Saturday, February 23, 2008
My Favorite Dracula
Is Frank Langella.
I'm not sure why, but as I recovered my health recently and with it my libido, the first attraction to come back to me was Frank Langella from the 1979 version of "Dracula." His portrayal inspired my first lust for a vampire figure (I was barely past puberty at that time) and in the nearly 30 years since then, no one has taken his place. (Not even my own characters Anders, Mr. Wellsley, and the gang from Bloodchained, LOL.)
What are the keys to Frank's charms? I suppose at the heart of it is his slow, painfully graceful, exquisitely elegant manner. More accurately, the way he is able to convey danger, seductiveness, and pure dominance in such a slow, graceful, elegant manner. He is literally the perfect gentleman, and yet so compelling and captivating that one is terrified by one's immediate and intense desire for him.
It's the voice, the eyes, the mouth, that slow and secret gesture of the fingers...it's the way power is cloaked in refinement when he speaks...it's the way he stands in a window or the way he sheds his cape. In my opinion there was never an actor so born for this role, with the perfect manner of speaking, the perfect comportment, to convey a creature so wicked and yet so impossible to resist.
If you don't believe me, here are four minutes from the film that may convince you.
[It doesn't hurt, may I add, that Frank has the support of a John Williams score. Now that man was born to write music that expresses deadly danger and romantic lust rolled into one overpowering force.]
Frank Langella's interpretation of Dracula, for me, personified the sexy vampire, and I'm sure I'm completely unable to write a vampire character without harking back to him. He taught 13-year-old me to understand what it means to be irresistibly drawn to something hurtful, and how overpowering the interplay between dominance and submission can be. In that way this character did more than illustrate the vampire archetype. He demonstrated principles about sexual desire that totally transcend that theme.
By that token, I have to give credit to Frank Langella and that film for doing more than giving me my favorite vampire character ever. I owe them also for playing a key part in my sexual awakening and my understanding of the essential roles of the male and female in the most commonplace of erotic relationships: dominance and submission. So in a way, "Dracula" is among the most basic underpinnings of much of the erotic and romantic fiction I write today.
I guess I shouldn't have been so surprised after all that it was Frank's Dracula that visited me in my recovery. Needless to say, I was very glad to see him again.