Sunday, October 2, 2011

Halloween Festival Of Lists: October 2: The TWO Sides Of Dracula: The Vampire And The Voivode

Review:  Dracula: The Vampire and the Voivode

Recently I watched a new documentary that delves into not only the history of one of the most influential horror novels in history and its Irish author, but dispels the myths and focuses on the truths of the "real" Dracula, Vlad Tepes.  Produced in association with the Transylvanian Society of Dracula, any fan of the original book will be intrigued by the film, which finally separates fact from fiction regarding the author's compelling anti-hero and the real-life historical count.

The first part of this 98 minute feature begins by examining the life of writer Bram Stoker.  After a sickly childhood in Dublin, he went on to become extremely interested in theater, writing reviews of plays and eventually moving on to short stories and non-fiction.  While a manager at the Lyceum Theatre in London, he wrote several other horror novels before his never-out-of-print vampiric tale.  Originally wanting to pen a play called The Un-Dead, the film details his exhaustive research into the folklore of Eastern Europe and vampires in general.  Though he'd never actually been to Romania, you'd never know by reading the novel.  Here, we get to travel to these places and see the inspirations for his work.  We also visit Dublin, London, Whitby, and other locations where Stoker lived out his days.

The second part of the documentary details the fascinating history of Vlad Tepes.  Voivode (Prince) of Wallachia (currently Romania), his far-reaching conquests and well documented reign of terror supposedly claimed tens of thousands of victims before his rule ended.  Journeying to modern-day Romania, this film takes us to castles and other haunts of the infamous Vlad the Impaler, ensuring us that the myths of the strange yet beautiful Carpathian mountains still have an unrelenting hold on this country's people. Until 1989, Dracula (and all other vampire literature) had been banned in Romania due to its communist regime.

Weaving these two subjects makes for an engrossing documentary, examining all the parts that came together as a whole to become a book outsold only by the Bible.  An appealing film for any fan of Dracula, Vlad the Impaler, or history in general. Available Tuesday, October 4, 2011


The Mike said...

I'm glad you explained that second word, because I was afraid you were insulting Dracs in some crazy way. :)

BTW, I'd like to add that your site's music hasn't surprised and scared me in quite some time, a fact which makes me increasingly proud.

James Gracey said...

This sounds like an interesting documentary, Chris. There's just something about Stoker's novel - and the history that surrounds it - that I find so compelling and ever-fascinating. It always really grabs my interest.

And it's so interesting that vampire/fantasy literature was banned in Romania until 1989! I did not know that.

Great write up.

Christine Hadden said...

The Mike: Yeah, I actually had never heard the word voivode before this DVD either. Those crazy Slavics and their weird vocab. Too easy to just say Prince or Ruler?

And I'm glad to hear you've finally braced yourself to face the music. Congrats ;)

James: Thanks, and I'm pretty much sure you'd LOVE this doc! Hope you get a chance to check it out. It's chock full of all those crazy trivia tidbits like the 'no Dracula books allowed!' - I learned quite a bit!

Really good stuff :)