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Bram Stokers blood relative resurrects Dracula

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Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, the Irishman who wrote the Gothic horror classic “Dracula,” recently released “Dracula: The Un-Dead,” the first Stoker family supported sequel to the 1897 novel.

Photo by JAN COBB 

Vampire scholar-author makes Lebanon appearance

By KEN BECKSpecial to The Wilson Post

Drac is back.

For the first time since the release of “Dracula” in 1897, another Stoker has brought the world’s most famous vampire back to life in the classic novel’s first Stoker family supported sequel.

Dacre Stoker, the great-grandnephew of Bram Stoker, has co-written “Dracula: The Un-Dead” with New York horror screenwriter Ian Holt, also a member of the Transylvanian Society of Dracula.

“We chose to pick up the action where Bram Stoker left off after Dracula died. There is ambiguity about how he died. At the end of Bram’s classic novel, Count Dracula is supposedly killed when a Bowie knife is driven into his heart and his throat is slit. But did he really die, or did he just crumble into dust as a means to escape?” asked Dacre.

Van Helsing carefully explained that it takes a wooden stake to be driven through the heart and the head to completely severed to really finish off a vampire. Dacre will present his case for a sequel and show some of his research photos in a Power Point presentation and also sign copies of the novel from 4-8 p.m. Saturday at Sherlock’s Bookstore in Lebanon.

“We feel Bram Stoker left the door open so Dracula could return. We look at all the characters that survived the story and what would have happened to these characters after they think they killed Dracula and saved London from being another hunting ground for Dracula.”

Meet the authors

• Sherrilyn Kenyon will sign “Born of Ice” (the third book from her “League” series) 1-4 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 5, at Sherlock’s Book Emporium, 200 Maddox-Simpson Pkwy., in Lebanon. For more info, call 449-9807 and visit www.sherlocksbooks.com and www.sherrilynkenyon.com.

• Dacre Stoker will sign copies of “Dracula: The Un-Dead” 4-8 p.m. Saturday. At 7 p.m. he will offer a Power Point presentation about why he and co-author Ian Holt wrote the book and show photos of Bram Stoker’s notes. For more info, go to www.draculatheundead.com. 

The sequel opens in London in 1912, 25 years after Count Dracula’s body “crumbled into dust.” Leading the good guys is Quincey Harker, son of the original hero Jonathan Harker, who finds himself in a stage production of “Dracula” that is being produced by Bram Stoker. Young Harker uncovers some terrible secrets about his parents just before his father’s corpse is discovered impaled in Piccadilly Circus. The Count is at work or is he?

The “Dracula” sequel came about after screenwriter Ian Holt, a horror fan since the age of 12, tracked down Stoker and made a pitch.

“He realized having a Stoker involved in the story would be helpful, so he searched me out and found some of the things I had done on the Internet and thought the qualities I had would be ripe to jump in and do something like this. I decided to take up the challenge,” said Dacre, who wanted to have Bram Stoker’s character an integral part of the story.

“I wanted to paint a realistic picture of Bram Stoker the man. I went to members of the Bram Stoker estate, my cousins and his great-grandsons. They liked the idea, and I got emails of their support and went forward. I went off to the Rosenbach Museum in Philadelphia and found reference to Detective Cotford, the policeman who also investigated the Ripper murders.”

While Dacre wrote the portions with Cotford, Jack the Ripper and Bram Stoker, Holt wrote the sections about Harker and the Prince. When it came time to merge, they took turns on the manuscript.

“It was important to do things like Bram Stoker did,” Dacre said. “To be as historically accurate as possible, we hired a researcher. He could place us in 1912. He could find the time period methods of transportation. He could place us there so we could be creative and write the story. Everything was up to date. We knew we would be scrutinized.” 

Dacre also had the good fortune of having some 125 pages of Bram Stoker’s handwritten notes for helping with more details.

“We expect to drum up a good amount of controversy,” Dacre said. “So many people at different levels have read ‘Dracula’ or seen the movies. We feel the fans deserve it. Bram’s character Dracula in many ways has evolved and adapted to the surroundings, and we feel now is the good time with where this all is going to give people the chance to check in with the characters where it all started. We felt we did a good job in reconnecting with those familiar characters. I think Bram would have modernized his characters.”

The writer is a fan of other vampire books such as Stephen King’s “Salem’s Lot” and Anne Rice’s “Interview With a Vampire.” And his co-writer is a student of all the vampire films and has written a script based on their book.

“I’d love to see it turned into a good movie but there are no guarantees,” Dacre said. “I think odds are pretty good, but Hollywood is a whole ’nother world.”

Dacre, 51, who was a member of the Canadian Men’s Modern Pentathlon Team, Senior World Championships in 1979, lives in Aiken, S.C., where he is executive director of the Aiken Land Conservancy, a non-profit organization similar to the Nature Conservancy but smaller in scope.

Ken Beck may be contacted at kbtag2@gmail.com.

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