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For the 1960 Hammer film, see The Brides of Dracula (film)

The Brides of Dracula are fictional characters in Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula. They are three seductive female vampires who live with Count Dracula in his castle in Transylvania, where he provides them with victims to feed upon, mainly infants and children.

Like Dracula, they are living dead vampires repulsed by religious objects. In chapter three of the novel, two are described as dark haired and the other as blonde, though in some film adaptations one is red-headed, one is blonde, and one is brunette. The Brides of Dracula usually meet their ends whether it be by a stake in the heart, decapitation, or sunlight.

Contents

Novel

Although the three vampire women in Dracula are popularly referred to as the "Brides of Dracula", they are never referred to as such in the novel; whether they are married to Dracula or not is never mentioned. The two dark-haired women, however, are described by Jonathan Harker to have "high aquiline noses, like the Count's". It has been suggested from this that it may have been Stoker's intent that these two are Dracula's daughters, extending the sexuality metaphor of vampirism to incest.[1]

Harker and Abraham Van Helsing are both attracted to and repulsed by them. Jonathan encounters them when he wanders the castle during Dracula's absence and enters a luxurious salon where the brides are kept. The blonde vampire is usually depicted as the "leader" of the three, and Dracula's favorite, as one of the brunettes describes in their encounter with Jonathan, "Yours is the right to begin", meaning that the blonde has first bite of any of their victims. The brides are powerful in their own right, but live in fear of Dracula, although the blonde vampire can be seen defying him when she demands to feed upon Jonathan.

Sometime near the beginning of the novel, they visit Harker and try to feed on him. Harker yields to their seduction but is saved by Dracula, who drives them back, though he leaves Harker to the brides when he heads for England after Harker finishes their business deal. Harker manages to escape the castle.

Near the end of the novel, they attack a camp consisting of Van Helsing and Mina Harker, beckoning the latter to join them and referring to her as their "sister". Van Helsing wards them off, but the brides manage to kill their horses. Van Helsing subsequently goes to Dracula's castle and, after locating their tombs, destroys them by staking and decapitating them.

In media

Although missing from the silent film Nosferatu, the Brides made silent appearances in the 1931 film Dracula and the Spanish language Drácula. (The latter film, shot simultaneously on the same sets at night with a separate cast and crew, depicts the brides as more obviously sexual than in the more chaste English-language version.) Likewise the three brides were present but silent in the Jack Palance television adaptation in which they succeed in feeding on and turning Harker into a vampire. They had lines in the 1977 BBC production entitled Count Dracula.

Commonly all three brides appear, though some adaptations (such as the 1995 spoof Dracula: Dead and Loving It) show fewer than three. They are usually depicted as extremely beautiful and seductive, dressed in flowing nightgowns and behaving in a sexually aggressive manner.

In Francis Ford Coppola's 1992 film Bram Stoker's Dracula, the brides were played by Monica Bellucci, Michaela Bercu and Florina Kendrick. They lure Jonathan Harker to a secluded bedchamber in Dracula's castle before sexually abusing him in an erotic frenzy. When Dracula voyages to England to seduce Mina, his brides are charged with keeping Harker prisoner by regularly draining his blood to maintain an anaemic stupor. He eventually escapes them, and they are not seen again until a confrontation with Van Helsing in the Carpathian mountains, after which he beheads them. Bellucci, Bercu and Kendrick's dialogue was entirely in Romanian, and Kendrick reportedly helped her co-stars to speak her native tongue correctly.

While the Brides usually remain nameless, they are called Marishka, Aleera, and Verona (played by actresses Josie Maran, Elena Anaya and Silvia Colloca, respectively) in the 2004 film Van Helsing. For the first time, the Brides are more than brief background, becoming important minions of Dracula and powerful combatants.

The concept was also present in the 1987 horror comedy The Monster Squad, where Dracula has abducted three young women (Mary Albee, Joan-Carrol Baron, and Julie Merrill) and turns them into his vampire brides. In Dracula 2000, the Brides are composed of Dracula victims Solina (Jennifer Esposito), Valarie Sharpe (Jeri Ryan), and Lucy Westenrman (Colleen Fitzpatrick). Each bride is destroyed in the end.

The Brides also appeared in the Buffy The Vampire Slayer in the Season 5 premier "Buffy vs. Dracula". They were renamed as "The Three Sisters." As Buffy fights Dracula, the Brides work to "distract" Giles from coming to her aid. The are credited as "Vampire Girls" and played by Marita Schaub, Leslee Jean Matta, and Jennifer Slimko.

They also appear in the French Canadian musical Dracula - Entre l'amour et la mort played by Rita Tabbakh, Elyzabeth Diaga, Brigitte Marchand, and Casiopée.

In literature

In Fangland, author John Marks re-imagines the Brides of Dracula as Greek brothers.

In the alternate history novel Anno Dracula, Dracula becomes dominant in Britain and eventually weds Queen Victoria, becoming Prince consort and Lord Protector. Despite being married to Victoria he keeps his retinue of brides, who despise the now-powerless and chained Victoria. It is mentioned that one of the brides is Barbara of Celje.

In the first sequel, The Bloody Red Baron, the Brides of Dracula are mentioned as including Mata Hari, Lady Marikova (from the novel The House of Dracula by Ronald Chetwynd-Hayes), Lola-Lola (from the film The Blue Angel), Sadie Thompson, Lemora, and the Baron Meinster (from the film The Brides of Dracula).

In the beginning of the second sequel, Dracula Cha Cha Cha, a list of Dracula's official brides is given. They are: Elisabeta of Transylvania (from Bram Stoker's Dracula), 1448–1462; Ilona Szilagy (Vlad III's real-life second wife), 1466–1476; Marguerite Chopin of Courtempierre (from Vampyr), 1709–1711; Queen Victoria, 1886–1888; and Sari Gábor, 1948-1949. The plot surrounds Dracula's engagement to Princess Asa Vajda (from Black Sunday).

Chelsea Quinn Yarbro has written a trilogy called Sisters of the Night, with each book featuring the story of one of brides: Kelene: The Angry Angel (1998), Fenice: The Soul of an Angel (1999) and Zhameni: The Angel of Death (unpublished).[2]

In The Diaries of the Family Dracul by Jeanne Kalogridis, the Brides of Dracula are actually his descendant (commonly believed to be his niece) Zsuzsanna Tsepesh, the bloodthirsty Hungarian noblewoman Elisabeth Bathory, and Dunya, a Transylvanian servant of Russian and Romanian descent.

References

  1. ^ Jan B. Gordon's "The Transparency of Dracula", in Bram Stoker's Dracula: Sucking Through the Century, 1897-1997, edited by Carol Margaret Davison.
  2. ^ http://www.chelseaquinnyarbro.net/biblio_alpha.html

External links








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