Exploits Feature

Substack Dracula

This is a reprint of the Music essay from Issue #40 of Exploits, our collaborative cultural diary in magazine form. If you like what you see, buy it now for $2, or subscribe to never miss an issue (note: Exploits is always free for subscribers of Unwinnable Monthly).


I know we’ve all seen the 1992 Francis Ford Coppolla classic, Bram Stoker’s Dracula, but did you know that was based on a book? Oh, you did? Well, did you know that book is now available in your email? In a stroke of brilliance, Matt Kirkland started a substack in May that emails you every letter from the epistolary Dracula, on the day they were written, from May 3rd through November 7th.

I remember reading the classic horror story back in high school, but getting a bit bogged down at points. Now, reading it in short bursts as the story unfurls in real time, the Victorian prose feels manageable, but I do worry about missing the aura of the book version. This ends up feeling like the difference between Disney releasing new episodes of The Mandalorian or Wandavision one episode at a time instead of the new standard full season drop that Netflix pioneered last decade. I think stretching the narrative out over several months keeps the story at the top of my head, rather than just bashing the book out in a few reading sessions.

Plus, with several of us over here at Unwinnable subscribed to the substack, there’s a community read feeling going on that has added context and discourse to the book that I never had before. What does cudgeling your brain mean anyway? I’m now convinced this is a euphemism.

Anyway, whether you’ve never read Dracula before, or if you’ve read it cover to cover dozens of times and seen all the great actors (Lugosi, Kinski, Oldman, Nielsen) take on the role, now is a great time to dip back into the original horror. If you haven’t signed up yet, you can still hop on board and catch up in the archives. This is just good, clean, bloody fun!

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