw Mina head off to Eastern Europe and marry Jonathon Harker in an Orthodox Church.
None of that was ever mentioned in any of the Dracula movies I’d seen but as I am learning there is more left out of Drac flicks than has ever been kept in.
I’m discovering that for all its failings, Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola is probably the most authentic Dracula retelling. (I also don’t think it is Keanu Reeves gets too hard a time for his performance in the film. The guy couldn’t do an English accent, he shouldn’t have got the job in the first place.) But from what I can remember, they have the Mina and Jonathon married in an Orthodox Church by an Orthodox priest – whereas in the book, it is an Anglican missionary who does the job. As we have learned in previous chapters, Harker is very Church of England. It’s unbelievable he would get married in an Orthodox ceremony. Bram Stoker’s Dracula – the film – let’s style overtake substance at times, though it is still miles ahead of other Dracula adaptations.
So as I have revealed, Mina has travelled to Hungary to look after her poor, dear Jonathon who has survived his experience with the Prince of Darkness. Her letter back to Lucy is so gushing about her fiance, it is sickly. I can only imagine Bram Stoker has made Mina and Lucy so cutesy and girly that when the blood really hits the fan, their character arcs will be even more dramatic.
Back home, Renfield is becoming a lot calmer but he is still his notoriously crazy self, collecting flies etc. On one of Renfield’s mini-escapes to Carfax, Dr Seward notes a giant bat sweeping across the face of the moon. The Doctor is interested in the bat’s deliberate flight. Unlike normal bats who seem to flap about, this one looks like it knows what it is doing. By the end of the chapter, Renfield says he is sick of flies and gives the impression he is interested in much larger prey.
Most important for the chapter is that Lucy despite showing a brave public face is not getting much better. No one knows what is wrong with her, so Dr Seward telegrams his old teacher Professor Van Helsing to come to give his professional opinion immediately!
What I’ve learned from this chapter: For such an educated man, Van Helsing – with all his qualifications, “MD, DPh, D. LiT, ETC, ETC” – has an almost Yoda-like grasp of the English language. Clearly this is a way of Bram Stoker making Van Helsing sound foreign, though to me it sounds a little stupid and probably a little bigoted.
Favourite Quote: Telegram, Seward, London, To Van Helsing, Amsterdam: “6 September.–Terrible change for the worse. Come at once. Do not lose an hour. I hold over telegram to Holmwood till have seen you.” The game is on, you sucker!
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.