First off, I swear I did NOT plan for Dracula to be #13. But it is awesome that it is.
I was 5 years old the first time I saw "Dracula" - the Bella Lugosi version. My mother denies it but I remember not only for Logusi's eyes but also because she left me alone at home for 15 minutes as she ran to the store to get something for dinner. It was on the "5pm Cinema". I wasn't supposed to watch it. But.
From that forth, watching Dracula movies has been something that had kept this secret air. Even though thirty five years later, no one will say anything about a fat nerd watching a classic vampire flick, but to me it's got this secret love affair thing. I love classic vampire stuff... The recent "cool" and sparkly vampires no, but the classics.
Then at the tender age of 16, I picked up the book to write a report on for school.
I had been watching movies and thought I knew the story.
If you never read the book, read it. Read it now. As usual, the book is much better. It is written as a series of journal entries written by the various characters. A style that must've been quite novel at the time. The pace is good and the "scary spooky" parts we see in the movies are completely different. The book felt a lot more like a psychological thriller than a "Horror movie".
I did not realize it at the time, but I could not help but notice it once it was pointed out to me. But for 1900, they use all types of modern equipment for the age: electric lamps, recording devices, etc.
I took from this book a feel for troupe-style storytelling. It also made me rethink what I thought I knew about the classics I thought I knew and never to assume one knows a plot. The many movies good and bad thought me how to play on a theme, using the same character and overall plot.
My review of classics, led me to pick up, a few month later, "Les Trois Mousquetaires", which also made this list.