Comparing Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the 1972 Film "Blacula" Essay

Comparing Bram Stoker’s Dracula and the 1972 Film "Blacula" Essay

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Bram Stoker’s Dracula is not only a classic story of men and monsters, but a dramatic reactionary work to the perceived threats to Victorian society in nineteenth century England. In modern times there have been many film adaptations of the novel, each developing a unique analysis or criticism of the literary text within the framework of the society and time period in which it was created. The 1972 film Blacula is one of the most culturally specific variations on the story of Dracula, and highlights many of the themes and messages found in Stoker’s original text. Among the primary similarities between the novel and the film is the portrayal of race, sexuality, nationality, and culture, and the characterization in each work speaks to the fears and ideals of their respective dominant societies.
The presence of racial stereotypes and commentary on the interaction of different races is a cornerstone of the Dracula narrative. In Stoker’s novel, Count Dracula is representative of the growing European culture of xenophobia and anti-Semitism which would rise to near hysteria in the coming decades. The concept of race was not limited to skin color or nationality in the nineteenth century, and was a means of categorizing people by “cultural as well as physical attributes” (Warren 127). Dracula is described as being covetous of ancient gold and jewels, childlike and simple in his malice, and more animalistic than human, traits frequently attributed to the Jewish people by Christian society (Newman). His material appearance is distinguished by extremely pale skin, dark features, a nose with a “high bridge…and peculiarly arched nostrils,” and “bushy hair that seemed to curl of its own profusion.” Stoker’s audience would have recognized...


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Crain, William. Blacula. 1972. American International Pictures. CD-ROM.

Galton, David J., and Clare J. Galton. "Francis Galton: And Eugenics Today." Journal of Medical Ethics, 24.2 (1998): 99-101. JSTOR. Web. 8 Mar. 2010.

Hauner, Milan. "Did Hitler Want World Dominion?" Journal of Contemporary History 13.1 (1978). JSTOR. Web. 19 Mar. 2010.

Newman, David. "Integration and Ethnic Spatial Concentration: The Changing Distribution of the Anglo-Jewish Community." Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers 10.3 (1985): 360-65. JSTOR. Web. 19 Mar. 2010.

Stoker, Bram. Dracula. Stilwell, KS: Digireads.com Publishing, 2005. 1-10. Print.

Warren, Louis S. "Buffalo Bill Meets Dracula: William F. Cody, Bram Stoker, and the Frontiers of Racial Decay." The American Historical Review 107.4 (2002): 127. JSTOR. Web. 9 Mar. 2010.

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