frankenstein behind the scenes

Last Halloween, I’d asked a few Nervous Breakdown contributors to share their favorite terrifying movie scenes, and D. R. Haney was among them with his contribution from Rouben Mamoulian’s 1931 Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. I, on the other hand, had picked the tunnel scene from Willy Wonka, which I explain so you understand why I like collaborating with Duke. My brain grows three sizes bigger by association. He’s like a cinematic moral compass for which true north is James Dean. And this year for Halloween, Duke and I decided to discuss the classic tale that produced another old-school Hollywood icon.

It’s that time of the year again. When thoughts turn to the dread VISA Card statement, office Christmas parties, and Uncle Creepy’s eggnog (what is that secret ingredient). As an antidote to these and other horrors, I’ve assembled a few of my favorite monsters. A Christmas card from where the wild things are to my fellow nervous breakdowners. Wishing you all a truly festive season.

With Dracula in Love you take us back to the very dawn of vampire literature, namely Bram Stoker’s groundbreaking novel Dracula from 1897. What inspired you to revisit this old classic and recreate the horrible events of 1890?

I’d date the dawn of vampire literature to John Polidori’s short story, “The Vampyre,” written on that fateful weekend in 1816 when Mary Shelley began Frankenstein.  But you’re right, it was Stoker’s Dracula that gave birth to the vampire novel and spawned hundreds, if not thousands of incarnations and variations.

Chapter One

London,

June 29, 1890

In the beginning, there was the voice.

That was how it began on that first evening, with a masculine voice calling out to me in my sleep; a disembodied voice slithering into my dream, a voice of deep tenor and tones, of sensuous growls, and of low, hollow moans—a voice laden with promise and with love. It was as familiar to me as my own, and yet I knew not whether it came from inside my head, from outside me, or from somewhere not of this earth. Hushed like wind through a valley and smooth like velvet, it beckoned me, and I neither had, nor wanted, power against it. The voice was my master.