3 memorable moments in undead evolution

Bela Lugosi played the Count on Broadway and in film.

Vampires didn’t just pop out of the grave with sparkling skin and movie deals.  Dracula expert Leslie Klinger takes us through the history of blood suckers

Backwoods monsters

More otherworldly pests than romantic immortals, vampires have their roots in folklore and were often blamed for missing animals and other problems in the village. “Vampires used to be monsters,” explains Klinger. “You’d staple decaying Uncle George back into the casket and hope he’d go away.”

Despised aristocrats

In his latest book, “In the Shadow of Dracula,” Klinger explores vampire stories that influenced Bram Stoker’s “Dracula,” which starred a member of the next-generation of smoother talking, wealthy vamps who took bloodsucking to another level. “When the vampire becomes an aristocrat,” explains Klinger, “he becomes a metaphor for those who live and feed off of other people.”

Teen idols

Once Drac entered show business, the jump from creepy rich guy to “Twilight” heartthrob was just a matter of time. “The whole change of the vampire started to take place in the 1920s. Dracula is still basically a monster, Nosferatu is disgusting. But then we had the play adaptation of ‘Dracula,’ and he’s wearing an opera cloak with slick black hair. That was adopted for the movies, and there was no going back.”


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