Deep in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, just off the Borgo Pass, lies a centuries-old castle, housing within its ancient walls the mysterious Count Dracula…

… sound cliché enough for you?

Count Dracula’s enduring fame in pop culture belies the emphasis of mystery surrounding his character within his titular novel, Dracula. While audiences today enter into the novel’s story, or adaptations of it, already knowing about vampires (of which Dracula is the most famous,) the initial audiences of 1897 would have been unfamiliar with this version of a “vampire.” Dracula was, for them, a story of mystery and suspense, of putting the pieces together about who— what— Dracula was, where he was, and why— the same series of questions the characters of the story must discover, in order to save the world, and each other, from him. To a certain extent, Dracula remains a story of suspense for audiences today— after all, while Dr. Van Helsing may be remembered beyond Stoker’s novel, other major characters, like the Harkers or Dr. Seward, have not moved nearly as far beyond their source material, nor has the plot they’re tied to.

As for the Count himself? Dracula has become such an iconic figure of pop culture, alongside other movie monsters like Victor Frankenstein’s, that he no longer stands as a vampire, but the vampire— the specter from which all subsequent vampires either pattern into or deviate from. And so:

Deep in the Carpathian Mountains of Transylvania, just off the Borgo Pass, lies a centuries-old castle, housing within its ancient walls the mysterious Count Dracula…

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