How did Dracula become
the world’s most famous vampire? More than 100 years after
his creator was laid to rest, Dracula lives on as the most famous
vampire in history. But this Transylvanian noble, neither the first fictional vampire
nor the most popular of his time, may have remained buried
in obscurity if not for a twist of fate. Dracula’s first appearance was in
Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel of the same name. But that was far from the beginning
of vampire myths. Blood-sucking monsters had already been
part of folklore for at least 800 years. It was Slavic folklore that gave us
the word vampire, or “upir” in Old Russian. The term’s first known written mention
comes from the 11th century. Vampire lore in the region predated
Christianity’s arrival and persisted despite the church’s efforts
to eliminate pagan beliefs. Stories of vampires originated from
misinterpretations of diseases, such as rabies, and pellagra, and decomposition. In the case of the latter, gasses swelling
the body and blood oozing from the mouth could make a corpse look like
it had recently been alive and feeding. Vampires were describe as bloated
with overgrown teeth and nails. This gave rise to many rituals
intended to prevent the dead from rising, such as burying bodies with garlic
or poppyseeds, as well as having them staked, burned, or mutilated. Vampire lore remained a local phenomenon
until the 18th century when Serbia was caught in the struggle
between two great powers, the Habsburg Monarchy and Ottoman Empire. Austrian soldiers and government officials
observed and documented the strange local burial rituals, and their reports
became widely publicized. The resulting vampire hysteria
got so out of hand that in 1755, the Austrian Empress was forced
to dispatch her personal physician. He investigated and put an end
to the rumors by publishing a thorough,
scientific refutation. The panic subsided, but the vampire
had already taken root in Western Europe’s imagination, spawning works like “The Vampyre” in 1819, and Joseph Sheridan
Le Fanu’s “Carmilla” in 1872. This book would greatly influence a young
Irish drama critic named Bram Stoker. Stoker, who was born in Dublin in 1847, was famously bedridden with an unknown
illness until the age of seven. During that time,
his mother told him folktales and true tales of horror, including her experiences during
an outbreak of cholera in 1832. There, she described victims buried alive
in mass graves. Later in his life, Stoker went on to write
fantasy, romance, adventure stories, and, in 1897, “Dracula.” Although the book’s main villain
and namesake is thought to be based on the historical
figure of Vlad III Dracula, or Vlad the Impaler, the association is mostly just
that they share a name. Other elements and characters
were inspired directly and indirectly by various works in the Victorian Era, such as “The Mysterious Stranger.” The novel, upon release, was only
a moderate success in its day, nor was it even
Stoker’s most well-known work, mentioned only briefly in a 1912 obituary. But a critical copyright battle would
completely change Dracula’s fate, and catapult the character
into literary renown. In 1922, a German studio adapted the novel
into the now classic silent film “Nosferatu” without paying royalties. Despite changes in character names
and minor plot points, the parallels were obvious,
and the studio was sued into bankruptcy. To prevent more plagiarism attempts, Stoker’s widow decided
to establish copyright over the stage version of “Dracula” by approving a production
by family-friend Hamilton Deane. Although Deane’s adaptation made drastic
cuts to the story, it became a classic, thanks largely to Bela Lugosi’s
performance on Broadway. Lugosi would go on to star in
the 1931 film version by Universal, lending the character
many of his signature characteristics. And since then, Dracula has risen again
in countless adaptations, finding eternal life far beyond
the humble pages of his birth.

Author Since: Mar 11, 2019

  1. In the 1950’s, long after Lugosi’s death, 💀 another actor successfully played the role. Horror movie legend, Vincent Price.

  2. This guy was so cool to have as a professor. You could tell he was incredibly passionate about the topic. And I learned so much in his class

  3. 0:45 Slavic folklore

    the dark secrets of the Slavic culture are exposed

    Guess my vodka turned to blood


    vampire music with Slavic hardbass intensifies

  4. Actually it’s downright stated by Stoker himself in the book that count Dracula is Vlad The Impaler so this video got that wrong .

  5. Don't forget that people also buried the dead upside down in case they rise from the dead thinking that the risen dead would dig down ward burrowing even deeper into the ground

Related Post