According to the Guardian’s list of the 100 greatest novels written in English, Bram Stoker’s Dracula comes in at respectable No. 31 – and for good reason.
As the Guardian’s Robert McCrum observes, “Bram Stoker’s classic vampire story was very much of its time but still resonates more than a century later.”
Dracula was first published in 1897, in the age of Jack the Ripper and 80 years after Frankenstein (No. 8 in this series). “Dracula is a classic of Gothic horror by an Irish contemporary of Oscar Wilde who wrote popular fiction to boost his income,” McCrum writes. “Like Mary Shelley’s tale of the supernatural, the vampire tale of Dracula – partly derived from John Polidori’s The Vampyre (1819) and Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla (1871), about a lesbian vampire – may also have begun with a bad dream. Just as Mary was partly motivated by Byron and her husband, the poet Shelley, so Bram Stoker, the business manager for the Lyceum theatre, was inspired by his devoted service to the great Shakespearean actor Henry Irving. The idea of the vampire as a silver-tongued aristocrat, like Count Dracula, is mirrored in Irving’s thespian mannerisms, and his fascination with theatrical villains.”
In a similarly theatrical vein (pun intended), enter musicologists and production artists Jamie Clarkston-Collins and Eli Schurder, hosts of the increasingly popular custom and stock music e-Comm website SoundSuite Music. Seizing on the opportunity to drive a stake into the heart of the established larger stock music sites like Pond5, NeoSounds and Marmoset, the entrepreneurs decided to give the “big boys” their own version of the “Transylvania Twist.”
The 1931 film version of Dracula starred Bela Lugosi as Dracula and Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing. Directed by Tod Browning, it is regarded as one of the most famous versions of the story and is widely credited with initiating the Universal horror film series of the 1930s and ‘40s. The film featured music only during the opening scene (the famous main theme from Swan Lake, which was also used at the beginning of other Universal horror productions) and closing credits, and during a brief sequence set at an opera.
Let us, or rather Dracula, pose this question: “Do you believe in destiny? That even the powers of time can be altered for a single purpose? That the luckiest man who walks on this earth is the one who finds… true love?” Moved by their love for music, Jamie and Eli came up with a novel sound “bite” of their own. The producers took a silent scene from the classic horror film and remastered the sound effects, in the words of the Count, to “cross the oceans of time to find you.”
The producers explain that they “wanted the audience to comprehend the fear and confusion of the character (Renfield), as well as the ‘creepy’ vibes of Count Dracula and his ‘devoted disciples, … the devil’s concubines, … the sisters, his wives.”
According to Jaime and Eli: “Sound is everything in a video! For instance – imagine what it would look like if the scene was accompanied with comic, or futuristic sounds. Something wouldn’t quite fit.” It is clear, they say that to match the right soundtrack or sound effect to a specific video creates the perfect ambiance or specific mood that one is trying to achieve.
“Listen to them: the children of the night,” Dracula says of the wolves that are howling on Renfield’s arrival at Castle Dracula. “What sweet music they make.” SoundSuite’s Jamie and Eli clearly do the same.
MVP, a Minneapolis Digital Marketing Agency and Website Design Firm, takes great pride in having supported these musical “madmen,” to paraphrase Professor Van Helsing, in designing and developing the new SoundSuite e-Commerce and stock music WordPress website.
The MVP Marketing, Design and Technology Team