What Dracula Shows Us About Evil

What Dracula Shows Us About Evil

A classic horror film and what it shows us today
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Do villains always have to be lame? I wondered as the sun went down outside my dormitory window.

I had just finished an interesting conversation with another writer about evil.

More specifically, we talked about writing dark stories that still emphasized goodness.

We didn’t reach any conclusions, but at one point my friend commented one possible solution was to always make the villains pitiful, characters no one could admire.

I wasn’t sure that I liked that solution.

About three months later, the sun slowly went down outside a different window, at my home in Colorado.

Halloween was coming up, so I had decided to watch some of Universal’s classic monster movies in the weeks leading up to it.

Little did I know that watching “Dracula” would help answer my question.

People have written many things about the 1931 movie “Dracula.”

People have discussed its influence on later Universal horror films, described it as the first talking supernatural thriller ever, and mentioned how it defined Americans’ view of vampires.

What less people mention is how the movie shows evil can be very seductive.

Granted, Bela Lugosi’s Dracula doesn’t seem sexy by today’s standards (although he certainly did at the time).

It takes a while to watch him onscreen without thinking of the Sesame Street Count and other parodies.

But when you see his performance the way 1930’s audiences did, you discover something interesting: Lugosi’s Dracula actually has charm.

When he’s around would-be victims, he acts like an eccentric foreigner and genuinely seems harmless. If you hadn’t seen him kill several people, you’d think he’s the quirky older gentlemen common in many BBC productions.

Even when he shows his true colors, he carries himself confidently like a prince.

As Stephen D. Greydanus and other writers have noted, Dracula meshes creepiness and charisma much like Hannibal Lecter does. Both characters are evil, but apparently unfazed with who their actions have made them into.

Just like Lecter, Dracula forces us to ask a hard question: Can anyone defeat this kind of evil?

Clearly, no one can reason with this guy. He’s gone very far down the path of evil and doesn’t plan on going back. He enjoys what he’s become.

Evil doesn’t physically make him sick or weak. Therefore, he can keep doing evil without stopping.

No one can just say “Keep away, he’s dangerous,” because it won’t make any difference. He has this magnetic quality, a charisma that almost no one can resist.

“Almost” turns out to be the key word, though.

Just when you think “Dracula” is a movie about evil so powerful no one can destroy it, we discover there’s more to the story.

It turns out Dracula has some limits.

He can’t attack people wearing crucifixes or wolfsbane.

He loses his cool when someone shows him a mirror.

He confronts a man who’s discovered his plan and tries to stop him, but the man proves strong enough to defy Dracula.

That scene in particular – where the man starts to give into Dracula’s power and then just manages to stop himself and stand his ground – really illustrates how powerful evil can be, but also that good can be stronger. It’s one of the best illustrations of fighting temptation that I’ve ever seen on film.

Throughout the 1931 movie, Dracula is clearly evil and clearly attractive. He may seem corny by today’s standards, but he certainly isn’t lame.

And yet, paired with this description of charming and seductive evil, are little moments that show evil doesn’t have to win.

In the end – as the heroes drive a spike through Dracula’s chest and the hero leads his lady out of an abandoned abbey, church bells tolling in the background – that’s what the movie Dracula is really about:

Evil is strong, but good can win the day.

Cover Image Credit: Wikimedia Commons

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What Your Hogwarts House Says About You

Get yourself sorted and find out where you belong in the world of witchcraft and wizardry.
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Sorting at Hogwarts is a big deal. Being sorted into a house is essentially being placed into a family while you are away from home learning about witchcraft and wizardry. Your house is made up of the people you will live with, go to classes with, play Quidditch with and everything in between. You basically spend 24/7 with them. Your Hogwarts house is your home away from home.

When you get sorted into a house, it is based on your personality traits. The people in your house are typically like-minded people who display the same characteristics as you.

When you’re a first year at Hogwarts, the minute you set foot in the castle you are swept into the Great Hall to have the ancient Sorting Hat placed on your head. This Sorting Hat decides which “family” you’ll be spending your seven years with.

For some, it is very obvious which house they will be in, due to certain personality traits they possess. For others, they may exemplify traits that fit a multitude of houses and are uncertain where they may end up.

To find out where you belong, you can take the official "Harry Potter" Sorting Hat quiz at Pottermore.com. For all you muggles out there, these are the characteristics that the houses possess and what your house says about you:

Gryffindor: The house of the brave, loyal, courageous, adventurous, daring and chivalrous. Those who stand up for others are typically Gryffindors. Brave-hearted is the most well-known Gryffindor characteristic, and Gryffindors are also known for having a lot of nerve.

Gryffindors are people who hold a multitude of qualities alongside the ones listed, making them a very well-rounded house. People who are Gryffindors are often people who could fit nicely into another house but choose to tell the sorting hat they want Gryffindor (there's that bravery). "Do what is right" is the motto Gryffindors go by.

Being a Gryffindor means that you're probably the adventurous and courageous friend, and you are usually known for doing what is right.

Ravenclaw: The house is known for their wisdom, intelligence, creativity, cleverness and knowledge. Those who value brains over brawn can be found here. Ravenclaws often tend to be quite quirky as well. "Do what is wise" is the motto they strive to follow.

