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…show more content…
Dracula is of mixed racial heritage and blood “in the whirlpool of European races,” a concept which would have been fearful to the novel’s white, upper-class English audience. This widespread xenophobia, a fear and hatred of foreigners, was a reaction by Victorian England to the perceived threat of outsiders to white genetic purity. Dracula’s real threat is not in the physical destruction of Western Europe, but in the assimilation, reproduction, and infestation caused by the literal and figurative mixing of his barbarian animal blood with that of the “superior” English race. The concept of eugenics, the “qualitative and quantitative improvement of the human genome” (Galton 99), gained widespread popularity during Stoker’s lifetime and became a prevalent theme in the works of many authors aiming to make a social commentary or criticism on the invasion of England by foreign peoples. Adolph Hitler would later adopt eugenic ideals in the intended creation of a “master race,” one which victimized many of the same groups and relied upon almost identical anti-Semitic imagery as the earlier Victorian proponents (Hauner 15). Race is a key element in the movie Blacula, in which the film’s eponymous villain is an ancient African prince cursed by Count Dracula to walk the earth for eternity in search of human blood. Blacula is literally and metaphorically an updated version of the Transylvanian count, adapted for a primarily

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