"Hysterical, campy fun!"
- Tony Brown, cleveland.com

"Full of suspense, romance, drama and lots of laughs!"

- Dan Shaurette, Out of the Coffin podcast

This extraordinary one-act drama deftly explores the evolution of the centuries-old vampire myth.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Rape

Folklore describes numerous ways to become a vampire - like an animal leaping over your corpse. That's not fair, but maybe the Devil has something to do with it. Maybe it is just a sign that you already are one.

I was not aware, however, as I am reading Dracula for the first time (yes, it's true) that Stoker clearly defined drinking the blood of an existing vampire as the sure and true way to become one. Of all the tropes Anne Rice discarded, she stuck fast to this one - in fact, it defines The Vampire Chronicles.

What I was not prepared for was the surprisingly graphic nature of the scene where the menfolk 1) discover Dracula pressing Mina's face to his naked breast and 2) where the discuss the act right in front of her. I am shocked now, a hundred an twelve years ago, people must have fainted.

Because unlike the earlier business with Lucy, or even Dracula first visiting Mina in her room, it's all metaphoric enough to get through without feeling queasy. But this part is a direct sexual assault, it's sexual violence, and more than anything it defined to me the Count as a monster, and not merely an "other" or himself a metaphor for an outsider. Yes, this even after crushing Renfield's spine.

And all of the men standing around, simultaneously comforting Mina and at the same time shaming her by their reaction to what has happened, making her describe it in front of all of them. Later still, Van Helsing casually mentioning the "big meal" Dracula has had and how he will sleep late. Thoughtless. The woman needs counseling, and these bozos are not doing it for her.

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