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CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 07:01 AM
Vampires don't appear in mirrors -- everybody knows that. It's in the job description. It's a feature in a lot of vampire movies, and has been used in countless vampire jokes. It's a defining feature of the Undead.


Except, of course, that it really isn't. The Undead weren't Unseen in mirrors throughout their folkloric history, nor in pop culture from their blossoming in the early 19ith century through practically the end of it. Bram Stoker invented this "fact" about vampires for his novel Dracula, which not only codified the system of beliefs about vampires, it also made a lot of it up. This is one of the things it made up.

At first glance, you'd think it WAS a legitimate piece of folklore -- it certainly looks like one. The mirror captures or reflects the Soul, after all, and vampires have no souls, so they have no reflection, right? (Oddly enough, nobodsy has any problem with vampires showing up in photographs, or on television. And vampire shadows are an entire subject to themselves in vampire movies -- look at Murnau's Nosferatu, Dreyer's Vampyr, and Coppola's Dracula, all of which use shadows to eerie effect.

So Stoker invented the lack of reflection, then, of course, he used it to dramatic effect. This also shows up in the Dean/Balderston stage play Dracula and in the movies derived from it, where Van Helsing uses this to demonstrate to Dracula that he knows what he is.


So you'd think that, if any vampire would lack a reflection in films, it'd definitely be Dracula, right? Only it's not true. In at least two films, Dracula definitely reflects in a mirror. This can't be a mistake - every element in a movie is put there deliberately. If they realize that they made a mistake, they can re-shoot a scene.

Nosferatu is so obviously an uncredited (and non-royalty paying) ripoff of Dracula that Stoker's widow won court cases against the company that made it, and destroye every copy she could. In some prints, in fact, the Count isn't called by his official name "Count Orlok", but is frankly called "Dracula". So it seems really weird that, at the very end, as he is about to die, he is ostentatiously shown reflected in a mirror (almost at the very end, about 1:22):

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIVjKR1V.RsAUyz7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Youtube+Nosferatu&vid=27461e6a71f2801276bb77a98a123a7a&l=1%3A24%3A20&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608056254534059971%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DrcyzubFvBsA&tit=Nosferatu+%281922%29+-+Full+Movie&c=0&sigr=11bke0a8l&sigt=10t6770ii&sigi=11r4modms&age=1231016320&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=yfp-t-252&tt=b


Another case occurs in the 1948 film Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein -- the last gasp for several of the Universal monsters of the 1930s and 40s, and only the second time Bela Lugosi played Dracula on film (although he played other vampires before and after this). Bela had played the mirror scene countless times on stage, as well as in the Tod Browning film, so he was hardly unaware of this facet of Dracula. Universal made the film, so they certainly knew. But at 0:55 on this trailer, you can clearly see Drac reflected in a mirror that had to be deliberately placed there:

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIUjLR1VKE8AKf37w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByN2RnbHFoBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMw--?p=Youtube+Abbott+and+costello+Meet+Frankenstein&vid=c0925ba665635ce4ae6fb6e3a41ecbc0&l=1%3A40&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts2.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608050288822650669%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DpzwNVy6T4fY&tit=ABBOTT+AND+COSTELLO+MEET+FRANKENSTEIN+%28COLOR+TRAILER%29&c=2&sigr=11bhag19e&sigt=11la1phvk&sigi=11reu3v6q&age=1389055221&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=yfp-t-252&tt=b



(Added -- I hadn't even realized that a color trailer for this existed. As far as I know, this is the first time that the Frankenstein monster was officially recognized as being Green. The previous films were black and white. Some posters depicted him as green, but others showed him with normal flesh tones. Some colored lobby cards showed him green, IIRC, but this is the first and AFAIK only color footage showing the monster intended for any sort of release.

Scumpup
04-02-2015, 07:19 AM
Okay...

