first time we saw the cinematic "Frankenstein",
everyone I know went to sleep that night wondering what
evils lurked in their closet or under the bed.
the first time I opened the original novel on which that
terribly frightening movie had been based, Mary Shelley
confused me half to death. Where's the big guy with
the bolts in the side of his neck, and what's the deal with
all of these letters? The same thing happened with
Dracula. What's with all this talk talk talk? Get
on with the bloodsucking!
and Stoker were very different writers, but they shared
two things - a visionary intensity, and the need for a good
editor. Stoker was a hack who got hit by the genius stick
once, for "Dracula", and Shelley was nineteen
when she wrote "Frankenstein". These audio versions
are abridged, but only the dross is cut: the visionary gold
is still here.
Bram Stoker's Dracula
(Abridged by Heather Godwin; read by Daniel Philpott,
Johathan Oliver, & Chris Larkin)
& Mary Shelley's Frankenstein
(Abridged by Duncan Steen; performed by Brian Cox, Heathcote
Williams, Dermot Kerrigan, Siri O'Neal, & Michael
more, an audio performance with multiple actors, sound effects,
and period music brings the diary and epistolary form to
life. That means that when the narrative perspective shifts
from Victor to his creation, we are immediately signaled
by a change in voice. Likewise, when Stoker shifts from
Dr. Seward's diary to Mina Harker's journal, the production
multiple voices really work to underscore both the differences
and the continuity, and in both novels evoke the works'
oral nature, often lost on modern readers. The only drawback
is that Stoker couldn't do dialect to save his life, and
listening to Van Helsing's wretched hash of an accent is
comical at best, painful at worst.
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