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July 30, 2014

“Dracula Untold” and the Vampire Industry

— Posted by Bud Boomer



Movies featuring Dracula the character (as opposed to other vampires) have been pouring out of studios at the rate of more than one a year since at least 2000. October will see the release of Dracula Untold - roughly the 170th time the Count will have appeared on film since 1921’s Dracula’s Death.


The new movie is a look at the origins of the character, and how he changes from a husband and father to a monster, in an attempt to protect his young family. The trailer promises Lord Of The Rings-style battle scenes, spooky meetings with undead types who live in caves at the top of mountains, and plenty of Gothic darkness and moody lighting. Welshman Luke Evans (The Hobbit, Fast & Furious 6) will play Vlad “The Impaler” Tepes, eastern European prince, battler of the Ottoman Empire in the mid-15th century and real-life son of Vlad Dracul.



The Vampire Industry


What is it about Dracula and vampires in general that fascinates people enough to keep several industries ticking over? Vampires have been appearing in novels and poetry since the middle of the 18th century, well before Bram Stoker’s “Dracula” (1897). There are several video games based on the mythology of the undead, which is not a surprise but funnily enough have reported an increase in the number of vampirie slot games. And, as we’ve seen, the market for bloodsucker product shows no signs of slowing down.




Anne Rice, author of Interview With A Vampire (1976), is often credited with (if you will) injecting new blood into the genre. Suddenly the dramatic possibilities were expanded, as the character went from slightly stereotyped Transylvanian castle-dweller (see The Count from The Muppets) to sexy young person with a slight biting issue. When Goths became a thing in the 1980’s, teenagers’ flirtation with death-imagery had another place to go, as Dracula and his acolytes had become youthful bad boys (and girls).



Eternal Youth


It’s the eternal youth part of the myth that’s so attractive to young people, rather than the lying-in-a-coffin-and-melting-in-sunlight aspect. When you’re on the cusp of adulthood, the part of your life that’s just ahead of you can look pretty scary, and the idea of staying exactly as you are now has a certain appeal. Then there’s the sexiness angle - neck biting and bedroom-creeping might not be everyone’s idea of fun, but it has a theoretical appeal to many.


Fact vs Fiction




Dracula needs just enough humanity and vulnerability to succeed as a character. In Dracula Untold, we meet him as a young father with a successful marriage, and his transformation into something much darker comes as a result of his attempt to protect those around him. Though the real-life Vlad became known as one of the most prolific murderers Europe had produced, the movie will avoid that particular angle in favour of his doomed humanity. As Luke Evans recently told Shock Till You Drop, “that’s a whole different film…”



(Images courtesy of, wikipedia,





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