EinsteinsHund
04-02-2015, 07:28 AM
Nosferatu is so obviously an uncredited (and non-royalty paying) ripoff of Dracula that Stoker's widow won court cases against the company that made it, and destroye every copy she could. In some prints, in fact, the Count isn't called by his official name "Count Orlok", but is frankly called "Dracula". So it seems really weird that, at the very end, as he is about to die, he is ostentatiously shown reflected in a mirror (almost at the very end, about 1:22):

https://video.search.yahoo.com/video/play;_ylt=A2KLqIVjKR1V.RsAUyz7w8QF;_ylu=X3oDMTByZWc0dGJtBHNlYwNzcgRzbGsDdmlkBHZ0aWQDBGdwb3MDMQ--?p=Youtube+Nosferatu&vid=27461e6a71f2801276bb77a98a123a7a&l=1%3A24%3A20&turl=http%3A%2F%2Fts4.mm.bing.net%2Fth%3Fid%3DVN.608056254534059971%26pid%3D15.1&rurl=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DrcyzubFvBsA&tit=Nosferatu+%281922%29+-+Full+Movie&c=0&sigr=11bke0a8l&sigt=10t6770ii&sigi=11r4modms&age=1231016320&fr2=p%3As%2Cv%3Av&fr=yfp-t-252&tt=b


OTOH, IIRC, Murnau's Nosferatu introduced the vampires' fatal vulnerability to sunlight which wasn't in Bram Stoker's novel. IOW, the inconsistencies in the Dracula myth are no great wonder because most of the many different versions added/subtracted to/from it since Stoker's Dracula.

Edit: I remembered correctly. From Nosferatu's trivia section on imdb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv):


The concept in popular culture that sunlight is lethal to vampires is based on this film, which depicted such a death for the very first time in film history. F.W. Murnau knew that he would be sued for borrowing heavily from Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula without permission, so he changed the ending so that he could say this film and Dracula were not exactly the same.

Broomstick
04-02-2015, 07:32 AM
(Oddly enough, nobodsy has any problem with vampires showing up in photographs, or on television.
Some people do address this. For example, on the TV show Being Human vampires don't show up on cameras. In the Saint-Germain series of novels they don't show up in photographs, requiring vampires that travel a lot in the modern world to have busts of their heads by which to obtain passport photos. So yes, some people have addressed that

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 07:55 AM
OTOH, IIRC, Murnau's Nosferatu introduced the vampires' fatal vulnerability to sunlight which wasn't in Bram Stoker's novel. IOW, the inconsistencies in the Dracula myth are no great wonder because most of the many different versions added/subtracted to/from it since Stoker's Dracula.

Edit: I remembered correctly. From Nosferatu's trivia section on imdb (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0013442/trivia?ref_=tt_trv_trv):

Yes, but we can't hold Murnau responsible for this being part of the vampire corpus. As I say, Dame Stoker tried to have all copies destroyed, and the film wasn't widely known or circulated for years. In popular literature and in movies, vampires were destroyed by being staked, mainly, or by fire, or (as in an H.P. Lovecraft story, The Shunned House), by being dissolved in acid. But not by sunlight. In fact, in Carl Dreyer's Vampyr, the titular vampire is staked (with a metal stake) in broad daylight.

As I've mentioned before, the vampire dissolving in sunlight was brought back to the world by Curt (Kurt) Siodmak, a German scriptwriter who'd moved the Maerica to get away from the Nazis in the 1930s, and is responsible for a lot of our "knowledge" about the werewolf, which he made up, among other things. He wrote the screen story for Son of Dracula (which starred Lon Chaney Jr. as "Count Alucard" -- "Dracula" spelled backwards), and set his demise to exposure to sunlight. He did the same for Dracula himself (played by John Carradine) in House of Frankenstein. I suspect this method of death suited public sensitivity as a neat, bloodless way to get rid of the monster. These films came out during WWII, and the public didn't need reminders of the real bloody death going on in Europe and the Pacific.

The idea was cemented when Hammer adopted it without comment in the 1957 Horror of Dracula.




Nosferatu does depart from the novel in some ways, but keeps to it, in the main. Why they made this departure I do not know, but I observe that the usual scene where the Count is shown to have no reflection -- almost always the scene where Harker is shaving, but does not see Dracula reflected in the mirror (as in the novel and in many of the screen versions, although the stage play and the 1931 film substitute a scenhe with Van Helsing in the drawing room) is completely absent from Nosferatu. So not only do we see him reflected in the mirror, we are not given the scene where his lack of reflection is made mabifest. There must be some reason behind this. After all, they kept the sleeping in the coffin, the torpor by daylight, and many other features.

carnivorousplant
04-02-2015, 08:40 AM
I thought in the novel, that Dracula was killed by a bowie knife and sunlight.

