ED- The Eerie Digest is always interested in those who write about stories close to our hearts. One such author is Charles E Butler, who has contributed his research on Dracula to our magazine. Eddie , where do you hail from?
CEB- I’m from the North Yorkshire city of Leeds in the UK.
ED- How are you so fascinated by the subject of Dracula?
CEB- I remember being in a hospital waiting room. I would have been about 6 years old and there were comics and magazines strewn across a table. Marvel had just begun a big onslaught into Britain with reprints of their silver age stories. I picked up a magazine titled Dracula Lives #2 and I read the tale as Dracula was revived by a servant pulling the stake from his heart. From that moment onwards I became a Dracula fan and a comic book fan almost immediately.
ED- Your research on this subject is extensive. How do you go about doing this and where do you seek this information?
CEB- I’m a big film enthusiast and own many books of all film genres. Horror movies being my favourite genre. I’ve ploughed through many works on the subject of Dracula, but came to the conclusion that first and foremost, I had to watch all the movies again, literally one by one. I found some amazing references that had been missed by many writers that I felt needed including. The book is an appreciation as opposed to a laboured catalogue of events that mirrored the times that the films were produced. The key ingredient is the reader’s own enthusiasm for the subject and to be able to sit back and enjoy it. But I did sweat to get all my dates correct, that above all, was the one thing I wanted to get right!
ED- Your present work includes many of the actors that have portrayed Dracula on film. Please tell our readers about this aspect of your writing.
CEB- I concentrate on my own ideas about the character of Dracula and what we all look for when we see a Dracula movie. I, personally, am very old school and believe that the Count should be handled as he is in Bram Stoker’s original work. He isn’t a great lover or a romantic fop as has been portrayed too many times. He’s not looking for a long lost love. Stoker’s Count would never admit to having lost one! He is a dangerous psychotic killer, who is also immortal, and exists solely on human blood. Out of the fourteen adaptations discussed in the book, I only credit four actors with giving a definitive realisation of Bram’s original character.
ED- You are also an accomplished artist and include many renderings of these actors who portray Dracula. How did you come about possessing this skill?
CEB- Thank you. Like everything I do, it is self-taught. Drawing the book as well as writing it gives it, to me, the ‘personal’ or ‘intimate’ nature suggested by the title. It was actually my brother who suggested that I draw the pictures. I was originally going to (over)use photographs.
ED- We also understand that you act, write, and direct local films and plays. Tell us all about these venues and the fan base that you generated from this.
CEB- I have been acting locally for almost twenty years and, true to form, I always seem to play the bad guy. I have worked on plays as diverse as ‘Romeo and Juliet’ to ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s nest‘. I directed ‘Harvey’ by Mary Chase and Tom Griffin’s ‘The Boys next door’. Both received very good press reviews locally. I’ve also acted in short dramas on ITV and BBC channels in the UK. More recently, I made some short films and this gave me the impetus to form my own company Su asti pictures. I make short films now and submit to festivals. The latest film “Dark Passions”, is a take on my own ideas about how vampires are portrayed and can be seen at the Vampire Film festival in New Orleans this coming Halloween.
CEB- I have a lot of ideas and will probably be thinking of carrying on in the vampire vein (pun intended). Because with the onslaught of television successes like Buffy, True Blood, and our very own Being Human, there are literally vampires everywhere, and I would like to write about that.
ED- In your upcoming book about Dracula and the movies that he has been portrayed in, have you reached any agreements with a publisher so that our readers can find it on their local bookshelves?
CEB- The manuscript is actually at a major American publishing house as I speak and I’m just waiting for that email or posted notification from them. Being a first time author writing non-fiction for a mass market has been hard for some publishers to take and the last three years have been a rollercoaster of a nightmare in terms of trying to find the right publisher.
ED- Would you also consider writing for The History Channel on the subject of your research? I am sure that your knowledge of this famous fictional character would be surely sought after.
CEB- I would be very honoured to write for them should the opportunity arise.
ED- Eddie, we want to thank you for your time and welcome you to our family of extraordinary writers. We have already received high praise on your writing and know that our readers eagerly look forward to seeing more of it and learning all about you. We will definitely spread the word on your talents and wish you much luck in all that you do.