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Season 4

Episode 30: “The king of the bad guys”: a conversation with Lionel & Jim

Tuesday, March 12, 2024

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Gary Oldman as the elder Dracula in Bram Stokers Dracula film

Gary Oldman from Bram Stoker’s Dracula

Discussion of Bram Stoker’s Dracula starts with Jim trying to do a Boston Brahmin accent, and talks about his daughter’s inexplicable accent when she was younger. They move on to talk about xenophobia in the book, alongside the treatment of the other in Frankenstein. We return to Mary Shelley’s work repeatedly to compare and contrast. Lionel mentions all the new technology occurring in Bram Stoker’s book. Jim compares the book favorably to the movie Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Gary Oldman. Lionel mentions the film Renfield with Nicholas Cage. Jim maintains that the book is really about the fear associated with rampant colonialism by Victorian England, Lionel is skeptical about this notion. They touch on the predecessors to Stoker’s book, including The Vampyre by John William Polidori, writing alongside Mary Shelley’s book.

Jim goes further out on a limb by suggesting the book can be read as a fear of aristocratic power, and ultra-wealth, pointing out that the story centers around a real-estate deal. We talk about Stoker’s treatment of the Romani people, and implicit bigotry there. We note the attitude to the lost Byzantine empire in the text as well.

Lionel talks about how improvements to quality of life in England feature prominently in Bram Stoker’s book. He wonders why this book is the leading vampire novel, rather than Carmilla or The Vampyre, or Nosferatu.

In the middle of this discussion, Lionel wonders why so many Phillip K. Dick stories were turned into films, rather than Samuel R. Delaney or other authors. Jim mis-titles Dahlgren as Grendal. Jim says that he used to go to Blade Runner over and over in the Theater when he was younger, and explains why he found it so deep. In Blade Runner, we find our modern tie-in to Frankenstein. We talk about Vangelis, and his important role in the film. Lionel mentions a documentary about him as well as Dangerous Days, which is the account of the creation of the movie. They talk about The Ladd Company and Sir Run Run Shaw. We poo-poo the sequel and the edits. Lionel mentions the deleted scenes he found on youtube.

The talk about how these two kings of the bad guys (Frankenstein and Dracula) continue to live on and be relevant to our modern minds.

Not knowing when to leave well enough alone, Jim continues back to his comparison to billionaires as vampires, contrasting The Lost Boys to Anne Rice, saying that some Dracula stories are replete with money-porn (his term, not colloquial). Lionel continues to resist this idea that fear of extreme wealth is an intrinsic part of the narrative.

Jim lists the Erratica from the last episode, as the life from this episode drains away.