Sordid Spheres!

Sphere Horror In The Seventies

Raymond Rudorff – The Dracula Archives

Posted by demonik on August 5, 2007

Raymond Rudorff – The Dracula Archives ( Sphere, 1973)

Rudorff - Dracula Archives

“Non-fiction”? Well, according to the Pocket edition (also 1973) it is.

The novel – a prequel to Dracula – begins with The Last Confession of Franz Von Langenfels, September 1876. Three hedonistic students – Karl, Reinhold and Franz himself – spend the night in the ruins of the reputedly haunted Castle Cjesthe, once home to Countess Bathory. After a brief history of her life and crimes, Reinhold gives them a guided tour of her torture chamber, at the foot of which they discover a secret room containing a stone sarcophagus. The trio are stupid enough to loot the tomb whereupon supernatural vengeance takes a hand. Karl is crushed and spiked inside an iron maiden while Franz flees, still wearing the Countess’s ring which proves impossible to remove. Elizabeth pursues him to his doom. “I know our intrusion into the vaults of the castle and our ghastly violation of the secrets of the tomb have released her monstrous spirit from its confinement.” A cutting from a local newspaper, dated September 24th, tells of his subsequent suicide.

3 Responses to “Raymond Rudorff – The Dracula Archives”

  1. Paul said

    I enjoyed your brief synopsis. I purchased this book when it was first released back in 1973. It was about that time I also bought the hard cover editions of In Search of Dracula and The Truth About Dracula. I remember this book being categorized as “non-fiction,” but it was obvious that it was a very good piece of fiction. I read the entire book, but the only thing I remember is the opening story that you describe about the three students invading Elisabeth Bathory’s tomb. The part where they open the coffin to find she had been buried alive was almost a direct steal from Roger Corman’s movie “The Pit and the Pendulum.” Not long after I had finished the book, I “loaned” it to a cousin, along with a great short story collection edited by Peter Haining titled “The Ghouls.” Unfortunate both books were lost and I never replaced them. One side note: instead of a beautiful blonde showing a fang, I remember the cover of my book having a painting of Dracula. It was a cross between Bela Lugosi and Christopher Lee.

  2. Ab Halim said

    Just finished reading the book (again) this afternoon. I first read it in 1982 when I was in secondary school. The last few pages of the book where everything was revealed especially the face to face encounter between Fuller and Stephen, and the terrible words spoken by Stephen – still clinging fresh in my mind all these years. Last year I ordered the book from Abebooks to read it again.

    Yet there are a few unanswered questions:
    1 – how did Stephen become a vampire?
    2 – it was said that Stephen sold the castle to an old man and later travel abroad. Who is this old man really – he claimed himself to be Stephen (YES; YOU WERE RIGHT.. I WAS STEPHEN…)
    3 – if Stephen and the old vampire were one and the same, how could he be so old?

    Anyone who read the book and still remember?

  3. Eugene Bentley said

    One interpretation is that Dracula was revived by Stephen’s soul through some sort of Black sorcery. At the end the question from the “unknown hand” was what happened to Stephen’s body? The fact that the book doesn’t tell you everything is pretty brilliant. It gets one to ponder the story as in Mary Shelley’s “Frankenstein”. It isn’t known how the monster was brought to life.

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