The Crypt of Dracula
Book Author: Kane Gilmour
Length: 209 pages print length
I chose to read this novel because it is a Dracula novel. It came to my attention through a recommendation. To me (and hopefully to other fans of horror), Dracula is one of the core characters of horror. This character is a classic staple in the horror genre and community. Everyone knows who Dracula is. This character and the subject of Dracula and vampires have been done so many times that it’s really hard to find something classic and different at the same time. So often I find that each vampire story is typically the same with little variation. And the story often seems to be told with a certain bias against Dracula. It's the same kind of bias you might find in a typical werewolf story. It is one that accompanies monsters of all eras; these creatures have no feelings, no heartfelt compassion, no soul, and no morals, ultimately projecting the idea that they are entirely inhuman (and always have been) and are not capable of and do not possess any characteristic or quality that is unique to human beings.
This novel is not like other typical Dracula stories, in my opinion. This novelist puts considerable time, effort, and emphasis on the characters, their surroundings, their emotions and experiences, practically everything except Dracula himself. I would liken it to the way we see the shark portrayed in the movie Jaws. We barely see the shark compared to the other characters but have other elements and observations to conclude that the threat is there. However, Gilmour can do this without being longwinded or drowning the reader in insignificant details or irrelevant tangents. This creates a clear picture of the author’s unique individual interpretation of a classic Dracula tale. And it’s the physical but heavily implied absence of Dracula that makes him such a formidable foe, as we see the shark to be in the movie Jaws.
This novel is very well-written utilizing a certain type of language that takes the reader back to a previous era yet the verbiage isn’t cryptic, muddled, or unfamiliar feeling (such as how some people feel about Shakespeare). Although the story does take a little time to develop, the foundation is necessary. Furthermore, once it does get moving along, it doesn’t stop. This author has excellent usage of an extensive vocabulary that conjures up a slew of vivid images.
Within this tale are five essential characters other than Dracula; Petran, Fritz, Wagner, Gretchen, and Anneli. Petran is Dracula’s servant. Wagner and Fritz have been hired to do repairs at the castle of Count Dracula. Anneli is married to Wagner and Gretchen is in a relationship with Fritz but, they are not married yet. As the two gents would be at the castle for an extended period of time, they opted to bring their significant others to join them in staying at the castle.
The story details the strange behaviors of the Count and Petran and the effects of these encounters on the guests of the castle. The odd and mysterious behaviors of these two men aren’t the only things that start to unsettle the two couples. Paranormal activity coupled with peculiar changes in the castle such as items cryptically being moved around the rooms, and objects outside the castle’s living space unexplainedly being put in motion with no discernable force putting the visitors in an unnerving state of alarm and mortal danger.
This novel is packed with suspense, horror, gore, violence, drugs, sex, monsters and creatures beyond this world, seduction, romance, and a small group of unwitting victims. There are intimate encounters, dark and damp hallways, and staircases drenched in fear and precariousness, and grotesque creatures moving about the castle in wickedly unnatural ways. Truly slowly walking the reader through each disturbing brush with the danger that surrounds them.
Gilmour uses some very interesting, and what I would consider unique, word choices displaying an excellent use of his extensive vocabulary which allows for the superb descriptions with which he paints for us the full picture of the time that our characters spend with the Count. Gilmour takes the very common mystical and romantic portrayal of Dracula and sublimely melds it with the true evil of a creature of the undead. Though the personalities of the characters are well defined, within each lies hidden or more subtle traits that must inevitably show themselves through various circumstances, albeit forced or voluntary.
All of these qualities merge together to create descriptions so vivid and meticulous that the reader gets as close to watching a movie as one can while reading a book. The movie that played in my head while reading was steady, interesting, fascinatingly intense, suspenseful, and very satisfying from start to finish. This was truly a joy to read.