MrAtoz
04-02-2015, 08:44 AM
I thought in the novel, that Dracula was killed by a bowie knife and sunlight.

Bowie knife and having his head cut off--interestingly, NOT by wooden stake, despite what many people believe.

Dracula appears in broad daylight at least three or four times in the novel, to no apparent ill effect.

Jophiel
04-02-2015, 08:47 AM
Dracula Reflects would be a great title for a collection of short essays by Dracula.

carnivorousplant
04-02-2015, 08:49 AM
Bowie knife and having his head cut off--interestingly, NOT by wooden stake, despite what many people believe.

Dracula appears in broad daylight at least three or four times in the novel, to no apparent ill effect.

Thanks, MrAtoz. But why the great hurry to kill him at that particular time? Were his minions coming to his aid?

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 08:53 AM
Bowie knife and having his head cut off--interestingly, NOT by wooden stake, despite what many people believe.

Dracula appears in broad daylight at least three or four times in the novel, to no apparent ill effect.

Dracula was killed by a stake in the Deane/Balderston stage play based on the novel. They came up with a Stage Effect that showed him having a stake driven through his heart. When the play was revived on Broadway in the 1970s, originally with Frank Langella in the lead, they repeated the effect.

For the 1931 Tod Browning film, which derived from that stage play, they killed Dracula with a stake through the heart, but don't actually show it -- too gory for filmgoers, I guess, although not for theater patrons. They repeated the scene at the beginning of Universal's Dracula's Daughter. In the film House of Frankenstein, Boris Karloff's character displays "the actual skeleton of Dracula, with the stake still driven in" When he removes the stake, Dracula comes back to life! (Ironically, he dissolves in sunlight later in the film)


So it's not surprising that audiences thought Drac was killed by a stake through the heart -- Universal repeatedly stated that this was the case.


Interestingly, the film starring Frank Langella based on the stage revival he starred in has him NOT being staked, but being exposed to sunlight (and it's left ambiguous about whether he actually dies).


Leonard Wolf, in his Annotated Dracula casts doubt upon whether Dracula was actually killed at the end of Stoker's novel, since the "Bowie knife + decapitation' formula isn't actually a recognized method of killing a vampire. For anyone else, getting your head cut off while being stabbed would definitely be fatal, but Drac is a special case. Even the dissolution of the body doesn't prove it -- one of Dracula's powers is to dissolve himself into mist.

RealityChuck
04-02-2015, 09:04 AM
The Abbott and Costello clip looks like a production error. They just plain forgot about the mirror. Note that nothing seems to indicate that anyone is aware of this; when we see scenes with the mirror, they always hammer home the point there's no reflection. It's possible they were going for the effect where you only saw one reflection, but I'm not sure the technology was available to remove the other in post production.

Since this was the 1940s, no one would bother with nitpicking this, so even if someone noticed, they wouldn't bother spending time to correct it.

I think the Murnau is more of the same -- the set designer put a mirror on the set just as decoration and no one thought about the issue. Once again, this sort of nitpicking just wasn't done when the film came out. No one cared.

So ultimately, there's nothing here.

Re Dracula and sunlight -- Stoker did not say that sunlight killed a vampire. A vampire could go about in the day if he wished -- he just wouldn't have any special powers. For that reason, they prefered to go out at night.

carnivorousplant
04-02-2015, 09:04 AM
Leonard Wolf, in his Annotated Dracula casts doubt upon whether Dracula was actually killed at the end of Stoker's novel, since the "Bowie knife + decapitation' formula isn't actually a recognized method of killing a vampire. For anyone else, getting your head cut off while being stabbed would definitely be fatal, but Drac is a special case. Even the dissolution of the body doesn't prove it -- one of Dracula's powers is to dissolve himself into mist.

In The Dracula Tape, Fred Saberhagen has Dracula fake his death by turning into mist as the Bowie knife whacks him.

RealityChuck
04-02-2015, 09:06 AM
Leonard Wolf, in his Annotated Dracula casts doubt upon whether Dracula was actually killed at the end of Stoker's novel, since the "Bowie knife + decapitation' formula isn't actually a recognized method of killing a vampire. IIRC, in Stoker, you had to cut the head off to kill the monster after you staked him. Staking made it impossible for him to change form; but he wasn't actually dead until you decapitated him.

