Dracula (1938)


Director: Orson Welles

Dracula: Orson Welles

This premiere performance of Welles’ Mercury Theatre on the Air came about thanks to a re-release of the Browning/Lugosi Dracula in 1938. Seeing a seven-year-old film smash box office records, Welles rushed into writer John Houseman’s hotel room with only three days to go before their debut and told him “We’re doing Dracula!” To avoid trouble with Universal, Welles and Houseman went back to the novel and rescued plenty of material including (of course) stuff considered too racy for film by the Hollywood censors. Welles’ Dracula intoning “flesh of my flesh” when he preys upon Lucy (Elizabeth Fuller) then Mina (Agnes Moorehead) out-lurids Lugosi, and the “splorch” of the final staking sequence (Welles used a watermelon) contrasts dramatically with the off-screen film death of Dracula.

Welles and Houseman combined Seward and Holmwood into “Arthur Seward,” whose narrator role became so central that Welles took it for himself, adopting a mid-Atlantic accent, as well as playing Dracula, using more weird intonations than accent there. The accent prize goes to Martin Gabel, whose Van Helsing sounds more like Lugosi than it does a Dutchman! Unusually for adaptations, Welles and Houseman use the changes to drive the story — the question of Mina’s loyalty to Dracula becomes far more central in this version, for example. Radio also let Welles and Houseman recreate the multiple narrators of the novel, creating a hybrid of narration and drama that became a Mercury Theatre hallmark. (And one to consider when performing a similar audio-forward task as the GM.) In only an hour, driven by Bernard Herrmann’s score and Welles’ frantic narrations, the radio performance covers more of the novel more faithfully than almost any cinematic version.

The 31 Nights of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a dramatic Dracula. Expanded and enriched (after listening intently to your own thoughts and comments), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can order resonant, echoing hard copies of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

Drakula Istanbul’da (1953)


Director: Mehmet Muhtar

Dracula: Atif Kaptan

The first direct identification of Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Vlad the Impaler came (unsurprisingly, in retrospect) from the Turks, who after all were on the receiving end of Vlad’s hobby. In 1928, Ali Riza Seyfi wrote a novel called Kazikli Voyvoda, or Impaler Voivode, xeroxing Stoker’s novel with Turkish characters and moving the action to Istanbul rather than London. Drakula Istanbul’da (“Dracula in Istanbul”) adapts that book, and it is — modulo the terrible YouTube transfer, haphazard subtitles, and other unavoidable artifacts of time — not a bad flick, although it seldom rises to true horror. As a lens through which to examine Dracula, however, it’s vitally interesting. First and foremost, of course, our intrepid vampire hunters Azmi (“Harker,” an earnest and curious Bulent Oran), Turan (“Holmwood,” tempestuous Cahit Irgat), Dr. Nuri (“Van Helsing,” steady Kemal Emin Bara), and the forgettable Dr. Afif (“Seward” with no asylum, Munir Ceyhan) drive Drakula (politely menacing Atif Kaptan) back with garlic bulbs, not crosses. Azmi has a medallion of some sort, but it doesn’t protect him from the attacks of Dracula or his (one) Bride — instead, he befriends Drakula’s hunchbacked servant with a gift of cigarettes that pays off in rebellion.

There are many Stoker-ish touches throughout: we see Drakula speed-climb head-downward down the wall of his castle; Drakula’s canines grow into fangs when he senses blood; Azmi tries to kill Drakula with a shovel (and a revolver) in the crypt; Sadan (“Lucy,” a stolid Ayfer Feray) sleepwalks and later kills children as a vampire; Sadan’s mother dies of a heart attack during Drakula’s invasion of their home. And some less Stoker-ish: Drakula or his Bride put Azmi to sleep by pumping gas into the room through the eyes of a portrait (an effective touch, and a possible delivery system for vampire mist in your game); Güzin (“Mina,” the vivacious Annie Ball) is a nightclub singer, providing provocative item numbers throughout; Drakula depends on his cape to turn into a (really unconvincing) bat. But all in all, it’s remarkably faithful to the novel. Filmed at the height of Turkish secularism, it doesn’t code Drakula as a Christian menace (unless that’s why he only has one Bride) or invoke anything more sacred than garlic and folk wisdom to defeat him. Atif Kaptan’s Drakula has a nice line in appearing and disappearing, and is convincingly cruel in his castle. But he steps on his menace pretty thoroughly in the last act where he punches a stagehand, demands Güzin dance for him instead of biting her, loses his bat-shifting cape in a struggle with Azmi thus setting up a not remotely tense foot chase, and then hides in his coffin rather than using the “strength of twenty men” to finish off the sole vampire slayer in sight. Having slowly chased his wife’s vampiric stalker to the cemetery, Azmi finally stakes, beheads, and garlics Drakula, and we end on a lovely domestic scene of him and Güzin taking down the garlic from their windows. Dracula movies — even Drakula movies — live and die by the strength of their vampire, not of their garlic.

