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Local takes on the original Dracula put Twilight to sparkly shame 

From graphic novels to rock operas, ATL likes its vampires Vlad to the bone

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MONSTER MASH: Dozens of cartoon monster masks hang from the ceiling of Morton's home. Some are very rare. Shane has collected many of them from around the world, most of them dating back to the '60s. - DUSTIN CHAMBERS
  • Dustin Chambers
  • MONSTER MASH: Dozens of cartoon monster masks hang from the ceiling of Morton's home. Some are very rare. Shane has collected many of them from around the world, most of them dating back to the '60s.

"Who doesn't want to live forever? But it comes with a price. It requires one to become other than oneself, and that's both attractive and repellent," says Senf.

"As long as people are interested in vampires, Dracula's going to be right there," says Jensen. Even though he finds that vampire characters represent the fear of death, while writing Of Wood and Blood he entertained a different perspective. "There's something almost hopeful about vampires, in that they represent a triumph over death. As terrifying as they are, they represent a hope that we can survive death and death can be overcome."

Horror tradition depicts vampirism as a communicable disease, and Draculas are proliferating. On the silly end of the spectrum, Sept. 28 sees the release of the CGI feature Hotel Transylvania, with Adam Sandler voicing the count as an overprotective dad trying to keep his vampire daughter from dating a clueless human.

Looking further ahead, the Atlanta Ballet will be remounting Dracula to coincide with Valentine's Day in 2013. Hollywood studios are developing a reboot of Van Helsing and a film called Harker, which reimagines the young lawyer as a vampire hunter and may star Russell Crowe. Mostly intriguingly, Centurion director Neil Marshall fleshes out a chapter from Stoker's novel with the Viggo Mortensen film The Last Voyage of the Demeter, an account of the ill-fated ship that transports the vampire from Transylvania to the shores of England.

While generic vampires provide low-budget, low-calorie stake fodder, Dracula offers a bottomless well of horror themes and dark symbolism. Artists willing to take the plunge will find Bram Stoker's count can enrich the culture even as he drains his victims. As Dracula said, and will say again many times in the future, "The children of the night. What music they make!"

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