Tuesday, January 6, 2009

The Dracula Scrapbook

Today's blog is on a book I turned up recently, the Dracula Scrapbook, edited by Peter Haining.

The book is out of print-- apparently it was re-printed in the 80s and 90s, but the version I have is the 1976 original. It has an introduction by Christopher Lee, and Lee is writing at a time when he's vowing he'll never play Dracula again (he didn't) unless someone gets it really just absolutely right this time. He mentions doing Jess Franco's version, Count Dracula, in Spain, as a movie that dragged him from retirement of the cape by having Dracula age backwards, "but there were many other elements which were not used," which is a kind way of saying Franco's movie is kind of a mess. (Mind you I enjoy watching El Conde Dracula, but it's full of strange choices and budgetary shortcuts.)

Haining's Dracula Scrapbook absolutely should be updated and re-released, because there's so much here.

This isn't an anthology or a traditional nonfiction study-- instead, Haining collects Victorian news clippings, feature articles, interviews, reviews, excerpts of fiction (such as Varney the Vampire) and more to create a sort of potpourri for the Dracula fan. Pick the book up anywhere and you'll find something fun to read-- this is the first book where I discovered the Malaysian Pananggalan and other non-familiar vampires.

I recommend seeking it out-- I found my copy on eBay for about $10, and as I scan ebay I see several available.

Note the '76 dust jacket-- clearly this painting is intended to be Vincent Price as Dracula, which is a novel idea, but other than a TV appearance in a pro-literacy special, I'm sure that never happened. (Feel free to correct me if I'm wrong!)

This one's a real treasure (well, not as much as the Lost 1939 Treatment I blogged about last week, but a treasure nonetheless.)

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