Nightmare Fuel / Dracula

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Hard to consider Harker lucky or unlucky here. Keep it mind it was a similar nightmare from Stoker that inspired the novel. (Image by Greg Hildebrant.)

The Novel

  • The description of the Count crawling out of the window and across the stone wall (with several hundred feet of sheer cliff face below it) and into another window is terrifying.
    • Nightmare Retardant: Until you realize what gravity would do to your cape and clothing when you are upside down.... Then again Drac seems to generate his own gravity when he does it.
  • Dracula's mortal minions laughing at Jonathan's predicament when he looks to them for help, and turning the correspondence he entrusted to them back over to his captor.
  • Jonathan's first encounter with the brides. He never knew there were other people inside the castle and these three appear out of nowhere as he's half asleep to feed on him. The blonde bride was only a inch from biting him before Dracula arrived to stop her. Keep in mind by this point, Jonathan was unaware how vampirism works and if the brides had succeeded there, he likely would've became a vampire himself. Of course, while Dracula prevented this assault, he does promise the brides that he'll give them Jonathan once he leaves the castle. Needless to say, Jonathan doesn't stick around to become their meal/chew toy. Especially when he nearly falls asleep at one point from exhaustion and notices some odd bits of light in the sky. At first, he passes it off as dust mites but then they start to form into to brides and he quickly wakes up, seeing nothing. Whether it was his mind playing tricks on him or not is unknown, but it's pretty much all the motivation he needs to make to escape.
    • Later in the novel, Helsing and Mina are confronted by the brides with Helsing barely having time to put up what amounts to a holy barrier around the two of them before three women try to attack them, and this goes on for the entirety of the night. Their presence is so much that their horses die from fright (or are fed on, depends on the adaptation). What's more the dialogue between Mina and Helsing had the latter promising to protect her. But she states that, if anything, he's the one that's being protected. The brides are there to add Mina to their ranks as they sense she's nearly a vampire, something that Mina seems to both relish and is terrified of, and haven't come to hurt her. But for Helsing, they'll likely kill him on the spot once the chance presents itself. Luckily the two manage to hold out until the dawn comes and the brides flee back to the castle.
  • That village woman coming to the castle to demand her baby back. After the Brides already ate him. Shouting abuse at the helpless Jonathan, who doesn't pity her when the wolves come since he feels that her fate was better then finding out that the vampire women had devoured her child.
  • When Jonathan goes to find an out of the castle, he manages to come across Dracula's coffin and finds him sleeping in it. He tries to strike him with a shovel but Dracula somehow manages to dodge it. Dracula then opens his eyes but due to the sun he can't move at the moment, however he knows Jonathan is there and just... stares at him. After this, Jonathan decides to just get the heck out of dodge before sundown.
  • Renfield, in a moment of clarity, begging to be removed from the place where he can do most damage in his madness, only to be utterly dismissed by the heroes.
  • Dracula's metaphorical rape of Mina — which only gets worse when she has to re-tell it from her point of view — is especially graphic and chilling.
  • Dracula sucks so much blood from Lucy that even her gums are rendered pale!
    • The way Lucy's transformation just gradually comes about to as she gets weaker. By the third attack, Lucy can barely respond to the men anymore, yet they notice she seems more stronger at night, especially as she sleeps. Eventually Helsing notices, to his horror, the bite marks that were present on her neck have now vanished and her canines have now become much sharper. When Arthur comes to her, Lucy's demeanor changes to be uncharacteristically seductive as she asks Arthur for a kiss. Helsing, seeing what's happening, prevents this and Lucy regains her senses. The creepy part comes when it seems she she knows what's happening to her and ask Helsing to protect Arthur as a final request before she passes away. However Helsing knows this isn't over, while the Lucy they know did die, the transformation is just finishing up and that she's becoming a monster.
  • The ship captain's Apocalyptic Log detailing Dracula picking off his crew one by one while remaining hidden in the shadows.
    • An alternative interpretation is that Dracula was innocent, and that it was the captain's second in command who killed them all. This seems likely given Dracula's apparent frustration near the end of the journey, the man's (who is the last survivor besides the captain) increasingly erratic and hysterical behavior, and Dracula not harming anyone on his return voyage.
  • The villagers referring to Dracula's castle as hell incarnate.
  • Pretty much the entirety of the newly-vampirized Lucy.
    • It starts with the fact that once she arises, she begins to go after children. We only get second hand reports of it, but she proceeds to come off as a friendly motherly figure to her targets helped by her looks (hence why they dub her the "Bloofer Lady" which is a child-like way of saying "Beautiful Lady"), then takes them to a secluded area and feeds on them. Grade-A Adult Fear right there. Granted she never takes too much blood to completely drain them. But the bite enough infects them with the vampire curse and likely if she continued, undead children would be roaming the streets of London and continue spreading the curse to their parents and likewise to others.
    • Then there's the confrontation in the cemetery with the hunters. Seward describing her as cat-like when they get her attention and she hisses at them. But even more disturbing is how she goes from creature like to seductive in the span of a minute and tries to seduce Arthur. It nearly works as Arthur is swayed by her voice only for Helsing to ward Lucy off with a cross. The monstrous side comes back as she hisses and screeches at them until finally forced to flee back into her tomb. Shown by somehow slipping through the tomb door. Most adaptations aren't really sure how to do this, some just simply go for her turning into mist, but others interpret her actually squeezing through the door as if turning her body putty like.
    • The staking itself deserves a special mention. In most modern medias, a vampire being staked is depicted as no real different than stabbing, with the body turning to ashes after death in some cases. In this book, on the other hand, it's depicted in a gruesomely realistic way: poor Arthur has to slowly dig the stake through Lucy's heart with the help of a hammer, with a description of the gushing blood and her screams of agony as she literally rips her own lips to shreds.
    • And finally Seward and Van Helsing take the time to decapitate her corpse and stuff her mouth with garlic to make sure she doesn't come back again. Quincy at least took Arthur away so he'd be spared seeing his fiancee's head cut off.
  • Dracula has a wealth of powers that modern renditions don't give him. Such as being able to control wolves (and turn into a wolf himself), and having control of the weather. Written down like this they don't sound scary. But in context, he knows exactly how to use them. Such as telling Jonathan, yes, of course he can leave the castle... and then summoning a pack of hungry wolves to the door so if he tries to leave he will be eaten.
  • Dracula being able to walk in the sunlight with only dampened powers is rather chilling. Modern stories say he stays in his coffin the day. In the book, he could be anywhere and still stalking his prey.


http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/NightmareFuel/Dracula