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Count Dracula

Count Dracula is the character of darkness that frightened millions of people, taking the myth of vampire to an unprecedented level in modern arts. Dracula (also known as Nospheratu) sums our fears in a bloody supernatural vampire.

The Count Dracula first appears in literature in a novel written in 1897 by an Irish author - Bram Stoker, named Dracula, in which he is the famous vampire character.

Nobody knows why Bram Stoker chose this fifteenth century Romanian prince as a model for his fictional character. Some scholars have proposed that Stoker had a friendly relationship with a Hungarian professor from the University of Budapest, Arminius Vambery (Hermann Vamberger) , and it is likely that this man gave Stoker some information about Vlad Tepes Dracula. Moreover, the fact that Dr. Abraham Van Helsing mentions his "friend Arminius" in the 1897 novel as the source of his knowledge on Vlad seems to support this hypothesis.

It has to be mentioned that the only real link between the historical Dracula (1431-1476) and the modern literary myth of the vampire is in fact the 1897 novel; inspired by folkloric sources, historic references and some of his own life experiences Stoker created his disputed character. On the other hand, it is worth mentioning that Vlad Dracula's political detractors - mainly German Saxons - made use of the other meaning of the Romanian word "Dracul" - "Devil" - in order to blacken the prince's reputation.

There are not many similarities between the book character and the historical one. The only resemblance you can find is the thirst of blood. It is said that during the six-year reign of Vlad III ( 1456 - 1462 ), "Vlad the Impaler" he have killed from 20,000 to 40,000 European civilians (political rivals, criminals, and anyone else he considered "useless to humanity") and over 100,000 Turkish Muslims, mainly by using his favorite method of impaling them on a sharp pole.

Dracula's preferred method of torture and execution was impalement. For doing that, Dracula usually had a horse attached to each of the victim's legs and a sharpened stake was gradually forced into the body. To be sure that the victim wouldn’t die too rapidly from shock, the end of the stake (not being too sharp) was usually oiled. Normally the stake was inserted into the body through the buttocks and was often forced through the body until it emerged from the mouth. However, there were many instances where victims were impaled through other bodily orifices or through the abdomen or chest. Infants were sometimes impaled on the stake forced through their mothers' chests. The records indicate that victims were sometimes impaled so that they hung upside down on the stake and that Dracula often had the stakes arranged in various geometric patterns (the most common pattern was a ring of concentric circles).

But the impalement wasn’t his only method of torture. The list of tortures employed by this cruel prince reads like an inventory of hell's tools: nails in heads, cutting off of limbs, blinding, strangulation, burning, cutting off of noses and ears, scalping, skinning, exposure to the elements or to wild animals and boiling alive, mutilation of sexual organs (especially in the case of women). It seems that Dracula has been particularly concerned with female chastity. Maidens who lost their virginity, adulterous wives and unchaste widows were all targets of Dracula's cruelty. Such women often had their sexual organs cut out or their breasts cut off. They were also often impaled through the vagina on red-hot stakes that were forced through the body until they emerged from the mouth. One report tells of the execution of an unfaithful wife. Dracula had the woman's breasts cut off, and then she was skinned and impaled in a square in Tirgoviste with her skin lying on a nearby table.

More about: Vlad the Impaler

Dracula Movies

In 1920 , the first movie Dracula , based on the Bram Stoker's novel with the similar name, is made in Russia. Unfortunately, no copies have survived. The second movie named Dracula , is produced in 1921 in Hungary, and in 1922 appears the third attempt to film Dracula (actually named Nosferatu, eine Symphonie des Grauens aka Terror of Dracula ), which is a silent movie produced by Prana Films in Germany and directed by expressionist F. W. Murnau.

The movie took the story of Dracula and set it in Transylvania and Germany . In the story, Dracula's role was changed to that of Count Orlok, one of the most hideous versions of the vampire ever to be created for a movie, played by Max Schreck (whose name literally means 'fright').

In 1931 Dracula became known world wide thanks to the movie Dracula produced by Universal Studios, based on the Bram Stoker's novel with similar name. after the movie, people tried to find out who was the real Dracula, so many books and documentaries appeared in order to give more information about the person who inspired the character of Dracula from the novel: Vlad Tepes.

More about: Dracula Movies

Count Dracula's supernatural powers:

  • he is potentially immortal
  • he drinks the blood of others to survive
  • he has the strength of twenty men
  • he can shape-shift into the form of a wolf or a bat
  • he can appear as mist or elemental dust
  • he has no reflection in a mirror
  • he casts no shadow
  • he has hypnotic power over his victims
  • he can turn victims into vampires

Count Dracula's limitations:

  • he may not enter a household unless he is invited in
  • he loses his supernatural powers during daylight hours
  • he must sleep on the soil of his native land
  • he can cross running water only at the slack or the flood of the tide
  • he is repelled by garlic and holy symbols (crucifix, holy water)
  • he can be destroyed by driving a stake through his heart and decapitating him

Dracula was a source of inspiration for many literary tributes or parodies, such as Stephen King's Salem's Lot, Kim Newman's Anno Dracula, Anne Rice's Interview with the Vampire, Elizabeth Kostova's The Historian, Fred Saberhagen's The Dracula Tape, Wendy Swanscombe's erotic parody Vamp, and Dan Simmons's Children of the Night.

Dracula has been a character in many comic books such as Giant-Size Dracula, Requiem for Dracula, Savage Return of Dracula, all published by Marvel, but the most famous one is the Marvel comic Tomb of Dracula written primarily by Marv Wolfman and drawn by Gene Colan for Marvel Comics in the 1970s. Dracula also appeared in an animated movie called The Batman vs. Dracula pitting the two characters against one another, which was aired on Cartoon Network and has been released on DVD.

More About: Dracula Books

Article by: Dracula.cc Research Team
Last update: 6 September 2006

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