The Classic, Classic Monster Movies and Literature
Sometimes, the storylines to films based on popular novels become so ingrained in the public's mind, that they begin to think that the film's storyline is actually the same as the novel's. Such is the case with Bram Stoker's classic tale of the undead, "Dracula".
The first film version of the story, "Nosferatu: A Symphony Of Horror" was produced in Germany in 1921, directed by F.W. Murnau and starring Max Schreck as the Count, here named "Graf Orlock". The reason for the name change? Murnau's script was plagarized from Stoker's novel and the resulting lawsuit filed by Stoker's widow NEARLY resulted in all copies of the film being destroyed. (The suit was filed in England and was relatively unenforceable in Germany.) This simpified version of the story tells of the Count's trip from his his crumbling castle to Vienna, where he preys upon innocents until a virtuous young woman uses herself as bait and keeps the Count occupied until he's destroyed by the sun's rays.
The legendary version produced by Universal Studios in 1931, directed by Tod Browning and starring Bela Lugosi in his most famous role, kept the same basic storyline (which was also used in the popular stage version in which Lugosi starred on Broadway,) but this time used the character of Professor Van Helsing, from Stoker's original novel, as the Count's adversary. This time around, The Count is destroyed with a wooden stake driven through his heart by Van Helsing.
Stoker's original story was composed of a series of letters and journal entries made by various characters in the story, and how they all lead up to the final confrontation with the Count, only this occurs BACK at The Count's castle in Transylvania.
This aspect of the story was never really utilized on the big screen until the excellent 1992 Francis Ford Coppola production, "Bram Stoker's "Dracula". While largely true to the novel, this version has a "re-incarnated lost love" story angle (which isn't present in the book) but DOES have the unique touch of having a "prologue" combining the life of the fictional "Count" with the exploits of the REAL historical figure, the Rumanian ruler Vlad Tepes (aka., "Vlad Dracul", aka, "Vlad The Impaler").
Click here to read or print the complete Brom Stoker novel, Dracula, on-line.
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Phantom of the Opera
The Hunchback of Notradame
The Living Dead & Zombies
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