Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula at the Hollywood Wax Museum
Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula at the Hollywood Wax Museum

The character of Count Dracula from the 1897 novel Dracula by Bram Stoker, has remained popular over the years, and many forms of media have adopted the character in various forms. In their book Dracula in Visual Media, authors John Edgar Browning and Caroline Joan S. Picart declared that no other horror character or vampire has been emulated more times than Count Dracula.[1] Most variations of Dracula across film, comics, television, documentaries predominantly explore Dracula as he was portrayed in film with only a few more closely adapting Stoker's original narrative. These including borrowing the look of Count Dracula in both the Universal's series of Dracula and Hammer's series of Dracula, including include the characters clothing, mannerisms, physical features hair style and his motivations such as wanting to be a nearby home away from Europe.[2]

Stage

Program for the 1897 Lyceum Theatre stage production of Bram Stoker's Dracula, or The Undead
Program for the 1897 Lyceum Theatre stage production of Bram Stoker's Dracula, or The Undead

Drama

In 1924, the British producer Hamilton Deane premiered a stage version of Dracula at the Grand Theatre in Derby, England.[3] This version of the play was a modernized retelling of Stoker's story.[3] The play's success led to Deane taking it on tour for the next three years.[3] The play opened in London's Little Theatre on February 14, 1927, where it was sold well while not being critically well received.[3] After seeing the play in London, American producer Horace Liveright bought the rights to the for Broadway, and hired John L. Balderston to Americanize the Deane's text.[3][4] The Broadway version featured actors who would later be cast into the Universal film, including Bela Lugosi as Dracula, Edward Van Sloan as Prof. Van Helsing, Herbert Bunston as Dr. Seward.[5][3] Dracula opened at New York's Fulton Theatre on October 5, 1927, where it ran for 265 performances finally closing in New York in May 1928.[3] Gary Don Rhodes described the play as "taking America storm", a statement backed up by a 1930 article in the Chicago Tribune claiming that the play "has been rolling around the country ever since its first vogue two or three seasons ago, coaxing money into box offices that had abandoned hope of the drama, and of the shriek-and-shudder plays of the last five years it easily leads the list."[6][7]

O. D. Woodward purchased rights to present Dracula on the West Coast, and the play opened at the Biltmore Theater in Los Angeles on June 25, 1928. The play was originally booked for a four-week engagement, but proved so popular that it was held over, closing on August 18, 1928.[8] The play would continue in other countries in 1929 such as Australia.[9] Lugosi would return to act in the play in 1933 after his appearance in the film Dracula (1931) and would return again to the play in 1941 for a two-year tour and again later in 1947.[10][11] A revival of the play would be held by Leo Shull called Genius, Inc., opened in December 1942 featuring a Dracula with a Toothbrush moustache.[10] John Carradine took to the stage as Dracula in the early 1950s. When the play performed in Detroit, several accidents happened on stage leading audiences to laugh at them and what were supposed to be scary moments.[11] Frank Langella took on the role of Count Dracula beginning August 7, 1967, an adaptation that William Gibson, director of the Berkshire declared to be "the worst play of the season".[12]

The Deane-Balderston adaptation of Dracula was described by Bruce Scivally as "seemingly in performance every year since its debut".[13] Variations involving Count Dracula were performed as plays in parody such as Fangs Ain't What They Used to Be in 1969 and I'm Sorry, the Bridge is Out, You'll Have to Spend the Night in 1970.[12] Other plays like Dracula Sabbat from 1970 was basically a scripted black mass featuring nudity and simulated sex acts.[13] For the plays 50th anniversary in America, was developed again with Langella in the lead.[14] On the play's reveal it was praised for its sets designed by Edward Gorey and Langella's performance which Scivally proclaimed "reclaimed the vampire from a decade of camp and parody and presented Dracula with grace, dignity and a healthy dose of sex appeal."[15] It was sold out its first two weeks leading to merchandizing of the play with Gorey-themed wallpaper, a toy theatre, and short-lived fashion of men wearing capes in Manhattan.[15][16] Scivally stated that after the 1970s ended an "explosion" of vampire plays continued into the next decades.[17] Other Dracula plays continued through the 1980s to the 21st century in Chicago and New York with several being variations on the Deane-Balderston adaptation, new stories or parodies featuring actors like Raul Julia, Daniel Day-Lewis and Martin Landau performing as Count Dracula.[18][17][19]

