October 1, 2014
Hey, you read the title. You’ve been warned.
I’m really annoyed by the marketing campaign for the upcoming movie Dracula Untold. It claims to be the true origin story of Dracula. Of course, it is all nonsense.
The character we know as Dracula is a fictional vampire created in 1897 by Bram Stoker. In the novel, which takes place in the 19th century, Dracula has been a vampire for a great many years, yet little is revealed about his past. Through the passage of time, the character has become linked to the real-life tyrant Vlad Tepes, also known as Vlad the Impaler, who took that name “Dracul” when he joined a satanic order in the 1400’s.
There is no basis for this link at all. None is provided in the book.
However, Bram Stoker became passingly familiar with the Tepes legend as he wrote his book and used a version of his name (“Dracul” became “Dracula,” and in fact a branch of the Tepes family uses a variation of that name) for his creation.
And that’s it.
In fact, the original name of the character was going to be the laughable “Count Wampyr.” (As you can guess, “wampyr” means “vampire” in German. So we were spared from Count Vampire.)
Now this movie comes along and I have nothing against it, other than it stars yet another pretty-boy, bare-chested, tormented vampire designed to appeal to the Twilight crowd. But this movie claims to provide the link between Vlad Tepes and the vampire Dracula.
I need to tell you right up front that this is fiction and they can do whatever they want. Dracula (character and book) are public domain and anyone can make any variation of the legend they so desire. I’m fine with that.
But Vlad Tepes is such an amazing historical personage (hey, he didn’t get the name The Impaler for nothing, he earned it) that any movie based on his life can skip anything having to do with vampires. This guy once invited his enemies to dinner to talk peace, then locked them in and set fire to the building. So he was a bad ass without having to wear fangs. He was as brutal and bloodthirsty as any fictional vampire, and he didn’t have to turn into a bat or sleep in a coffin.
I guess what it comes down to is that if the movie is a hit with the brain cell-challenged Twilight crowd, this is going to define the “origin” and “history” of Count Dracula for years to come. It is going to taint the legends of Vlad Tepes and muddy the Stoker tale. Dumb kids will think this shirtless angst-ridden dude is what Count Dracula was and is, when in fact, just for example, both the fictional Count and the real-life Impaler were much older men. And attractive? Read the section where Stoker described the Count’s hairy palms and unibrow.
I just don’t want this teenage fantasy to become Dracula. I want Dracula to stay Dracula.
If you stuck with me to the end, sorry for being so annoying.