dracula today

anonymous asked:

So I know there have been some game changing properties that altered the pop culture landscape. Like Superman kind of killing pulps and Star Wars ushering out the thoughtful Sci-Fi of the early 70's for spectacle. Are there other lesser known but as important things out there? Was there something that suddenly caused everyone to go gaga for pulp heroes, that kind of thing?

Here’s one off the top of my head that is overlooked: Eric van Lustbader’s thriller novel, Ninja. It’s amazing to think about, but before the early 1980s, nobody even knew what a ninja was…except for maybe Kurosawa film devotees or people who read Black Belt magazine.

It’s funny how something can be unknown one minute and then a household word the next. Here’s a fun fact to blow the mind of people under 30: before the 1970s, most Americans had no idea what yogurt was. It was considered a bizarre foreign food popular in the middle east and Europe. 

Like yogurt, ninja were utterly unknown until the 1980s. Then came a 1980 thriller, Eric van Lustbader’s Ninja, which sold over 18+ million copies, and was something like the Da Vinci Code of its day. It was like a monster movie where the monster was a Ninja. The novel sold so well that suddenly, a word and a concept existed that wasn’t there before. Suddenly, Ninja were everywhere. One of my favorite signs of 80s Ninjamania was how many martial arts schools, “McDojos,” switched to black uniforms. 

Another pop culture game changer that is overlooked is Fred Saberhagen’s 1975 novel, “The Dracula Tape,” which introduced the concept of vampires as sexy, sympathetic, and misunderstood outsiders. In the 1970s, Saberhagen was considered one of the three biggest scifi writers alive, but nobody reads him much today. Saberhagen’s Dracula Tape kicked off the entire trend: the next year, 1976, you had a market that hungrily received Anne Rice’s Interview with the Vampire, and the year after that, you had the 1977 Broadway stage production of Dracula with Frank Langella (his understudy was some lesser known New York actor named Raul Julia) where Dracula became the ultimate lover. All of these were possible because of the approach taken in Saberhagen’s novel, which, despite the way his star has dimmed today, was a really, really big deal: it was widely talked about and a top seller.

It’s January 7th 2018

Here’s a good Dan song to listen to today: It’s Dangerous to Go Alone by Starbomb

Here’s a good Grumps episode to watch today:
Castlevania Dracula X: EXtreme EXcitement - PART 2

Here’s a cool Dan fact for you today:
While some people have witnessed Dan’s trick of spitting gum up high in the air and catching it at live shows, this dates back to when he was a kid. He says he practiced doing it a lot, and even does it around his friends still. And now lovelies, too.

Here’s a good picture of Dan to look at today:

I mentioned this ages back on this blog, but something I will never get over is how the specter of drowning haunts Stoker’s novels. While I try to be sort of cautious about reading too much of an author’s biography into their works, Stoker is such a ham-fistedly sentimental and completely unsubtle writer that I cannot help but see his neverending parade of nearly-drowned heroines saved by brawny, handsome men with law degrees as an attempt to work through the fallout of his failed attempt in 1882 to save a man who jumped into the Thames. And Stoker’s Gary Stus almost always save the day. The painfully autobiographical Archibald Hunter rescues Marjorie Drake. Poor little Pearl isn’t actually swept out to sea in The Man. Eurydice Dana in “When the Sky Rains Gold” manages to escape the awful fate you’d expect for girl named Eurydice.

But then you have Dracula, and while nobody literally drowns in that novel, Lucy speaks of hearing the bells mentioned by drowning men in her flight from her body. She compares herself to Ophelia while garlanded with flowers. Death, quite literally come to her from the sea. And unlike virtually every other Stokerian heroine in her predicament,* Lucy doesn’t get rescued even when there are brave men to save her. Ham-fistedly sentimental reader that I am, this really sticks with me. Unlike Stoker’s general stock of soppy, goofy, wish-fulfillment laden romances, Dracula hits on this brutal truth about the impossibility of saving somebody even when you have the desperate wish to do so, and this is something that the author probably lived with on a very personal level. Jack Seward, one of the only Stokerian heroes who can’t save anybody, isn’t easy to read as being much of a stand in for Bram. Unlike Stoker’s less subtle inserts, he is not a lawyer, an athlete, a Mathematics student, a graduate of Trinity College Dublin, or somebody literally named Abraham; on the surface, he has more in common with Stoker’s doctor brothers than with Bram himself. Still, insofar as I am a sappy fangirl and not a serious academic, I like to imagine that the despair he speaks to might offer us some scant glance into his author’s “secretive” emotional self. 

I know that -whether it resonated with Bram or not- it certainly resonates with me. 

* Excepting Maggie McWhirter, but I haven’t readThe Watter’s Mou in like… five years, so I’m not going to write about her here. :P


“Focus should be on the art of film, not on the business of film.”