Musical

Early musical adaptions of Dracula played for camp.[20] At the Dublin Theater Festival in 1965, a musical comedy Dearest Dracula. The musical contained 15 songs and received a positive review from Robert B. Byrnes of the Los Angeles Times.[21] Other musical adaptions would follow such as Dracula, A Musical Nightmare (1978) starring Joe Spano.[21][20] Musical adaptations continued into the 1982 with Jack Sharkey's Dracula, The Musical? in 1982 which was written under the pen name of Rick Abbot.[20] Possessed, The Dracula Musical was produced off-broadway with a production of $1 million.[22] The story is re-imainged into a modern-day asylum. It received a negative review by Alvin Klein of the New York Times who suggested that "Perhaps there are no bad ideas for musicals, only bad musicals, like this one."[22][23] The United Kingdom had Dracula, Another Bloody Musical which opened at the Westminster Theatre in London.[23]

In 1998 Halifax's Neptune Theatre debuted Dracula: A Chamber Musical which ran for which ran for six months at Canada's Stratford Festival in 1999. This version was not a parody or based on the Deane-Balderston play, but more of an iteration of the original novel.[24] I 2001, Dracula, the Musical premiered at the La Jolla Playhouse where it was staged by Des McAnuff.[25] McAnuff stated believed that "there's been a tendency to parody [Dracula] or to not trust it. We all felt that if we really tapped into what made the book powerful, that really would translate on stage."[25] The musical received poor reviews from The Los Angeles Times, the San Diego Union-Tribune.[25] Joop van den Ende saw a workshop of Dracula, the Musical and opened it on Broadway in 2004 adding new songs and different staging.[26] This version was also not received well by critics.[27] The show closed after 154 performances, but proved to be a hit in Europe.[28]

Opera

Prior to Stoker's novel, there were operas based on vampire fiction such as Heinrich Marschner's Der Vampyr composed in 1828 based on John Polidori's short work "The Vampyre" (1819).[29] The later half of the 20th Century had Count Dracula had composers attempting vampire themed operas with Count Dracula, such as Sue-Ellen Case "non-opera" Johnny Appleseed/Dracula - The Universe in Infancy performed in April 1970 in Los Angeles.[30] John Deak of the New York Philharmonic presented two scenes of his Lucy and the Count for string quinteted at Cooper Union in February 1983. A review in the New York Times declared the presentation as "amusing and a little more - intentionally absurd"[30] Composer Robert Moran was commissioned to create The Dracula Diary in 1994 which received a negative review in the New York Times by K. Robert Schwardz who found it to have "Generic chord progressions, clumsy text setting and cheesy synthesized sound effects"[31] In March 1999, David Del Tredici's Dracula premiered based on Alfred Corn's poem My Neighbor, the Distinguised Count.[31]

Ballet

Films

1947 re-issue poster for ''Dracula'' (1931). Several ''Dracula'' adaptations draw from the look and imagery of the 1931 film.
1947 re-issue poster for ''Dracula'' (1931). Several ''Dracula'' adaptations draw from the look and imagery of the 1931 film.

Further information: Dracula (Universal film series) and Dracula (Hammer film series)

Director F.W. Murnau made an adaptation of Dracula with Nosferatu (1922). Newman declared that this adaptation as "the only screen adaptation of Dracula to be primarily interested in horror, from the character's rat-like features and thin body, the film was, even more so than Caligari, "a template for the horror film."[34]

