Tomorrow is an important day in the history of vampires.
Stop getting excited ladies, a new “Twilight” movie is not being released. I don’t mean vampires who wear glitter and eyeshadow (which should be reserved solely for movie men playing Goblin Kings). I mean real vampires – the ones you’re supposed to be afraid of, the ones who are driven away by garlic because it kills them, not because it would kill their breath when trying to make out with a mortal girl (or a shirtless werewolf).
On May 26, 1897, Bram Stoker first published “Dracula” and, in honor of when vampires kept their shirts on, I intend to start reading it tomorrow. Dracula holds a special place in my heart, as it was the first R-rated movie I saw. I was at a sleepover and, after a long day of baseball and eating my body weight in cake, we turned off all of the lights and put on “Bram Stoker’s Dracula,” the version starring cinematic genius Keanu Reeves. I was eleven years old and scared out of my mind. Less than a week later, I saw “The Silence of the Lambs” (my second R-rated movie starring Anthony Hopkins) and am very surprised I do not have a life-long fear of Anthony Hopkins or all English men in general.
In honor of the first edition of Dracula, here are some fun facts from that empirical research Web site all of my students cite exclusively, Wikipedia:
– Despite being the most well-known vampire novel, Dracula was not the first. It was preceded and partly inspired by Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1871 “Carmilla”, about a lesbian vampire who preys on a lonely young woman
– As of 2009, an estimated 217 films feature Dracula in a major role, a number second only to Sherlock Holmes (223 films).
– It has been suggested that Stoker was influenced by the history of Countess Elizabeth Bathory, who was born in the Kingdom of Hungary. Bathory is suspected to have tortured and killed anywhere between 36 and 700 young women over a period of many years, and it was commonly believed that she committed these crimes in order to bathe in or drink their blood, believing that this preserved her youth.