DRACULAS, VAMPIRES, AND OTHER UNDEAD FORMS: Essays on Gender, Race, and Culture

Edited by John Edgar Browning and Caroline Joan (Kay) Picart
Foreword by David J. Skal

The Scarecrow Press, 2009
ISBN 978-0-8108-6696-6


Dracula, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms assembles provocative essays examining Dracula films and their movement across boarders of nationality, sexuality, ethnicity, gender and genre since the 1920s. This collection analyzes the complexity Dracula embodies outside the conventional landscape of films with which the vampire is usually associated. Focusing on Dracula and Dracula-type characters in film, anime and literature from predominantly non-Anglo markets, this anthology offers unique perspectives that ground depictions and experiences of Dracula within a larger political, historical, and cultural framework.

David J. Skal

The word “vampire” has almost become synonymous with “Dracula” in the 111 years since Bram Stoker wrote his indestructible novel, one of the best-selling books of all time. But Stoker's conception of the vampire has shape-shifted and fragmented throughout the world in ways he would barely comprehend, and probably not even recognize.

Dracula broke radically with an earlier, romantic conception of the vampire that had been popularized in literature, theatre, and opera, but itself preceded by an animalistic, zombie-like creature of European folklore. However, as this eclectic anthology amply demonstrates, the vampire mythos has as never been confined to Europe, nor to Hollywood. Every culture in recorded time has had its own legends of hungry ghosts who feed on the energy of the living, in one way or another. And very few of them bear much resemblance to Bela Lugosi descending a staircase, holding a solitary, flickering candle that improbably lights the entire cavernous great hall of his castle for the legendary cinematographer Karl Freund.

It would actually take a thousand points of light (black light?) to really)' do the job, and this book adds considerably more illumination to the shadows of Dracula's abode by exploring "Draculas" rather than the vampire king in isolation. Dwight Frye's Renfield is hardly Dracula's only guest in Tod Browning's landmark film, which, however flawed cinematically, galvanized centuries of world folklore, literature, and the performing arts into an image so indelible that it has blocked our appreciation and understanding of the much larger context of ravenous revenants. That empty castle hall is, in essence, a reeling ballroom of the unseen undead.

It took a long time for horror as a category to be taken seriously by academics, and vampire studies in particular have exploded to the point that it is difficult to keep up with every book, essay, or documentary on this bottomless topic. Draculas, Vampires, and Other Undead Forms takes a useful step back from the standard obsession with Bram Stoker and his maddeningly problematic text, however influential it is.

I hope you will enjoy this unique transcultural exploration of Transylvania as much as I have. The word Transylvania, of course, means “across the forest,” and this volume does much to let us deeply examine the forest, not just a single tree.

Selected Works

The ultimate "collector's vault"!
There's much more to the Invisible Man than ever met the eye!
How horror entertainment reveals a "secret history" of 20th century culture.
A comprehensive, backstage chronicle at the undying career of the world's favorite vampire.
An in-depth history of one of America's most popular and perplexing holidays.
Co-edited with Nina Auerbach, the definitive academic edition.
The first full-length biography of the reclusive and mysterious director of "Freaks."
One of the largest vampire anthologies ever published, fully illustrated and annotated.
"The Bible of Blood," according to the Washington Post.
Completely illustrated and annotated, the stage play that put Count Dracula on the road to Hollywood.
The curious evolution of a major cultural icon -- the mad scientist.
Science fiction nvel about a California cult seeking total body replacement
Science fiction novel about genetically engineered, hermaphroditic "children."
Science fiction novel about the ultimate in vicarious living.
DVD Documentaries
A revealing featurette about a Universal legend.
Audio commentary for the ultimate cult film.
The ultimate horror icon comes to life.
Life story of the troubled actor best-known as the Wolf Man.
Biography of the man who was Dracula.
The life and career of Hollywood's favorite bogeyman.
A movie icon unwrapped.
The parallel lives of two immortal imagineers.
A nostalgic look at a studio's extraterrestrial adventures.
Revisiting Hollywood's classic horror comedies.
The undying tale of a beauty and a beast.
Behind the scenes with an Academy Award-winning film.
A head-first dive into watery terror.
There's more to this character than meets the eye.
The monster demands a mate, with decidedly mixed results.
The vampire's bumpy journey from Victorian sex nightmare to modern matinee idol.
Articles and Essays
Read David's foreword to this provocative collection!