In June 1930, Universal Studios officially purchased the rights to both the play and the novel Dracula.[3][35] Dracula premiered on February 12, 1931, at the Roxy Theatre in New York again with Lugosi in the title role.[36][5] Contemporary critical response to Dracula was described by Tom Weaver, Michael Brunas and John Brunas, the authors of the book Universal Horrors, as "uniformly positive, some even laudatory" and as "one of the best received critically of any of the Universal horror pictures."[37] Film historians have differed on what films belong to the series. Ken Hanke wrote in A Critical Guide to Horror Film Series that Universal produced only three films (Dracula, Dracula's Daughter, and Son of Dracula) that "can properly be called part of a loosely grouped Dracula series" though Son of Dracula is really a distant cousin and that the films where Dracula makes "token appearances" were more incorporated into the Frankenstein series.[38] Gary D. Rhodes wrote in his book Tod Browning's Dracula that Universal had produced five films in their classic era whose plotlines assume the audience would be familiar with the Count Dracula character from either viewing or being aware of the 1931 film.[39] Rhodes noted that the later films that include Dracula such as The House of Frankenstein and House of Dracula have the character portrayed differently, as a Southern gentleman with a moustache with only limited appearances in the films, such as his character only appearing for 15 minutes in The House of Frankenstein.[40][41] In the 1940s and 1950s, Dracula usually appeared as a supporting character in a handful of films.[42]

Hammer originally began developing American-styled science fiction films in the early 1950s but later branched into horror with their colour films The Curse of Frankenstein and Dracula (1958).[43][44] These films would birth two horror film stars: Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing.[44] Hammer's Dracula series would continue up to the 1970s where it was updated to contemporary settings with Dracula A.D. 1972 (1972) and its sequel The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973), after which, Lee retired from the Dracula role.[45] In the late 1970s, remakes of Dracula were made, including John Badham's Dracula (1979) and Werner Herzog's Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979).[46][47] Other European productions enchanced the eroticism of the Dracula story such as Paul Morrissey's Blood for Dracula (1974).[48]

In the 1980s, Dracula rarely appeared in film outside nostalgia-themed films like The Monster Squad (1987) and Waxwork (1988).[49] Following the release of Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992), a small wave of similar high-budgeted gothic horror romance films were released in the 1990s.[50] Gary Oldman's portrayal of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula helped include new staples to the character such as long hair and a more prince-like appearance opposed to a Count-like one.[2]

Pornography

The character of Dracula has been an inspiration throughout the history of pornographic film in various high and low budget productions. The character is usually represented either emphasizing the combination of sexual and dangerous aspects of the character. [51] Dracula and Dracula parodies would continue to appear in pornography as production on these films moved from theatres, to home video to the internet.[52]

Dracula often appeared in various sexploitation and hardcore adaptations from the 1960s onward. In these films, Dracula is not always exclusively heterosexual or male.[53] During these periods, pornography films would often parody popular genres leading to Dracula making brief appearances in pseudo-documentary films like Kiss Me Quick! (1964) and later in narrative sexploitation films like Dracula, the Dirty Old Man (1969) and Sex and the Single Vampire (1970).[53][54] Dracula would appear in the early hardcore pornography film Dracula and the Boys (1969) which is the first homosexual vampire in film.[54]

Television

TV adaptations

Dracula has been adapted for TV several times, with some adaptations taking many liberties and others trying to stay faithful more or less to original source.

Jack Palance as Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula
Jack Palance as Count Dracula in Bram Stoker's Dracula

TV appearances

Animation

Dracula has even been adapted for children's literature and entertainment, serving as the basis for several vampire cartoon characters over the years, although in the interest of creating child-friendly characters, the vampiric nature of the character is often understated or not referenced at all.

Anime and manga

Books

Short stories

Comics

Further information: Horror comics

Horror comics suffered in competition from the Superhero fiction genre, with Dracula and other vampires sometimes finding their mythos absorbed into the genre, such as Dracula's cape seen in films being part of the inspiration for the look of Batman.[72] Dracula was first adapted into a comic in the Avon in August 1953 as Eerie #12. The comic generally faithful to Stoker's book with a changed ending.[73] The comic book industries self-regulation of American comics forbid vampires from appearing in major comic publications such as Marvel Comics, DC Comics and other major publications from 1954 to 1971.[74] In 1962 and 1963, Dell Publishing released comics based on the Universal horror properties including Dracula.[75] These comics featured new stories, not based on the films.[75] Dell re-thought Dracula in 1966, where a follow-up comic turned a descendant of Dracula, who turned into a character that resembled Batman.[76]

