‘Count Dracula’ by Woody Allen: Short Story Analysis
Woody Allen’s short story ‘Count Dracula’ appeared in his short story collection titled ‘Getting Even’ in the year 1971. This short story describes a rather comical version of the Count when he accidentally gets caught in broad daylight at his friend’s house. The first paragraph of the story reads like a general idea that we have of the Count. Certain descriptions in the first paragraph are correctly associated with the literary facts of Count Dracula in Bram Stoker’s classic tale Dracula. The rest of the story is a spoof on the intrinsic part of the Count’s existence: he cannot venture out of his coffin during the day as he will burn instantly and turn into ashes. This is not at all a fact from Stoker’s text, but Hollywood has given this idea about vampires a lot of credence. ‘Count Dracula’ is an easy-to-understand spoof on the way Count Dracula gets tricked into coming out of his coffin during a solar eclipse. He immediately turns into a bat and goes to the house of a baker and his wife whom he has recently befriended. They inform him he is seven hours early for the dinner as it was only noon and the darkness in the sky was because of an eclipse. The Count invariably tries to get away and in Woody Allen’s usual comical writing talent locks himself up in the baker’s closet.
The story is written in a very simple manner; there is a set plot with a set plan that at the end of the story, Count Dracula turns into a heap of ashes. I want to draw your attention toward the factor of the eclipse. This is a little weak portion in the story because it seems highly impossible that the shrewd and mastermind of Count Dracula of Bram Stoker’s classic would not be aware of eclipses. His instincts, it is mentioned in the story, make him believe it is nighttime and so he leaves his coffin to seek out his victims. The Dracula we encounter in the Stoker book is well-bred and quite an intellectual. Certainly, this topic about eclipses is weak but is funny enough especially for a light read. There are many instances in the story of the Hollywood and popular belief about what Count Dracula is all about:
- He wears a red-lined cape.
- He is afraid of the daylight.
- Exposure to the sun’s rays will turn him to ashes.
These are the examples we encounter in popular culture about the Count which Woody Allen has made use of here in this short story. The humor side of the story is fair enough. There is a lot of hilarity in the way the poor Count tries to get away from the baker’s house before the solar eclipse has ended. He has only two minutes to do so as he arrived at the house at noon and two minutes after that, the eclipse was going to end. He is resigned to his fate and asks for the window shades to be drawn and then hides in the baker’s closet. The baker and his wife think the whole thing to be some sort of a very funny joke as the Count begs them not to open the door until the sun sets and it would be time for dinner. Their opinion changes when the mayor and his wife Katia come to the baker’s place. Then it gets very uncomfortable for everyone that such a noble and regal person as the Count would continue to keep himself shut up in a closet when guests were present. It is the mayor who finally, quite exasperated, opens the closet door to the Count’s doom. The main theme of the story is indeed the vampire’s position about sunlight which is as I have mentioned an incorrect idea about Stoker’s Dracula. In this short story the Count, though quite an ancient being, talks like a regular 1970s American which adds humor to the story. He calls the baker’s place a ‘joint’, says that he ‘blew it really badly’ by coming out of his castle during an eclipse, and says he must ‘buzz off’. All this reminds me of the very sleazy vampire TV show episodes and movies that came out a very great deal during the latter twentieth century. I guess Woody Allen added to the comedy of the time with his contribution to the Count. Other aspects of the Count and his history are indirectly mentioned in this story:
- The mention that he was a Romanian Count and that he had to go back quickly to his castle because of a scheduled meeting.
- The Count does not drink wine, but not because there is a problem with his liver as mentioned in the text.
- He resides in Transylvania. I think it would be wrong of me to say that he technically ‘lives’ in Transylvania so I am sticking with ‘resides’.
- He can change his form to that of a bat or a wolf. These are the most romanticized forms that are usually associated where the transformation of the Count is concerned.
- He tries to befriend his victims or seduces them before he feeds on them.
- He resides in his family crypt in a coffin.
The story is funny but in a slapstick way. I wish it could have been a bit longer and in detail so that the comedy angle could have been explored to perfection. Nevertheless, it is a good story as it entertains just like Woody Allen has entertained us through his writings. He has done a pleasant job in creating a real spoof on the world’s most dreaded vampire, Count Dracula. The story is not at all creepy or scary, unlike a story centralized on the Count which I recently analyzed written by Richard Matheson titled ‘Drink My Blood’; now that was also a simple story, but it was a very scary and unnerving tribute to the Count.
I have always maintained that I have enjoyed horror stories more than stories of other genres and any story related to vampires especially Count Dracula is something I like to read and analyze. If you are interested in more book reviews, short story analysis, and other bookish articles, you can visit my blog insaneowl.com. If you are interested in buying my books then you can visit my website fizapathanpublishing.us or fizapathan.com. Happy reading to you always!
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