The 31 Days of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Expanded and enriched (with garlic and perhaps with your own thoughts and comments), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can pre-order hard copies (no shapeshifting cape required) of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

Taste the Blood of Dracula (1970)

Taste_the_blood_of_draculaDirector: Peter Sasdy

Dracula: Christopher Lee

For reasons unknown to me, film critics enjoy belittling the later Hammer Dracula series. While it’s true that no later Hammer film approaches the artistic or emotional impact of Fisher’s 1958 original, it’s also true that by expanding their “Dracula Mythos” (and by paying Christopher Lee’s mortgage) Hammer created a cinematic universe that surpasses even the Universal “backlot gothic” world of the 1940s. Forced to come up with ever more entrances into the Dracula story for ever more characters, Hammer this time decided to introduce a black magician named Lord Courtley (Ralph Bates, who comes across as a young Colin Firth playing a snotty Aleister Crowley) who just needs rich, bored whoremongers Paxton, Hargood, and Secker to pay for the powdered blood of Dracula to achieve total depravity. Said blood is available because odious traveling salesman Weller (the great character actor Roy Kinnear, believably bumptious and terrified by turns) literally tumbles off a Borgo Pass carriage into the final scene of Dracula Has Risen From the Grave and scoops up Dracula’s red powdered remains from around the impaling crucifix.

Linda Hayden (then notorious for her controversial sexpot role in 1968’s Baby Love, a sort of Carnaby-era Poison Ivy) as Hargood’s daughter Alice lights up the screen, and even the “youth appeal” Paul Paxton (Anthony Corlan) is only somewhat whiny. While I’m calling out supporting roles, I have to give props to Russell Hunter, whose maitre’d brothel Felix makes Joel Grey in Cabaret look like Walter Mondale. As opposed to the wonderful dolly-cam brothel scene, and the powerful black mass where Courtley blood-shames the wannabe decadents, Dracula’s final death in this one is almost a literal deus ex machina. Paul reconsecrates the ruined Gothic London church before hunting the vampire in it, so its Christianity suddenly “switches on” during the fight scene and Christopher Lee topples onto the altar, killed by sheer holiness. Also, Alice isn’t so much saved by the love of a good man as she is ticked off by Dracula dumping her not quite far enough (as it turns out) from the altar. So the script, yes, never lives up to that insane first act, but any GM who doesn’t get inspired by a world where aristocratic but bankrupt Satanists know a sweaty guy who’ll sell you the blood of Dracula for a thousand guineas is just not paying attention.

The 31 Days of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Made more powerful by tasting the blood of Dracula (perhaps powdered with your own thoughts and comments), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can resurrect corporeal forms of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1973)


Director: Dan Curtis

Dracula: Jack Palance

If you had always wondered where that trope of “Dracula falls in love with Mina because she resembles his centuries-dead true love” came from, well, it came from two places. First, it comes from The Mummy (Karl Freund, 1932), but Dan Curtis moved it from mummies to vampires for the Barnabas Collins storyline in his TV soap opera Dark Shadows. And from there, to this TV movie — although in Curtis’ version, Dracula falls in love with a photograph of Lucy Westenra (a fairly dull Fiona Lewis) instead. Curtis (or perhaps screenwriter Richard Matheson) also borrowed Florescu and McNally’s 1972 identification of Stoker’s Dracula with Vlad Tepes for this film — this Dracula is Vlad. Francis Ford Coppola re-used more than the title of this version, in other words.