The Tomb of Dracula was released by Marvel in the early 1970s that led to Count Dracula later battling superheroes such as Spider-Man and Captain Britain.[77] Dracula Lives! (1973) and Giant-Size Dracula (1974) followed with Marvel endings its Dracula comics in 1980.[78][79] The 1980s included Dracula titles including Blood of Dracula which ran for 19 issues.[79] Other titles ranged from Eternity Comics's adaptation of Stoker's novel to Pioneer Comics' Vegas Knights which had Dracula fighting ninjas.[80] In the 1991, Marvel recreated Tomb of Dracula for a four issue limited series[80] By the end of the year, Marvel released Batman & Dracula: Red Rain which sold well.[81] Topps comics released based on the Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) film.[75] In 1992 to 1993, Dracula would battle several characters ranging from Zorro, to several superheros including Spider-Man, The Silver Surfer and the X-men.[82]

Several indie publishers such as IDW Publishing and Dark Horse Comics making darker and horror themed comics such as 30 Days of Night led to an illustrated issue of the novel Dracula in 2009 as well as Konami's Castlevania franchise.[83]

Toys and games

In his article on horror-themed toys and collectibles in Rue Morgue magazine, James Burrell found that in the late 1950s as a new generation of children watched Universal Pictures catalogue of horror films on Shock Theatre, which gave the series a "kid-friendly" status.[84] Most toy manufacturers conformed to the Toy Advertising Guidelines created by the Code Authority of the National Association of Broadcasters.[85] In 1963, the American retailer Montgomery Ward mailed out copies of their Christmas catalog which features models of various popular monsters including Dracula made by the Aurora Plastics Corporation.[85][86] These were followed by various bubblegum cards, stickers, board games, battery-operated and wind-up toys, rubber marks made by companies like Leaf Brands, Remco, and Don Post Studios.[87][88][89] By 1964, Phil Shabecoff of the New York Times reported this as a "Monster-mania" for toy companies while a spokesperson from Remco stated "Our monster toys aren't nearly the hot item that our The Beatles dolls are."[87] These toys continued to be produced into the 1970s resembling the Universal Horror look of Dracula with less and less produced with the release of Star Wars leading to more toys developed by for that line.[90] Toys of the Universal monsters were re-introduced in the mid-1980s by Imperial Toy Corporation who put out a set of four Universal monster figures.[88]

In 1998, Sideshow Collectibles was the first toy companies to sculpt Toys and action figures of Count Dracula that were accurate to actors like Bela Lugosi.[91] Toys featuring the character of Dracula continued to be produced into the 21st century with by various companies including McFarlane Toys, NECA, and Funko.[88]

Video games

Promotional image of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (2003) at E3 in 2003. The video game series Castlevania is one of the long running video game series featuring Dracula as a final boss character.
Promotional image of Castlevania: Lament of Innocence (2003) at E3 in 2003. The video game series Castlevania is one of the long running video game series featuring Dracula as a final boss character.

Count Dracula has appeared in video games ranging from being a lead character to brief cameo appearances.[92] Among the first Dracula-themed computer games was 1981's The Count by Adventure International.[93] The 1986, the game Dracula was released which contained static graphics considered gory enough to become the first computer game to be rated "15" by the British Board of Film Censors.[93] The game series Castlevania by Konami which began in 1986 on the Nintendo Entertainment System featured Simon Belmont who traverses into Castle Dracula to have a final confrontation with the final boss character of Dracula.[94] The series continued for decades, with Dracula being resurrected continuously throughout the series.[95]

As Castlevania were released throughout the 1990s, Dracula continued to appear in early Super Nintendo Entertainment System and Sega Genesis following the highly popular Bram Stoker's Dracula (1992) film. Several Dracula related video games followed such as Bram Stoker's Dracula (1993) and Dracula Unleashed (1993).[95] At the turn of the millennium with the rise of the survival horror video game genre, other Dracula titles appeared such as Dracula: Resurrection (1999) .[96] These games were set years after the event's of Stoker's novel, while Charles Herold of the New York Times found these Dracula games having settings and themes to those of Christopher Lee.[97] Four sequels were followed in the next thirteen years.[97]

