October is the perfect time to get a little creeped out and read a scary story. When I was a preteen, I couldn’t enough of horror books and movies. One girlfriend and I watched horror movies every Friday night in her basement until we got bored with them. As for books, I went straight from school-age mysteries to Stephen King and then on to more intense, violent books, although the only author I can name right now is Shaun Hutson. Somehow I managed to still sleep at night, most likely because the real world seemed a lot scarier to me than a book or a movie.
I had never picked up what is considered a “gothic novel” until I read Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein in my twenties for a “science fiction and fantasy” course. I didn’t even know that gothic is considered a type of fiction until I started my classic book challenge. I thought gothic was a nice name for scary-looking architecture. I like the term gothic novel. It sounds dark, edgy, sexy and dangerous.
This month I will be reading Dracula for R.I.P. VIII which is the famous gothic novel written in 1897 by Bram Stoker. Vampires are fantastical creatures with supernatural powers that rule the night and consume the blood of people. They have captured our imagination for generations and continue to permeate popular culture to this day. Although Stoker was not the first author to write about vampires, Count Dracula is the character which became a fictional icon and had us both romanticizing the life of vampires, as well hiding under our bed sheets quivering with fear and covering our necks.
It will be the first time I read Dracula. I saw Francis Ford Coppola’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula in 1992 with an old boyfriend. A lot of the deeper things that Dracula represents went over my head at the time, but my boyfriend and I thought the passion between Count Dracula and Mina was very romantic. Looking back, I have to smile thinking about squeaky clean Mina Murray falling under Dracula’s spell. Girls always fall head over heels for the bad boys.