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 09:07 AM
In The Dracula Tape, Fred Saberhagen has Dracula fake his death by turning into mist as the Bowie knife whacks him.

Yes, I read that too. Both books came out in 1975, so it's not clear who took from who, or if it they were independent ideas (which seems more likely)

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 09:12 AM
The Abbott and Costello clip looks like a production error. They just plain forgot about the mirror. Note that nothing seems to indicate that anyone is aware of this; when we see scenes with the mirror, they always hammer home the point there's no reflection. It's possible they were going for the effect where you only saw one reflection, but I'm not sure the technology was available to remove the other in post production.

Since this was the 1940s, no one would bother with nitpicking this, so even if someone noticed, they wouldn't bother spending time to correct it.

I think the Murnau is more of the same -- the set designer put a mirror on the set just as decoration and no one thought about the issue. Once again, this sort of nitpicking just wasn't done when the film came out. No one cared.

So ultimately, there's nothing here.

.



I'm not convinced of that. People actually do take care about what appears in film and how it's set up. They obsess over it. So I'm leery of the "set director threw it in, we just didn't think it was important" school. I think in the case of Murnau, since they didn't include the shaving mirror scene, they weren't considering lack of visibility in a mirror to be one feature of a vampire.

At least one critic has stated that he thinks the scene in Abbott and Costello was deliberate, and meant to show that the film didn't consider itself bound by the rules established elsewhere in the Universal series.

But again, that mirror didn't just happen to be there. It makes for a pretty "busy" image. The reflection isn't something glimpsed in the corner of the screen -- it's right there, practically in your line of vision, and people not only couldn't have been aware of it, it looks pretty deliberate.

MrAtoz
04-02-2015, 09:13 AM
Leonard Wolf, in his Annotated Dracula casts doubt upon whether Dracula was actually killed at the end of Stoker's novel, since the "Bowie knife + decapitation' formula isn't actually a recognized method of killing a vampire. For anyone else, getting your head cut off while being stabbed would definitely be fatal, but Drac is a special case. Even the dissolution of the body doesn't prove it -- one of Dracula's powers is to dissolve himself into mist.

Leslie Klinger makes a similar claim in The New Annotated Dracula. Indeed, Klinger spins such a complex "theory" that Dracula not only survived, but later exerted pressure on Bram Stoker to "falsify" events when he came to "report" them, that he is not so much engaging in scholarship as writing fanfiction.

I'm well aware of all the various theatrical and cinematic adaptations that include the stake, but I've even run into the claim that Dracula is staked in the novel, sometimes by sources that really ought to know better. When I was a kid, the edition of the World Book Encyclopedia that we had at home said that at the end of Stoker's novel, Dracula was killed by a wooden stake through his heart. Having read the novel myself, I knew that wasn't true. It may have been the first time in my life that I had ever encountered a supposedly authoritative source being wrong, and it was deeply troubling to me. What else might the authorities be lying to me about?! :)

We see five vampires destroyed in Stoker's novel--Lucy, Dracula's three brides, and finally Dracula himself. None are killed in exactly the same way.

Lucy is staked, her head is cut off, and her mouth is stuffed with garlic.

The three brides are staked, and their heads are cut off. They crumble to dust upon having their heads removed, so no garlic stuffing is necessary or even possible.

Dracula, as stated, is stabbed through the heart with a Bowie knife, while simultaneously having his head cut off with a Kurkri knife. He also crumbles to dust instantly.

The one thing that all Stoker's vampire deaths have in common, then, is NOT the stake, but the severed head. I find that interesting.

Tapioca Dextrin
04-02-2015, 09:18 AM
In addition to not reflecting in mirrors, the vampires in the UK show Ultraviolet (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ultraviolet_%28TV_serial%29) don't show up on video, can't talk over the phone and their fingerprints don't show up.

MrAtoz
04-02-2015, 09:51 AM
Thanks, MrAtoz. But why the great hurry to kill him at that particular time? Were his minions coming to his aid?

To answer this question, which kind of got lost in the shuffle--the hurry to kill him was that the sun was setting. Presumably when the sun fully set, he would be at his full power and better able to resist. Hence the haste to kill him while the sun was still out, and his powers were weaker.

