In Bram Stoker's Dracula, the vampire character of Count Dracula is characterized as a charming, well educated, wealthy man with the ominous physical characteristics of a stereotypical vampire. William Dafoe's portrayal of the vampire character, Max Schreck, in the film "Shadow of the Vampire" is that of a less educated man, working as an actor playing himself. E. Elias Merhige directs the film in a way that the audience can look comically upon the characteristics and lifestyle of the vampire. This portrayal is much lighter than the haunting depiction of vampires created in Stoker's novel. Where Merhige's Schreck preys on his victims as payment for his "acting" in the movie, Stroker's Count Dracula seeks the blood of the living in order to survive . The book and film use very different contexts and thus leave their audiences with very different views on the forever popular myth of vampires.
Vampires are generally characterized as tall, scary old men, with very pale skin and fang like teeth. Stoker's Dracula fits this description perfectly. He is cleanly shaven with a long white moustache to go with his pale skin. He has the typical physiognomy of a vampire with his pale skin, pointed ears and sharp teeth. Dracula's pale skin in contrast with his dark eyes create an image of death, and the cold feeling of Dracula's skin that...
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...to that of a human. Ironically, it is only in this innocent state that the vampire can be killed. Vampires will forever be perceived as scary, ghost like creatures that suck the life out of human beings, and leave only teeth marks. "Shadow of a Vampire," however begins to show vampires in another light. It seems almost satirical of the traditional vampire movies. Although it isn't blatant comedy, anyone who is familiar with the classic tales of vampires can see the humor behind the vampire character of Schreck. As "Shadow of a Vampire," offers a new way to see vampires, Dracula, preserves the deathly, scary perception of vampires that was created so many years ago. This drastic change in context is essential for the myth of vampires to remain popular. It is vital that writers come up with novel ideas concerning vampires in order to maintain people's interest.
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