If you were paying attention, you noticed me say “screenwriter Richard Matheson” and indeed you are right: this is a Dracula where the script really works, and is surprisingly faithful to Stoker’s novel (hypnotized Mina!) despite eliminating not just poor un-loved Quincey Morris but Seward and Renfield, too. It’s just a Van-Dyck-bearded Van Helsing (Nigel Davenport, dashing and weirdly secretive) and blond, inbred-looking Holmwood (Simon Ward, petulant and ineffective) guarding Lucy in a suspiciously bucolic Whitby — the cool location work in a Yugoslavian castle probably meant no budget for London. Harker (Murray Brown) gets his heroic climbing scene, but winds up Bride-bait anyhow. Jack Palance’s Dracula, while driven by love and then revenge, is superbly feral, even animalistic. (Method-actor Palance apparently scared himself so much he turned down repeated offers to reprise the role.) The film reinforces that bestial force throughout: the first shot is a pack of wolves running along a road in the Borgo Pass, eager to follow Dracula to meet Harker; and Curtis stages the Brides’ attack more like zombie ravening than anything sexy or even lustful — an approach you might want to consider if your player characters are loading up on Binaca and Axe body spray instead of garlic and holy water when the Brides come by.

The 31 Days of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Driven by its long-dead love, it will revive and raven in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can pre-order brutal, animalistic hard copies of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

Drácula (1931)


Director: George Melford

Dracula: Carlos Vallarías

Once silent films went the way of the stereopticon, Hollywood studios had to make foreign-language films for foreign markets. In 1930, while filming the Tod Browning/Bela Lugosi Dracula we’ll get to later, Universal hired (non-Spanish-speaker) George Melford to shoot a Spanish-language Drácula simultaneously on the same sets as the Browning production … at night.

That right there is enough to get the blood pumping. What a great setting for a one-shot horror scenario! And indeed, the lovely Lupita Tovar (who plays “Eva Seward,” the film’s Mina equivalent) says because she was nervous about her work she used to get to the set early, while it was still black and deserted, and it was just as scary as you’d think. The other great thing about Melford’s Drácula is that he and the crew got to see the rushes of the Browning version and think up better, more effective ways to shoot and block the same material. And to punch up Garrett Ford’s sad, clumsy script. And indeed they did; in almost every critical respect this version beats Browning’s. Almost. Sadly the lead actor, Carlos Villarías, also got to see Lugosi’s performance, and apparently adapted only the campiest and stagiest aspects of it. When combined with his “fierce and threatening” eye-popping bit, it badly weakens his suave, predatory Dracula. It’s a shame, because Eva (teasing, then drained, then manic), Van Helsing (Eduardo Arozamena in a pugnacious, almost cruel mood), and especially Mina’s father Dr. Seward (José Soriano Viosca, showing real paternal concern throughout) all put in far superior performances in better-written roles. (Agree to disagree, perhaps, about Pablo Alvarez Rubio’s weirdly oracular, schizophrenic Renfield.) Lots more to say about this one in Thrill of Dracula. TCM is putting it on movie screens in selected cities this month, so go see it and tell me how right I am in the comments.

The 31 Days of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Expanded after I see the rushes from this blog version (perhaps after reading your own thoughts and comments), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can pre-order hard copies of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!


Count Dracula (1970)

Count Dracula (1970)Director: Jesús Franco

Dracula: Christopher Lee

In between refusals to ever wear the cape again for Hammer and wearing the cape again for Hammer, Christopher Lee occasionally tried to get other studios’ adaptations of Dracula off the ground. Often, like Lucy (Van Pelt not Westenra) pulling away the scarlet, dripping football he would insist that this time, the film truly followed Stoker’s story only to reveal that, for example, Van Helsing has a sideline in necromancy, Holmwood has become Quincey or Renfield has become mute (in what I have to admit is a pretty compelling if wildly misguided performance by Klaus Kinski). Also, if the words “Jesús Franco” haven’t warned you, the movie rapidly runs out of cash — the “wolves” are clearly German shepherds, and Van Helsing (Herbert Lom) and Dracula confront each other in two different cameras throughout because Franco couldn’t afford to have both actors on the same set at the same time.