G0sp3l
04-02-2015, 09:54 AM
I hope this doesn't stray to far afield, but I don't it rates a solo thread.

anywho, why do so many interpretations try to for some romance between Mina and Dracula? I've read Dracula many, many times and I simply do not see it. Am I naive and missing some subtle clues with my man brain (heh)?

carnivorousplant
04-02-2015, 10:02 AM
To answer this question, which kind of got lost in the shuffle--the hurry to kill him was that the sun was setting. Presumably when the sun fully set, he would be at his full power and better able to resist. Hence the haste to kill him while the sun was still out, and his powers were weaker.

Oh yes, thanks. I read it in Junior High, and once or twice again several years ago.

Maus Magill
04-02-2015, 10:07 AM
Bowie knife and having his head cut off--interestingly, NOT by wooden stake, despite what many people believe.

Dracula appears in broad daylight at least three or four times in the novel, to no apparent ill effect.

The Bowie knife pierces his heart, and he crumbles to dust, at the moment of sundown. This has lead to the speculation that Dracula did not actually die at the end of the novel.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer played on this when she fought Dracula at the beginning of the fourth season. She stakes him, and he crumble to dust. The Scoobies exchange their quips and leave. A moment later, Dracula starts to reintegrate from the dust, and you hear Buffy say something like, "Really? We haven't even left yet."

>poof<

He crumbles to dust again.

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 10:14 AM
I hope this doesn't stray to far afield, but I don't it rates a solo thread.

anywho, why do so many interpretations try to for some romance between Mina and Dracula? I've read Dracula many, many times and I simply do not see it. Am I naive and missing some subtle clues with my man brain (heh)?

It's not there. Dracula historian David J. Skal (Hollywood Gothic and many other books, as well as his DVD commentaries) is adamant that the character of Dracula as drawn by Stoker is NOT a romantic one -- he's a Darwinian, bestial predator. Heck, even his "wives" complain that he doesn't love anyone.

Nevertheless, ever since Polidori wrote the Vampyr (which people thought was by George Gordon, Lord Byron), people have romanticized the elegant, titled vampire who's also darkly romantic and attractive. It goes against the novel, but people keep injecting it into the dramatizations. It sells.

Consider, also, that in stage and screen dramas you need to have motivations for your characters and reasons for them to interact. Stoker's book really is a mess with too damned many characters, most of whom have no obvious connections with each other, and where chance and coincidence plays too big a part in bringing them together. Most adaptations prune the cast list and switch around their relationships in order to bring some order to this mess. It's interesting to go through the various stage and screen adaptations to see how they did this -- the John Badham/Frank Langella 1979 Dracula, for instance, has Lucy as the daughter of Van Helsing (!!). The 1931 Tod Browning Bela Lugosi film has Renfield instead of Harker as the one who visits Dracula in Transylvania. And so forth.

There is no romance between Mina and Drac in the book. Or in most screen versions. But they interact, so there has to be a reason for it. The aforementioned Badham/Langella has Mina sexually attracted to Dracula. The Coppola version has Mina as the reincarnatioin of Dracula's wife (an idea they probably lifted from the Dan Curtis/Jack Palance TV version written by Richard Matherson, where Lucy was the reincarnation of his wife. The idea of a vampiure falling for a woman because she's the reincarnation of a lost love predates this -- it was used in Curtis' own soap opera Dark Shadows. I've written a history of the trope, whicvh is too long for this margin to contain.


So Mina falls in romantically with Drac because we need a reason for them to have their drama, and because , all of Stoker's efforts to the contrary notwithstanding, the Darkly Romantic Byronic vampire is a powerful trope, and Sex Sells.

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 01:15 PM
One other thing that occurred to me -- one nugget of fact from the book and most film versions might help fuel speculation about a romance between the Count and Mina -- he sees the picture of her in Harker's locket and comments upon her lovely neck.

Watching Nosferatu last night, I got the clear impression that he wasn't thinking "Sexy!" when he saw that neck. He was thinking "Lunch!" I'm sure Skal would agree.

