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A Bloody and Biting Podcast for Autumn

The opinions expressed in this article are the writer’s own and do not reflect the views of Her Campus.
This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at Rutgers chapter.

As autumn sets in (despite the indecisive weather) and Halloween approaches, it’s time to start appreciating the spooky season. Monsters like werewolves, zombies, mummies, and witches have occupied the culture as Halloween classics, but one monster stands above them all: the vampire. Known for being undead nocturnal creatures that drank blood, vampire-adjacent folklore was found all over the world, becoming truly known as vampirism in southeastern Europe in the early 18th century.

As folklore goes, it eventually found itself being written down. Three of the most famous vampiric texts are John Polidori’s The Vampyre, Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s Carmilla, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. (Fun fact: Polidori’s Vampyre was written on the same night as Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, as part of a contest by Lord Byron.) Polidori popularized the romantic vampire, Le Fanu introduced the sexualized female vampire, and Stoker built upon the horror vampire. Stoker’s Dracula is likely the most well known and culturally impactful of the three foundational vampire texts, having been adapted into over ten different films and other media. Of said “other media,” one of the most dedicated out there is the Dracula Daily newsletter, and its corresponding podcast Re: Dracula. 

On May 3rd, 2022, the 125 year old novel Dracula by Bram Stoker began trending on Tumblr. Apparently, most of the user base had gotten an email that day that began with “Jonathan Harker’s Journal”—the opening line of Dracula. Dracula Daily is a Substack newsletter run by Matt Kirkland of Kirkland Studios, that chronologically emails the epistolary novel Dracula to your inbox. Each email contains a one-line summary from Matt, such as “somebody’s got an incredible skincare regimen,” and the letter written in the novel for that date. Running from May 3rd to November 7th, the spaced out nature of the newsletter forces the reader to feel how the characters would have felt when experiencing the events of Dracula. The project originally started in 2021, but 2022 saw Tumblr latch onto Dracula Daily, creating new fanart and theories about the classic story and spawning blogs such as @is-dracula-daily-today.The phenomenon, and parasocial relationship with Jonathan Harker, also spread to Twitter (now X), though not with the same hype.

Dracula Daily brought about appreciation for previously overlooked characters from the canon, such as Lord Arthur Godalming, Dr. John Seward, cowboy Quincey Harker, Mrs. Westenra, and communion wafers. People could see past the image of the “sexy vampire” from the past few decades, and realize just how terrifying of a villain Dracula himself is: how much he tormented Jonathan Harker, Mina Murray, and Lucy Westenra, and how Dr. Van Helsing is not the only hero of the story. In fact, there was enough love for the project that on September 15th, 2022, Kirkland announced that Dracula Daily would be publishing the novel in the chronological format, featuring art and reader responses. Published on September 19th, 2023, the hardcover edition of Dracula Daily is now available on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Target, and other bookstores. 

NPR: ‘Dracula Daily’ will deliver the classic book to your inbox in bite-sized chunks

An interview with Matt Kirkland

On March 18th, 2023, Bloody FM Productions dropped the trailer for Re: Dracula – the podcasted form of Dracula Daily. The project was originally announced on July 19th, 2022, and raised $26,688 from 703 supporters on Seed&Spark to greenlight the project on October 4th, 2022. Produced by Tal Minear, Stephen Indrisano, and Hannah Wright, Re: Dracula publishes an episode “Every time something happens to the characters… in as close to real time as it happens.” The voice cast includes Ben Galpin (Jonathan Harker), Isabel Adomakoh Young (Mina Murray), Beth Eyre (Lucy Westenra), David Ault (Arthur Holmwood), Jonathan Sims (John Seward), Giancarlo Herrera (Quincey Morris), Alan Burgon (Van Helsing), Felix Trench (Renfield), Karim Kronfli (Dracula), and more. The voice actors do an incredible job of conveying the emotions in Bram Stoker’s novel, and Tal Minear’s sound design creates an environment that makes you feel as if you have been transported to Transylvania, Whitby, and London. During stretches without updates, the Re: Dracula team takes the time to discuss and analyze the aspects of Dracula, as well as their creation process of the show through bonus episodes.

Re: Dracula Trailer on Spotify

The podcast will update live until November 7th (as will Dracula Daily), and October sees the horror tale truly pick up speed. With more frequent and longer episodes, October is truly the essence of Dracula – and the best time to binge listen! There will be over a hundred episodes for listeners to enjoy once the podcast is completed, so it’s best to start listening before it’s over. In addition, you get a community of people also following along the podcast, experiencing the characters fight against the most horrifying vampire of them all. Learn the true story of Jonathan Harker and Mina Murray, not Francis Ford Coppola’s butchered version in the overly horny and ill-named film Bram Stoker’s Dracula.

The Re: Dracula podcast is a faithful and heartfelt adaptation of the novel, and is perfectly apt for the spooky season. Similar to an audiobook, it allows you to feel exactly how the characters would have, but with more depth thanks to the variety of actors. Even if you’ve never been a podcast fan, this is a solid introduction to the experience that will likely help you enjoy at least some podcasts. Re: Dracula has a 5-star rating from 800+ reviews on Spotify, and it is available on all other podcasting services, so settle down, tune in, and enjoy classic literature like never before!

Keya Raval

Rutgers '26

Hi, I'm Keya! I'm a sophomore double majoring in political science and public relations, and I love consuming and creating media.