Butler also suggests that using newspaper clippings and letters as a part of the story is a technique that Stoker stole from Wilkie Collins' ghost story, The Woman in White.
Before he even gets to the movie reviews, Butler gives us a brief analysis of each of the characters. Again, thanks to the author, I've got another chore to add to my list – reread Dracula and look for all the things I missed the first time around!
It never occurred to me that the Count and Van Helsing are the only two characters who are actually physically described in the book. Everyone else is, for the most part, left to our own imagination. For example, we know that Jonathan Harker is visiting the Count because of a business deal but we have no idea what he really looks like.
The same can be said for Renfield, a character who appears in all of the different movie versions but one who isn't ever really defined at all. In some cases, we get the impression he was Harker's predecessor. In others, he may have been a servant of the Count. In any case, Butler chalks Renfield's obscurity up to Stoker's poor writing ability and tendency to easily lose focus on his story.
Mina and Lucy, the two female characters, get no definition either, but Butler points out, throughout his film reviews, that Mina was a dark, twisted character, and Lucy was just a little promiscuous for her time. I'm definitely going to have to go back to the movies for this one. I don't remember that about either of these women characters. But then, I was only 10 when I saw the original Dracula movie, and I was more concerned about how to kill a vampire – just in case there was one hiding under my bed that night.
Unfortunately, when I picture Mina and Lucy, I picture Winona Ryder as Mina and, while I know there was a Lucy in that particular version of the movie, I can't picture her at all. So yes, I'm anxious to get back to the original Dracula movie to see if I can match what I see to Butler's rendition in his book.