Dracula begins with the journal of Jonathan Harker, a young solicitor on the way to Transylvania to give information to the mysterious Count Dracula about his new estate in London. Dracula takes the young man prisoner, and Jonathan sees many strange and evil things in the castle before escaping and fleeing into the night. He later decides that he must have been mad.
Meanwhile, back in England, Jonathan's fiancée, Mina, is visiting her friend Lucy. Lucy has just decided to marry the Honorable Arthur Holmwood, having had to choose between him and his two friends, Dr. John Seward and Quincey Morris, the Texan.
Dracula, who is moving to London to feast on more humans, happens to land in the part of England where Mina and Lucy are staying. His first victim is Lucy. Dr. Seward, who, by coincidence, runs the insane asylum next door to Dracula's primary London home, tries to treat Lucy's "illness". He calls in from Amsterdam his friend and mentor Professor Abraham Van Helsing. Van Helsing figures out what is wrong with Lucy, but cannot save her.
By this time, Jonathan has made it home to England and is happily married to Mina. Van Helsing brings together Mina, Jonathan, Arthur, Quincey, Seward and himself and convinces everyone of the reality of vampires and the danger of this particular one, who was in his human life a great warrior and thinker. They have already destroyed the undead Lucy, and they likewise set out to destroy Dracula.
Jerry Sciarrio as Jonathan Harker
Kris Faulkner as Mina Harker
Kevin Foley as John Seward
Rebecca Cook as Lucy Westenra
Reed McColm as Quincy Morris and Renfield
Alex Mickshal as Arthur Holmwood
Andrea Bates as Mrs. Westenra
Cameron Beierle as Count Dracula
Gene Engene as Dr. Van Helsing
(P)2008 Books In Motion
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"A SUPERB PRODUCTION!"
When you search Audible for "Dracula" by Bram Stoker it's easy to get confused; there are almost 30 choices spread over 3 pages. I got lucky. Based on the small audio sample, my choice was this production by "Books in Motion". Their version is based on the 1897 book, and it's a full 18 hours, 11 minutes. AND the downloads (3 parts) are available in Audible's new "Enhanced format" for best sound. I own a hardcover edition of Dracula as well and nothing is missing here. Unabridged, for sure.
The narration is done by a CAST of talented actors, and they live their roles! A personal favorite was the Professor, Van Helsing, but everyone did a great job. Sound effects were handled well also, and the voices of Count Dracula and his voluptuous "brides" are quite chilling. A true classic, and a great adventure!
"Ahh! What Music they Make. The Quinary Count No. 2"
I recently undertook the personal challenge to listen to five different versions of DRACULA because listening to Bram Stoker’s classic years ago made me a fan of audiobooks. I enjoyed that experience so much that I decided to try to determine if I had just gotten lucky or if there was an even better version available. Besides, I wanted to listen to it again. With most books I feel fortunate to have just one audio version available, but with DRACULA there are so many versions offered that listening to them all is not practical. I first figured that I could handle maybe three different versions but then discovered two more that I thought deserved attention. The Audible list had these five that I thought might be contenders:
Listed in my order of listening preference:
1) Susan Adams & Alexander Spencer (Recorded Books 1980)
2) Peter Sciarrio & Kris Faulkner & a FULL CAST, (Books in Motion 2008)
3) Greg Wise & Saskia Reeves (BBC Audiobooks 2008)
4) Robert Whitfield (aka Simon Vance), (Blackstone edition 1998)
5) Alan Cumming & Tim Curry & cast (Audible edition 2011)
Review for this version:
2) Peter Sciarrio (m) Kris Faulkner (f) & a FULL cast. Dramatized, Books in Motion 2008 [run time 18:11].
This is the only true Full Cast version. Every character, major or minor, is read by a different actor. This version is also unique in the insertion of sound effects in many key dramatic moments. When wolves are mentioned in the story we get to hear their howling. When Van Helsing rides away on the train we hear the locomotive chug. This version also eliminates most of the dialog identifiers, such as "Harker said" and "replied Dr. Seward" because the different actors reading each character make such designators superfluous. It is like listening to a stage play.
The actors are very good. Cameron Beierle’s portrayal of Count Dracula was the standout best Dracula of all the versions. Strangely the accent used for the Romanian Count sounds to my ear to be Spanish. His deep tones always brought to mind the voice of Zorro. But, somehow, this worked wonderfully. When Dracula listens to the wolves howling and delivers the famous line, “The Children of the Night, Ahh! What Music they Make,” the scene is painted in your mind. Of course, the sound of wolves baying at the moon in this version certainly adds to the effect.
The portrayal by Reed McColm as insane Mr. Renfield at the end of chapter 18 pleading to be released from the asylum is magnificent; an over the top emotional performance! I compared all five versions of this scene and this one is the most dramatic.
This is the most Americanized version. In chapter 1 when Jonathan Harker writes “memorandum” in his diary this version inserts the Yankee term “memo” instead.
The sound effects and the full cast of characters make this the most distinctive of the versions of DRACULA. There is incidental music to indicate the chapter changes. I always looked forward to the rendition of this Books in Motion edition.
Chapter stops match book chapter numbers.
