HOLLYWOOD GOTHIC: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen by David J. Skal

HOLLYWOOD GOTHIC: The Tangled Web of Dracula from Novel to Stage to Screen

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KIRKUS REVIEW

Scores of b&w illustrations--photographs, drawings, poster reproductions, etc., many quite obscure--are the prime attraction of this handsomely designed history of the Dracula story by horror/science-fiction novelist Skal (Antibodies, 1988). And Skal's text proves a strong wall on which to hang those illustrations: diligently researched, thoughtful, it neatly illuminates Dracula's evolution from a Byron clone (in the pre-Bram Stoker vampire novels by Polidori and Le Fanu) to an ""ever adaptable"" cultural icon. Since Hollywood's treatment of Stoker's novel is the heart of Skal's story, his tale is necessarily one of greed and financial manipulation as well, as he chronicles the rising and waning fortunes of those who fed off of Stoker's night-feeder: among them, Florence Stoker, the author's widow; publisher Horace Liveright; Universal Pictures; and, of course, Bela Lugosi, who fed very poorly, paid only $500 a week for acting in one of the most highly publicized and sought-after roles in Hollywood history. Skal's survey of recent Dracula manifestations is a bit skimpy--although he does imaginatively see the Glenn Close role in Fatal Attraction as Dracula-inspired; but a thorough Dracula chronology (note the 1975 film Deafula, done in Sign) makes up for it.

Pub Date: Oct. 31st, 1990
Publisher: Norton