Pop culture does seem to define how we look at things. Bela Lugosi's portrayal of the Count set the standards for decades, but it seems that vampires are moving from the evening clothes crowd to more jeans and t-shirts. What will be the next big impact on Dracula and vampires in general?
Vampire movies are so popular these days that I would say that Dracula's influence has gone farther than we could have imagined. These days it seems that most vampires were simply misunderstood!
The biggest contribution the movies had made toDraculais a spike in popularity in the teenage girl fan base. I have girls in my classroom that are lining up to read the 'original' vampire book; Bram Stoker's novel has definitely had a resurge in popularity.
I agree with the last post about the "approachability" aspect to literature, especially with Dracula. Certainly, Coppola's "Bram Stoker's Dracula" made the character especially approachable and extremely compassionate. After the movie was released, popularity in the novel spiked significantly, which can be attributed to Gary Oldman's mutli- dimensional portrayal of the main character.
Vampires are definitely in for teen-aged girls! The Twilight books and films are appealing to many readers and viewers. Teen-aged girls are particularly attracted to the sexy, handsome vampire because he represents forbidden fruit. The vampire broods and is damaged; girls want to nurture him and help him see that he is not a total monster.
When I was in high school, Interview with the Vampire was published and we all read it over and over, passing around our paperback copies until they were dog-eared. Things haven't changed; only the vampires' names have...
Hmm, interesting ideas. Or perhaps there will be a backlash? I recall reviews of Blade II which seems downright gleeful over the idea of "Max Schrek ripping apart Brad Pitt-esque pretty boys." Perhaps they will return to the old morality tales (don't do this, this is evil behavior, etc.). I recall vampires were supposed to represt the plague. Maybe more medical stand-ins?
Vampires do indeed continue to fascinate, probably for a lot of deeply psychological reasons that should be researched, if that hasn't been done already. One thing's for sure--Twilight has certainly added new dimensions to the supernatural condition. In that series, vampires have been given free will as to whether they will be bad vampires or good vampires! Also, the idea that a good vampire may still have an immortal soul is explored. Definitely new spins on an old legend. What's next? The softer, gentler vampire got a great public reception, so if the media treatment of vampires goes in that direction, perhaps we will have a vampire that rejects all evil and uses his supernatural powers to do good--a crusading vampire Superman, except he won't need the cape. Or, how about a vampire that becomes a missionary to bring other vampires to the light of goodness? Or, a vampire that enters the political arena and uses his powers to foster world peace?
The greatest impact that the movies have had on the novel Dracula makes the novel seem more approachable to anyone regardless of their reading ability. The movies do a great service for all types of horror literature and gives people an added dimension and impetus to read classic literature and not to fear it but to embrace it as something rewarding and gratifying.