There were not any duplicated passages.
The production values in this version are high.
Volume level is high.
12:20:20 Mispronunciation of “sentience.” (as SEN-t-ence)
Follows the text of THE ESSENTIAL DRACULA
1:34:20 “Occupied by the ladies in bygone days.” (TED p. 70.-1.-5)
2:14:25 “To-night is mine. To-morrow night is yours.” (TED p. 80.3)
"You will be scared to death"
I am also glad to get hold of the original 1897 version of this classic horror. This audio is performed by a full cast which, as one reviewer pointed out, fits the story perfectly. Even more so because the novel is composed entirely of journal entries of its characters (one phonograph journal interestingly), letters, notes, newspaper clippings, logbooks, memoranda, cables and other various records. Having seen the 1992 movie before listening to this I have to say that count Dracula appears in the book rather less often than I expected. His slayer, Abraham van Helsing, gets most of the attention instead. Van Helsing is a Dutch professor whose mode of expression is quite peculiar. I would go as far as to say that it is too peculiar for a main protagonist of an 18-hour audiobook. Not being a native English speaker he is constantly trying to be too eloquent given the modest means at his disposal. I know that this was probably the idea, but my impression is that it has been somewhat overdone. The book is also accompanied by sound effects. They are a bit on the cheap side, but it was good to hear "children of the night" speak from time to time.
Hearing this audiobook makes me wish the 1992 film version was better acted, as it was fairly true to the book.
Well read and interesting.
A classic horror tale
"Brilliant narration of the greatest horror story!"
I listen to audible during my long commute at nights.
That commute takes me through lonely, dark roads.
The wonderful, thrilling narration chilled my soul many a times, especially when you are alone in the car, at night, on a new moon day.
The howl of wolves and Jonathan Harker discovering he was alone was so chillingly narrated that i switched it off out of sheer fear.
Kudos to the narration team. Especially Van Helsing's voice, and Dracula's.
It was like a movie/TV Series.
"Decent but not great"
I'm writing this as a fan of classics (rather than, say, horror genre). First, on performance: I normally don't like multi-voice or dramatized performances. This one is an exception. The style of writing lends itself very well to the format, and the production was extremely well done. Probably the only time I'll ever give 5-stars for performance to a multi-reader production.
The story is OK. As with many classics where one has some notions based on movies and modern interpretations, it's not the same as one might expect going in. I'm OK with that, and I expect that. But where something like Frankenstein turned out to be way better than typical movie re-creations, I found this lacking. Admittedly it's mostly that the pace and style are just slow compared to what a modern audience would expect.
The story is told mostly in the form of diary entries. It's reasonably well done for what it is, and the style is good for telling the story, but there's just not really that much overall story there to tell.
As one reviewer pointed out there are many versions of Dracula available on Audible. He recommended this one so I tried it and was not disappointed! I don't normally care for multiple readers but it's almost as though Dracula was written for just such a presentation and I may have enjoyed the audiobook even more than I enjoyed the book when I read it. The sound effects were ok, though personally I didn't think they added anything to Bram Stoker's excellent prose.
"The US version of Dracula"
The story is fantastic and reading it for ones' self there are no problems in picturing the various characters and their characteristics. However, much of my pleasure in listening to this audiobook rendition of Bramstoker's fantastic novel, was removed by the heavy handed and unrealistic Germanic pronunciation of Dr. van Helsing. As someone who lived in the Netherlands for 30 years and became well attuned to the nuances of English pronunciation by Dutch and Germans, this portrayal of Van Helsing is ludicrous. Now having said all that, if you are not aware of the differences in English pronunciation of different European nationalities, then this audiobook production of Dracula is still worth listening to.
Gripping all the way through
Beats me, but some one much more competent with European English pronunciations
This is already over worked
"Good voice-acting for this rather long classic"
This is a classic that is harder to appreciate in light of much better-written novels that have come along since, though they all owe a debt to Dracula for their existence. To a certain extent, Stoker's prose is just typical of the period -- verbosity and melodrama and long, long soliloquies were the order of the day. I enjoyed the story, but it dragged at times and at some points during this audiobook, despite the excellent acting of a varied cast and the sound effects, I found myself tuning out.
Length and problems with pacing aside, this is still an excellent novel to read to get back to the source. No, Dracula wasn't quite the first vampire novel, but it was the big trendsetter, and practically every vampire trope you've ever heard of was popularized (and in some cases, made up) here. Dracula is a cunning, malicious SOB, a good old-fashioned Villain with touches of suave charm and cruel humor, and the race to kill him off in time to save Mina does become quite the nail-biter in the end. You really get a feel for how hapless and underpowered these mere mortals are, trying to take on an ancient, immortal foe with all kinds of inhuman abilities.
Stoker also deserves praise for his descriptions and for evoking the mood of the story at every stage, from the ancient, oppressive gloominess of Castle Dracula to the dark streets of unsuspecting London at night to the cursed seashore where the Demeter washed up, piloted by a dead man's hand. Stoker makes it easy for the reader to visualize everything.
A dark, bloody classic that creaks a bit with age and with the style of the author, but it's the grand-daddy of all vampire novels, so well worth reading (or listening to).
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