When you think of Dracula, who do you imagine? Probably Bela Lugosi, the actor who made vampires synonymous with slick black hair and a widow's peak. Norman Bates will forever be Anthony Perkins in my head; Jack Torrance is Jack Nicholson and Annie Wilkes is Kathy Bates. But that is not exactly how Bram Stoker, Robert Bloch, and Stephen King imagined their characters.
Brian Joseph Davis is a journalist who has made a hobby out of creating composite sketches for famous literary figures by using law enforcement compositing programs. For example, his imagining of Dracula, as described by Stoker, is a long way from the sexy, mysterious vampires that traditionally creep across the silver screen. Take a look at some of the sketches, plus the written passages the images were based on.
Count Dracula as described by Bram Stoker in Dracula:
A tall old man, clean shaven save for a long white moustache…His face was a strong, a very strong, aquiline, with high bridge of the thin nose and peculiarly arched nostrils, with lofty domed forehead…His eyebrows were very massive, almost meeting over the nose, and with bushy hair that seemed to curl in its own profusion. The mouth, so far as I could see it under the heavy moustache, was fixed and rather cruel-looking…For the rest, his ears were pale, and at the tops extremely pointed. The chin was broad and strong, and the cheeks firm though thin…The blue eyes transformed with fury.
Norman Bates as described by Robert Bloch in Psycho:
The light shone down on his plump face, reflected from his rimless glasses, bathed the pinkness of his scalp beneath the thinning sandy hair as he bent his head to resume reading…"Looking for a room?" Mary made up her mind very quickly, once she saw the fat, bespectacled face and heard the soft, hesitant voice. There wouldn’t be any trouble…The puckered lips were beginning to tremble…The eyes behind the fat man’s glasses seemed vacant.
Annie Wilkes as described by Stephen King in Misery
Her body was big but not generous…Her hair like some battered helmet…Her hair fungus-frowzy around her face…Grinning rictus…He thought Misery was a wonderful name for a pig. He remembered how she had imitated it, the way her upper lip had wrinkled toward her nose, how her cheeks had seemed to flatten…The impervious prow of her face…If he had been a farmer observing a sky which looked the way Annie’s face looked right now, he would have at once gone to collect his family and herd them into the storm cellar. Her brow was too white. Her nostrils flared regularly, like the nostrils of an animal scenting fire…That stony, obdurate look covered her face like a mask…Only her eyes, those tarnished dimes, were fully alive under the shelf of her brow.
Jack Torrance as described by Stephen King in The Shining:
Ullman folded his neat little hands on the desk blotter and looked directly at Jack, a small, balding man in a banker’s suit and a quiet gray tie… Danny’s face, so much like his own had been, his eyes had been light blue while Danny’s were cloudy gray, but the lips still made a bow and the complexion was fair…His eyes were far away and cloudy. His hair hanging in his eyes, like some heavy animal. A large dog… or a lion.
For many, many more composites, as well as info on the project, visit The Composites Tumblr page.