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 02:54 PM
Another example just hit me of a vampire being reflected. It's not Dracula himself this time, although it IS in one of the filmed versions of Dracula.

again, it's the Badham/Langella 1979 version. When Van Helsing (Played by Laurence Olivier!!! But he was clearlt "slumming") goes in search of the resurrected vampire Lucy (who's his daughter in this version of the story), he first sees her reflected in a pool of water. Maybe he gets a break because it's water, and not a man-made mirror. But, IIRC, Dracula already had a scene with a mirror earlier on in the flick. If so, it's not entirely consistent. I'll have to check my copy tonight.

G0sp3l
04-02-2015, 03:36 PM
Glad to know I'm not missing anything obvious. Dracula is still one of my favorite books. I also have Dracula's Guest somewhere around here. Most of the movies are hit or miss. I do look for the mirror thing but can't recall noticing it before.

I have noticed that most of the movies drop Quincy Morris or Lord Godalming. One movie dropped Jonathan Harker, which was so jarring I didn't bother to finish it. I've never seen Nosferatu but did watch a movie about Nosferatu a few years back.

I love the old school Vampires.


ETA: Whatever you do, don't watch Dracula: The Untold Story. The movie is an abomination with no redeeming value.

Recusant
04-02-2015, 03:47 PM
We see five vampires destroyed in Stoker's novel--Lucy, Dracula's three brides, and finally Dracula himself. None are killed in exactly the same way.

Lucy is staked, her head is cut off, and her mouth is stuffed with garlic.

The three brides are staked, and their heads are cut off. They crumble to dust upon having their heads removed, so no garlic stuffing is necessary or even possible.

Dracula, as stated, is stabbed through the heart with a Bowie knife, while simultaneously having his head cut off with a Kurkri knife. He also crumbles to dust instantly.

The one thing that all Stoker's vampire deaths have in common, then, is NOT the stake, but the severed head. I find that interesting.

Something to bear in mind is that Stoker wasn't making all this up out of thin air; many mythologies have had vampire-like creatures, and Stoker borrowed many details from many of them. Abhartach (who many claim Stoker borrowed the most from) wouldn't stay dead until you killed him with a sword made of yew, buried him upside-down at a crossroads, and placed a massive stone (surrounded by thorns) atop it. Factor in his blood-drinking tendencies, and add this physical unstoppability to the mind of Vlad Tepes, who spent most of his time as ruler whupping Ottoman jannisaries (by this time, trained-from-kidnap-age soldiers) with whatever turnip farmers he hadn't gotten around to impaling yet, at one point (as Stoker noted) crossing "the Danube and beat[ing] the Turk on his own ground"; you've got yourself a recipe for a truly frightening, memorable villain.

burpo the wonder mutt
04-02-2015, 03:52 PM
I don't have a cite for this, but I know I've read:

Staking the vampire is not fatal to the corpse, ( :confused: ) it keeps the V in the coffin until you can finish the dirty work--severing the head, filling the mouth with garlic, turning the head around to face backwards, and throwing the coffin in running water. The blood that spews during staking was just taken by the vamp and has to go somewhere when you make the hole (they probably bloody their drawers, too; no I'm not gonna go look). If you staked the V two minutes after sunrise, you could go home, take a six hour nap, come back ten minutes 'til sundown, and V would still be in the coffin, thrashing around like a frog on a stick. How the stake holds the vampire in the coffin, I can't say. Even if you pound it through the casket, would the wooden stake grab the coffin somehow for a mechanical fastening?

Just a comment about Abbott & Costello Meet Frankenstein: That was MY movie, from the time I was 5 YO on. Seen it probably 4 dozen times in the past 50 years. I have never noticed that reflection you're referring to until about 2 years ago. :eek: I thought someone was pulling a fast one on me.

"Kommst du mit mir, Papa."

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 04:24 PM
Glad to know I'm not missing anything obvious. Dracula is still one of my favorite books. I also have Dracula's Guest somewhere around here. Most of the movies are hit or miss. I do look for the mirror thing but can't recall noticing it before.

I have noticed that most of the movies drop Quincy Morris or Lord Godalming. One movie dropped Jonathan Harker, which was so jarring I didn't bother to finish it. I've never seen Nosferatu but did watch a movie about Nosferatu a few years back.

I love the old school Vampires.


ETA: Whatever you do, don't watch Dracula: The Untold Story. The movie is an abomination with no redeeming value.

