When I was a student, it was the heyday of Hammer Horror films and we went to see them all, often going in at eleven o’clock at night for a midnight movie. We saw a lot of dreadful stuff, including what passed for pornography in those days, Swedish nudist colonies I think! I fell in love with Christopher Lee as Dracula – although I did like him in other films too, including ‘The Wicker Man’… which terrified me… The Dracula films were made long before I saw them and were a bit creaky, but I loved the Gothic horror of them… And it seemed a natural progression to read the novel ‘Dracula’ by Bram Stoker. Although it was written well over a hundred years ago, it is very readable today, in fact my book club read it not long ago. From that I became fascinated by stories about vampires and the original Romanian Vlad Dracul, a monster or a hero, depending on which side you were on. i actually became a member of the Dracula Society.
I have moved on since then, and I don’t like horror books or films now, but last year we went to Whitby which is the setting for part of the original Dracula novel. It is a popular holiday destination on the Yorkshire coast with some of the finest fish and chips you will ever taste… and we had a great holiday there. Whitby is an interesting town, with much history apart from the connection to the fictional vampire. The ruined abbey on the cliffs above the town is magnificent, with a long and very inter sting history… but even though it was a Christian place of worship from early times, there is definitely something rather spooky about it, and I can understand only too well why Bram Stoker thought it such a great setting for his novel!