That said, there are a number of very neat touches: as in the novel (and almost uniquely in the films) Dracula grows younger as he drinks from Lucy; he then lures Mina out of the house with opera tickets. The taxidermied soulless animals that guard Carfax somehow seem creepy as much as they do cheap; the “dream Brides” that bite (or do they?) Harker likewise. In a game, how much worse is a threat you can’t fight because it’s not even nominally alive, or not completely there? Finally, for those seeking Edom’s hand in the matter, Van Helsing (by now weak and wheelchair-bound), Quincey, and Harker go to the Home Secretary (!) to stop Dracula escaping England. They fail, of course, and Dracula’s Roma carry the Count’s coffin home in what reads more as a pilgrimage or religious festival rather than a frenzied escape — all part of the undercurrent of Catholic religiosity that Franco draws from the finely balanced (Anglican) novel.


The 31 Days of Dractober is a daily preview of a “first cut” essay on a cinematic Dracula. Expanded and enriched (perhaps with your own thoughts and comments), it will appear in my upcoming book Thrill of Dracula, part of the Dracula Dossier Kickstarter. Speaking of which, you can pre-order beautiful physical forms (not hallucinatory Bride versions) of The Dracula Dossier Director’s Handbook and Dracula Unredacted from your Friendly Local (Bits & Mortar participating) Game Store or from the Pelgrane store and get the PDFs now!

INosferatuShadow_350n THE THRILL OF DRACULA, Kenneth Hite takes apart Dracula — the novel, the movies, the myth, even the history — into his component pieces: characters, tropes, symbols, story beats, effects. With those pieces, Ken shows you how to build new yet mythic stories about the King of the Vampires or about your own creatures of the night, tuned for thriller adventure, cosmic horror, or even intense personal drama. This standalone book suitable for all fans of games, storytelling, and Dracula will be delivered in PDF, Kindle, and ePub formats.

And now, in 31 DAYS OF DRACTOBER: Kenneth Hite takes you on a tour through the cinema de Dracula! Every day, he looks at one film version of the legendary story, from the classic NOSFERATU to the, um, less than immortal DRACULA 3000. Hit the Hammer highlights, the Lugosi limelights, and more — with advice on adapting any or all of them for your own vampire games. These “coming attractions” of THE THRILL OF DRACULA start playing on October 1st, on this very blog-theater!

Status: In development

EEF cover_350ight desperate missions against the Un-Dead!

From the mountains of Bulgaria to the streets of Berlin

From the Russo-Turkish war to the War on Terror

From 1877 to the present day 

For the Dead Travel Fast

Operation Edom is the top-secret section of MI6 dedicated to thwarting and, ultimately, controlling the Un-Dead. Open the Edom archives and read the sealed files to learn the true shape of the 20th century.

  • Stoker: First Blood (1877): In this prequel to Dracula, British adventurers exploring the Balkans thwart a vampiric horror.
  • The Carmilla Sanction (1948): As the Soviets seal off Vienna, an Edom hit team hunt the notorious vampire Carmilla – but can they find her among all the decoys she’s created?
  • Blood Coda (1971): A Romanian ballet company defects to the West, but there’s a vampire hidden among the dancers. Hunt her down before the curtain rises.
  • Day of the Wehrwolf (1981): A prisoner exchange for a captured Edom officer leads the Agents into a race against time to stop the bombing of Radio Free Europe.
  • The Slayer Elite (1980): A mysterious employer hires a team of elite mercenaries to carry out an operation in England. Their target: Edom.
  • Four Days of the Bat (1989): Edom investigates an attack on one of their hidden stations, while outside the Berlin Wall falls and the Soviet Union collapses.
  • The Moldavian Candidate (2005): A long-cold Edom case file is the key to thwarting a Conspiracy plan to assassinate the American vice president and escalate the war on terror.
  • The Harker Intrusion (201-): An entry vector to the main Dracula Dossier campaign, giving one way for a team of Agents to acquire the stolen Dossier.

The Edom Files is part of the Dracula Dossier series. It stands alone as a compendium of one-shot adventures, but combine it with the Director’s Handbook to flash back into Edom’s history, or play through it all as a century-spanning epic!

Status: In development

Front cover_350The Moon Dust Men are the tip of the spear. MAJESTIC-12 aims it. Manage the global war against the aliens with this new GUMSHOE subsystem. Do you build retro-engineered Aurora craft, or bioroids to fight on the Moon? Do you launch satellite screens or dig in anti-saucer lasers? You decide where the black budget goes — and who it goes after.