I haven't seen it yet. But, completest that I am, I probably will.


It looks like the people who made it never read Stoker, and got their background information exclusively from watching the Coppola version.

And they hired someone who looks like a heftier version of Inigo Montoya to play Drac.




"Hello. My name is Vlad Tsepec. You killed my wife. Prepare to die."

Cartoonacy
04-02-2015, 04:41 PM
Some people do address this. For example, on the TV show Being Human vampires don't show up on cameras. In the Saint-Germain series of novels they don't show up in photographs, requiring vampires that travel a lot in the modern world to have busts of their heads by which to obtain passport photos. So yes, some people have addressed that

I had an idea for an SF/fantasy short story once, set in the future, about an android vampire hunter. Since his eyes were technically cameras, his prey was invisible to him.

Bryan Ekers
04-02-2015, 04:42 PM
Every time a vampire looks in a mirror, what he's actually seeing is Harpo Marx.

Lemur866
04-02-2015, 04:58 PM
I agree that the folkloric reason for the stake has been lost in pop culture. The original point of the stake is to pin that bloodsucking freak to the ground, so that when he arises to feast on the blood of the living, he's staked to the ground and can't get up and you're all, "Think again bat man".

To really kill the vampire there's some additional step you'd have to do--find the hidden location of his heart and destroy it, silver bullet (or is that werewolves? (or only movie werewolves?)), garlic up the ass, or whatever.

But the "wooden stake in the heart=instant dusting" is so firmly entrenched in modern pop folklore that it's never going away. Thanks Joss. It's as bad as the Sontarans having a weak spot on the back of their heads so they can't retreat. Does any modern stake=dust story try to justify it with in-universe logic? Or is it always just "everyone knows"?

burpo the wonder mutt
04-02-2015, 05:08 PM
But the "wooden stake in the heart=instant dusting" is so firmly entrenched in modern pop folklore that it's never going away.

<snip>

::Vampire C.M. Burns: You're fired! (turns to dust)::

EinsteinsHund
04-02-2015, 06:17 PM
I've never seen Nosferatu but did watch a movie about Nosferatu a few years back.

You absolutely should do if you care a bit about classical silent films and the Dracula myth, it's public domain and you can watch it here on youtube (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rcyzubFvBsA).

TCMF-2L
04-02-2015, 07:51 PM
I seem to recall the film Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter (no idea about the book) had a little conceit I hadn't heard before. That silver, the metal, was a magical issue for vampires and a silver bullet or other silver weapon would be fatal. Derived from the same magical issue a glass mirror with a silver backing would not cast a reflection of a vampire. Any other reflective material would.

T MF-2L

Maus Magill
04-02-2015, 08:16 PM
Either Nova or Secrets of the Dead had a show about a "vampire" found in a mass grave of plague victims. It had a very good overview of European vampire folklore.

CalMeacham
04-02-2015, 10:53 PM
I did a partial survey of my collection. The Badham/Langella film does indeed have the mirror scene, with Dracula not reflected in the mirror. But it follows the scene with Mina Van Helsing as a vampire reflected in the water. (There is so much wrong with that name that it hurts to write it -- Mina rather than Lucy, and Van Helsing rather than Westenra). The dialogue it almost identical to the interchange between Dracvula and Van Helsing from the stage play, but weirdly re-arranged, and with the intent completely changed.

The 1958 Horror of Dracula completel eliminates any scee with a mirror. It's even weirder than the 1979 film -- Harker is not a solicitor arranging real estate in Britain for the Count, but has been hired as a librarian to live there. He apparently doesn't have to take a boat to get to the Count -- only a coach.

The shaving mirror scene is in the DanCurtis/Jack Palance version.

Peter Morris
04-03-2015, 10:22 AM
Asian vampire stories make more sense. The vamp may appear as a beautiful woman, or a handsome man, but it's an illusion. Their reflection reveals their true appearance.

BigT
04-03-2015, 11:42 AM
I did a partial survey of my collection. The Badham/Langella film does indeed have the mirror scene, with Dracula not reflected in the mirror. But it follows the scene with Mina Van Helsing as a vampire reflected in the water. (There is so much wrong with that name that it hurts to write it -- Mina rather than Lucy, and Van Helsing rather than Westenra). The dialogue it almost identical to the interchange between Dracvula and Van Helsing from the stage play, but weirdly re-arranged, and with the intent completely changed.

