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Literature / Dracula: Asylum

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Bela Lugosi's alive.
Dracula: Asylum is a 2006 novel by Paul Witcover. Part of a series of novels from DH Press tying in with classic Universal Horror films (the others include Frankenstein: The Shadow of Frankenstein), this book is a sequel to Universal's Dracula (1931).

Over twenty years have passed since Van Helsing drove a stake into Dacula's heart and left his body deep in Carfax Abbey. Now, during World War I, a bombing raid leads to the Count's resurrection by dislodging the stake. Meanwhile Lisa Watson, an American psychiatrist, is starting work at the nearby Carfax War Hospital in the hopes of treating her amnesiac fiance Denis Faulks.

Mysterious events begin happening around the hospital, and both Watson and Faulks eventually stumble upon the extent of Dracula's malignant influence. But the Count's darkest secret is found in papers left by Van Helsing: the vampire hunter deliberately avoided destroying Dracula once and for all, and for good reason...

This novel provides examples of:

  • Canon Discontinuity: The novel ignores the events of Dracula's Daughter, in which the Count's body is destroyed shortly after he was staked. But then, the film series itself was pretty loose continuity-wise.
  • Frozen in Time: A curious variation. Universal's Dracula had a contemporary setting of circa 1931, but this novel's backstory places the film's events at some point in the eighteen-nineties - when Bram Stoker's novel was published. Can be seen as legitimate Artistic License as it allows the World War I setting, a vital part of the story.
  • Gollum Made Me Do It: Renfield has a Split Personality, his good side named Renny.
  • Julius Beethoven da Vinci: Dracula claims to be none other than Jesus Christ, having been corrupted by the sins which he had died to absolve us of. However, some characters believe that this is a lie, and one in particular concludes that he is actually Judas Iscariot, revived as a vampire after making a deal with the Devil.
  • Napoleon Delusion: Denis Faulks believes himself to be Sherlock Holmes.
  • "Not So Different" Remark: Dracula is revealed to pick women who he feels have darkness within their hearts to be his brides - Lisa Watson being one of his targets.
  • Our Vampires Are Different: It turns out that certain elements of the vamprie legend, such as a weakness to crosses, are actually the result of lies spread by Dracula to confound his enemies. The novel also works with the unusual idea that a stake through the heart is not a means of killing Dracula but rather of immobilising him, making it possible to kill him using other means - but this idea could be a nod to Universal's House of Frankenstein, in which the Count is resurrected when the stake is pulled from his skeletal corpse.
  • The Renfield: The Renfield.
  • Staying Alive: Renfield survived his apparent death (by being strangled and thrown down the stairs by Dracula) in the film. Dracula's powers presumably played a role, and his broken neck is at one point lampshaded (possibly a Shout-Out to the Ygor character in Universal's Frankenstein films, who survived being hanged but had a broken neck)
  • The Ultimate Showdown of Ultimate Destiny: Dracula versus Sherlock Holmes. Well, sort of...