Moon Dust Men: MAJESTIC Overwatch is the seventh installment of the third Ken Writes About Stuff subscription and is now available to subscribers – it will be available to buy in the webstore in October. If you have subscribed to the third KWAS subscription, Moon Dust Men: MAJESTIC Overwatch is now on your order receipt page, so all you have to do is click on the new link in your order email. (If you can’t find your receipt email, you can get another one sent to you by entering your email address here).

Stock #: PELH34D Author: Kenneth Hite
Artist: Jeff Porter
Pages: 11pg PDF
A-HEM ... oh all right, co-designer's notes

A-HEM … oh all right, co-designer’s notes



It all started in 2011, even before Night’s Black Agents was published. Or perhaps it all started in 1890, when Bram Stoker began outlining the tale of “Count Wampyr” of Styria after a nightmare caused by eating “a surfeit of dressed crab,” according to his son. But I’m going to start it in 1956, when Rear Admiral Frederick R. Furth, Chief of the Office of Naval Research (ONR), received a package containing a paperback copy of The Case For the U.F.O., by Morris Jessup. This particular copy bore three sets of annotations in three different colors of ink; the annotations implied a great deal of insider knowledge about UFOs, aliens, and extraterrestrial propulsion. (Or they implied a great deal of time on someone’s hands. You make the call.) Best of all, they contradicted each other, crossing out each other’s notes and leaving the ultimate meaning of any of it a bigger mystery than when it began. This was Nabokov come down to the grimy trailer parks of Saucerland! Captain Sidney Sherby of the ONR was interested enough to hire Varo Manufacturing, a sometime military contractor, to create a few stenciled copies of the “Annotated Edition” for him and his fellow UFO buffs in the military. This “Varo Edition” became something of a legend in UFOlogical circles, especially once it got out that Sherby was involved in satellite launches. For a while (before the Internet, anyhow) you couldn’t even find the 1970s reprint of the “Varo Edition” for love or money. It was a thing of some small obsession for my bibliophilic, UFO-loving 1970s self, my own personal Necronomicon in a way.

So naturally, when Simon asked me — either in the spring of 2011 while I was stopping off at Pelgrane House on my way to Gothcon in Sweden, or at the annual Pelgrane Summit at Dragonmeet that November — what I thought might be a good prestige release for Night’s Black Agents, I said “the Varo Edition, only with Dracula, as the handout for an Armitage Files-style improv campaign.” I wanted it to be an improv, sandbox campaign because the possibility of disagreement, of that cloud of story, would be better than any “real truth” I could come up with.

During that talk, or in the month or so leading up to it, I had already come up with the notion that the three annotators would represent three different generations of MI6 analysts, all confounded by Dracula and Dracula. And once I had three generations, they kind of had to be WWII, the Cold War, and the War on Terror. I’d already noticed the two devastating Romanian earthquakes in 1940 and 1977 that clearly set up the more specific dates, especially when I recalled that Stoker had cut the destruction of Castle Dracula by earthquake and volcano out of the novel at literally the last minute. Then I found two historical earthquakes in Transylvania almost exactly a year apart, in 1893 and 1894. That gave me the year of the novel’s true setting. Why are MI6 annotating Dracula? Because it’s actually an after-action report of an 1894 espionage operation gone wrong. That’s why Stoker cut so much out of the novel — he was redacting sources and methods.

Simon listened to all of the above, spilled out during a long walk around Clapham on some errand or other, and then quite rightly insisted from the first that we present the entire century-plus spectrum of action as a possible campaign frame in the book. Then he sent me off to finish Night’s Black Agents so I could write the thing.

There is that point in every project when, as Tim Powers says, you’re no longer researching a game (or novel, in his case) but uncovering the real secret history of the world. For me, that moment struck early, when I discovered that the Foreign Office had asked Bram Stoker to improve the propaganda value of his brother George Stoker’s book. (I don’t remember exactly where I discovered it; it might have been in Bram Stoker and Russophobia. I read a lot about the Stokers in 2012. And 2013.) And what was George Stoker’s book? With the Unspeakables, a memoir of George’s medical service in the Russo-Turkish War. In the Balkans. Suddenly the whole framework of what became “Operation Edom” was clear to me: Arminius Vámbery, who Stoker knew (and refers to obliquely in the novel) was also an English spy, and also in the Balkans in 1877. So was the geologist Andrew F. Crosse, who wrote a Transylvanian travelogue in 1878. They found vampires, connected them with earthquakes, sent them to British intelligence.