If they establish that vampires don't have reflections in that last scene, I would think the water reflection was a mistake.

Well, either that, or it's something about mirrors--maybe the silver?

Lemur866
04-03-2015, 11:55 AM
I had an idea for an SF/fantasy short story once, set in the future, about an android vampire hunter. Since his eyes were technically cameras, his prey was invisible to him.

On the other hand, I recall one story where a vampire set up a video camera connected to a monitor so they could see themselves to comb their hair correctly without a mirror.

I think in any universe where vampires don't show up on camera that would prove all the "superstitious natives" who worry that a camera would steal their soul were right. Any picture of a person could be used to work malevolent sympathetic magic against them. Bottom line, to tell what sort of rules your universe uses, before allowing Dracula to take a picture of you take a picture of him first. If he shows up in the photo, then fine, let him take the picture. If he doesn't, do NOT let him take your photo.

burpo the wonder mutt
04-03-2015, 11:59 AM
In the Louis Jordan version, the mirror scene happens at Castle Dracula: Harker is shaving and the Count comes up behind him. Harker, of course, doesn't see him in the mirror and nicks himself. Dracula takes the mirror from Harker and says something about mirrors being unreliable, runs his hand across it, showing no reflection, and drops it out the window. Bad video effects almost ruin the scene, but you get the idea.

CalMeacham
04-03-2015, 12:52 PM
If they establish that vampires don't have reflections in that last scene, I would think the water reflection was a mistake.

Well, either that, or it's something about mirrors--maybe the silver?

I think it's just the operation of the "Rule of Cool" as applied to artsy scenes.

"Mina Van Helsing" makes her first on-screen undead appearance as a reflection in a pool of disturbed water. The image is just a confused pattern of white reflections (anomalous, since we're in a dark underground mine tunnel) that resolve themselves, as the water becomes still, as the reflection of the undead Mina. It's as if the ghost is slowly materializing (kinda like the way the flames assemble themselves into a Pillar of Fire that writes the Ten Commandments in The Ten Commandments). Only it's a naturalistic way of making it happen, unlike using anything as crass and crude as special effects. The reflection in the water lets the Vampire Mina appear from nowhere, although even within the events of the movie, she was actually standing some distance away and simply came close enough to be reflected.

It does, of course, violate the Rule of Vampires that they have no reflections, which derives ultimately from their lack of souls (so it doesn't matter that it's a reflection in water, not a glass mirror). But director John Badham, I maintain, didn't care. The neat shot and its symbolic imagery trumped consistency.

Dracula's smashing of the mirror shortly after that derives from an older tradition, the scene in the Deane/Balderston stage play. This, in turn, derives from the shaving scene in the novel where Drac fails to appear in the mirror. So you had two trajectories -- the "Dracula doesn't appear in the mirror (because he has no soul)" meme that you can trace back to the source and was a long-standing part of the story, alongside the "Mina appearing from the Aether' scene that's newfangled, and may not even have been in the script. Badham left them both in. Even if he cared about the diusc repancy, pulling the mirror scene out removes another dramatic moment -- Dracula smashing the mirror -- and that would also leave a gaping hole in the dramatic Dracula-Van Helsing standoff scene.

So he kept both scenes, despite their fundamental contradiction. of such are the movies of Heaven.

CalMeacham
04-03-2015, 12:56 PM
In the Louis Jordan version, the mirror scene happens at Castle Dracula: Harker is shaving and the Count comes up behind him. Harker, of course, doesn't see him in the mirror and nicks himself. Dracula takes the mirror from Harker and says something about mirrors being unreliable, runs his hand across it, showing no reflection, and drops it out the window. Bad video effects almost ruin the scene, but you get the idea.

This, as I've pointed out, is almost directly from the novel. The scene between Dracula and Van Helsing with the mirror in the 1931 and 1979 movies derive from the stage play, which lacks anything about Harker in Transylvania. They wrote that portion for the 1931 film (which therefore has two mirror scenes -- one in Transylvania with Renfield/Harker and one in England with Van Helsing.


There is no Transylvania section in the 1979 film, so it only has the one mirror scene with Drac, although it has its own, unique Pool of Water reflection scene with Van Helsing.

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