Though Ravenclaws can be know-it-alls sometimes, they most likely do know what the wisest decision is.

If you are known for being the quirky friend, the smartest in the group or just great at making wise decisions, you're definitely a Ravenclaw.

Hufflepuff: This house values hard work, dedication, fair play, patience, and loyalty. Hufflepuff’s are known for being just and true. "Do what is nice" is their motto.

Hufflepuff is known as the “nice house” and believes strongly in sparing peoples feelings and being kind. This is not to say that Hufflepuffs aren't smart or courageous. Hufflepuffs just enjoy making others happy and tend to be more patient towards people.

If you ever find that you are too nice for your own good and cannot bear to hurt someone’s feelings, congratulations, you are a Hufflepuff.

Slytherin: This is the house of the cunning, prideful, resourceful, ambitious, intelligent, and determined. Slytherin's love to be in charge and crave leadership. "Do what is necessary" is the motto of this house.

Slytherin is a fairly well-rounded house, similar to the other houses. They are loyal to those that are loyal to them just as Gryffindors are and are intelligent as Ravenclaws.

Slytherin house as a whole is not evil, despite how many dark wizards come out of this house. That is merely based on the choices of those wizards (so if your friend is a Slytherin, don’t judge, it doesn’t mean they are mean people). Slytherins do, however, have a tendency to be arrogant or prideful. This is most likely due to the fact that everyone in Slytherin is exceedingly proud to be there.

What Hogwarts house you’re in says a lot about the person you are, the traits you possess and how you may act in some situations. But in the end, your house is really just your home that is always there for you. Always.


Cover Image Credit: Warner Bros Pictures

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10 Places From Movies And TV You Can Visit In Real Life

It's like stepping into Hollywood!

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I am constantly so enamored by the world of Hollywood and by going to visit places I have seen on screen. It's always such an unreal feeling to see where my favorite pieces of entertainment were shot. Here are 10 places from some of our favorite movies to see and visit in the real world!

The High School from "10 Things I Hate About You"

If you have ever wanted to dance on the same stairs as Heath Ledger or just stand in the same courtyard as Julia Stiles then you're in luck! Along the water in Tacoma, Washington, Stadium High School is located which was used both inside and out as the high school from one of the greatest teen movies of all time. This school is massive and so beautiful it's almost Hogwarts level stunning.

Pacific Coast Academy from  "Zoey 101"

Growing up I always dreamed about going to Pacific Coast Academy and being best friends with Jamie Lynn Spears and one of those things can (kinda) become a reality! Located in Malibu is a beautiful campus called Pepperdine University and it is the school they used to shoot scenes of Zoey and the gang at PCA. It is a christian based college and is prestigious in it's own right so if unlike me you are smart enough you can live out my dreams.

Central City Police Department from "The Flash"

Have you ever wanted to show up to Detective Joe West's place of work? Well head to the Vancouver City Hall in Vancouver, Canada and you will recognize your surroundings as the Central City Police Department! If you are lucky enough to show up on a filming day, you might even seen the man himself — Barry Allen.

Forks High School from The Twilight Saga

Personally, I am more invested in Bella and Jacob but for all my Team Edward ladies (and gentleman) you can visit the real-life school where Bella and Edward first met and their love blossomed into whatever obsessive weird thing it was. They also used the parking lot at this school to film the infamous scene where Edward saves Bella from getting crushed by a car. The school is called Kalama High School and is located in Kalama, Washington

Max And Dani's House from "Hocus Pocus"

Anyone with taste loves the movie Hocus Pocus — that's just facts! And I have some good news for fans of the film...you can visit the infamous Denison house! Located in none other than Salem, Massachusetts you will find this beautiful home where my favorite siblings once lived.

Silent Hill from "Silent Hill"

I will say before talking about this place that visiting it is EXTREMELY dangerous as just like in the movie the town as been burning from below for years and years. This small town is called Centralia and is located Pennsylvania and has a roaring population of about four people.

Hobbiton from "Lord Of The Rings"

I am personally not a fan of Lord of the Rings but I know a lot of people are so I wanted to include this super cool place on the list. If you ever find yourself in New Zealand you can visit Hobbinton from the movies and spend a day living like your favorite characters.

Platform 9 3/4 from the Harry Potter Series

Now this place will unfortunately be packed with muggles of course but you can find it at King's Cross Station in London! If you are anything like me and are obsessed with these magical movies this is a dream destination just don't run too hard at the wall if you're a muggle it will probably end in a concussion.

East High from the High School Musical Saga

Located in Salt Lake City Utah is the real life East High that was used in the filming of all three High School Musical movies. It is my absolute dream to attend this high school and walk the halls of the greatest high school of all time. They used both the outside and inside and the school so every inch of the school will remind you of these great teen movies.

Gus and Hazel's Bench from "The Fault in Our Stars" 

If you ever wanted to visit the site of this kiss between star crossed lovers you're in luck! Located along a canal in Amsterdam is a bench that is clearly marked by all the fault in our stars graffiti. Recreate this cute picture with your significant other and use a quote from the movie — then you'll just win in life.

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