I know it will amaze you to learn this, but it’s darn hard to find anything more than a page or two on Victorian-era British intelligence, before the official founding of the SIS (a.k.a. MI6) in 1909. No matter how much you read. Fortunately, that gave me plenty of room to slot in Operation Edom. When I did find that two of Naval Intelligence’s directors died or suddenly resigned within a year of 1894 … well, there’s more secret history uncovered. It kept on going like that. The Romanian Iron Guard did, in fact, have a secret occult core that met in covens of 13. A league of brilliant scientific researchers did in fact meet in secret in a hotel that Stoker just happens to highlight in the novel, only to disband in … 1893. Actually, Gareth found that one. His constant Skype IRCs to me on the theme of “Omigod it’s all true” were one of my greatest delights during the whole project.

And we needed some delights. I lifted much of the basic framework — how to present multiple possibilities for a single encounter — from Robin’s Armitage Files, although I had to change things up a bit, as there might be two secret allegiances at play, not just one Mythos taint. I had to decide the basic framework of the campaign: the Default Dracula, the Default Dossier, the Default Edom, and so forth. Then set up the questions deliberately left open: Who was Dracula? What is Edom up to? How badly has Dracula penetrated MI6 and Britain in general? Do vampires work like Van Helsing said they did? (Gareth again hugely improved the campaign by coming up with the “telluric vampire” build that restored some of the mystery of Night’s Black Agents’ modular vampires.) After about 110,000 words give or take, Gareth and I had enough of a backdrop that we could open it up to other writers. And thanks to a mind-tumbling Kickstarter campaign more than superbly field-marshaled by Cat, we got 16 more writers. Many of whom caught me by surprise with their own evidences of secret history — I still cherish Phil Vecchione and Chris Sniezak pointing out that President Benjamin Harrison was mysteriously out of public view in 1892, when Quincey Morris was battling “vampires” in the Pampas and during the exact period (November) that the so-called “American Vampire” was being transferred to the National Asylum, and you’ve got to read the book (DH, p. 63) to find out the crazy spin they put on that one. Between their contributions, last-minute things I made Gareth do, and last-minute things Cat made me do, we wound up with 249,938 words of Director’s Handbook (Cat very intelligently changed the name from my confusing alpha version, Director’s Dossier) all on the broad theme “the Varo Edition, only with Dracula.” Except we weren’t done yet. We hadn’t unredacted Dracula.

Oh, don’t get me wrong. Gareth and I had very carefully decided what would go into the unredactions. Gareth made two, or was it three, different calendars working out our shifted dates, as Stoker had inconsiderately not timed his volcano to the historical earthquake in Romania in 1894 (31 August). We filled those calendars with the crucial events we needed to highlight: Dracula’s Satanic cult (thanks to Hans de Roos translating the Icelandic edition of Dracula and giving us way more meat to chew on), and the missing characters like Kate Reed and the psychic Alfred Singleton, and Quincey Morris’ scouting trip to Transylvania that Stoker had in his initial Notes but redacted. We sent Harker into Transylvania on St. Andrew’s Eve, the other vampires-and-blue-fires night in Romanian lore, not St. George’s Eve. It looked like a lot. But oh the exultation when we discovered that our shifted new earthquake-compatible dates put Lucy Westenra’s death on the night of Friday the 13th! And oh the desperation when we discovered we had to match literary style with … well, with one of the seminal novels of the entire horror genre. Dracula the novel, and “Dracula’s Guest,” which I returned to its true place in the middle of the novel, total about 160,000 words. Bram, as I liked to say, had gotten his word count in well before deadline. I know Gareth did a great job, and I think I did pretty well if I say so myself, and no I will not tell you which parts are his and which parts are mine because I called dibs on being the Henry Irving of this project long ago. In 2011, in fact, if not in the 1970s.

Gareth and I wound up expanding — er, unredacting — Dracula by about 25%. Our Dracula Unredacted is almost 200,000 words long, not counting 10,000 words of annotations. In three colors of ink. Just like the Varo Edition. Only with Dracula.

And now you can pre-order it, and see almost a half-million words, over 800 pages, and many many colors of ink in The Dracula Dossier for yourself.

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