Radio and audio

Music and audio recordings

Count Dracula began appearing on musical records as early as 1958 when horror host John Zacherle recorded the novelty single "Dinner with Drac" which charted on the Billboard Pop Singles chart the same year.[104][105] When Dick Clark played it on his American Bandstand television show, he requested Zacherle record a less-violent version.[104] Other novelty songs followed such as Bobby "Boris" Pickett and the Crypt-Kickers with their song "Monster Mash" which made reference to Dracula among various monsters while imitating the voice of Boris Karloff.[106] In the early 1960s, horror-themed spoken word albums were released, such as Famous Monsters Speak (1963) featuring actor Gabriel Dell imitating Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula.[107] Similar albums followed recorded by Christopher Lee reading a variation of Stoker's novel.[108] Similar recordings were released into the 1970s.[109] Power Records released audio recordings accompanied by comic adaptations of Dracula such as their Tomb of Dracula series in 1974.[109]

Some rock musicians made reference to horror characters in the 1970s, such as Blue Öyster Cult having several references to vampirism in songs like "Tattoo Vampire", "Harvest Moon", "After Dark", "I Love the Night" and more specifically to Dracula with "Nosferatu".[110] The British group Bauhaus would write the 1979 song "Bela Lugosi's Dead", a track that described an exaggerated funeral of Lugosi, with Alexis Petridis of The Guardian stating the track "would have been just another piece of post-punk experimentation had it not been for the lyrics, which depicted the funeral of the Dracula star, with bats swooping and virgin brides marching past his coffin."[111] Petridis declared the song spawned several similar bands to Bauhaus in its wake leading to gothic rock becoming a codified musical genre.[111][112] Songs outside rock music making references to Dracula were in hip hop music ranging from small references in The Sugarhill Gang's "Rapper's Delight" (1979) to more broad takes including Outkast's song "Dracula's Wedding" from Speakerboxxx/The Love Below (2003).[112][113]

Films adaptations of Count Dracula would influence the extreme metal music scene. J. Benett of Decibel described Emperor's In the Nightside Eclipse (1994) as establishing the band as "the reigning masters of a more complex, atmospheric style of "symphonic black metal"".[114] Emperor guitarist Samoth specifically described that among their visual and musical influences of Lord of the Rings, the band had a period where they were obsessed with Dracula noting Nosferatu (1922) and Nosferatu the Vampyre (1979) as being a "part of our ambiance and visual influences."[115]

Others

The General Mills cereal mascot Count Chocula is a vampire who craves Count Chocula cereal rather than blood. His title of Count is an allusion to that of Count Dracula's.

The association of the book with the Yorkshire fishing village of Whitby has led to the staging of the bi-annual Whitby Gothic Weekend, an event that sees the town visited by Goths from all over Britain and occasionally from other parts of the world. In addition, the Royal National Lifeboat Institution runs a fundraising bungee jump event in the town every April named the Dracula Drop.

Mad magazine has published countless spoofs of Dracula. In one, appearing in the Mad Summer Special 1983, on the inside front cover, a cartoon sequence drawn by Sergio Aragonés shows Dracula attacking a hippie who has taken LSD; Drac staggers away, seeing colorful hallucinations including blood, bats and such.

In the film Forgetting Sarah Marshall, composer Peter Bretter (Jason Segel), in a subplot, finishes his Dracula-themed rock opera titled A Taste for Love.

Russian authors Andrey Shary and Vladimir Vedrashko in 2009 published a book Sign D: Dracula in Books and on the Screen devoted in particular to Dracula image implications in Soviet and Russian popular and mass culture.

In the United Kingdom, discount store Poundland changes the voice of its self-service checkouts to that of Dracula throughout the Halloween retail period.[116]

Tourism

There are several locations associated with Dracula and Bram Stoker related tourism in Ireland, Britain, and Romania. These include Whitby in North Yorkshire and Transylvania in central Romania, where especially Bran Castle is marketed to tourists as "Dracula's Castle".

See also

References

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Sources