Tuesday 16 September 2014

The Universal Appeal of Vampires

Having visited das Kino some four or so times recently, I've seen that Dracula Untold advert a few times.

Parts of it seemed appealing briefly, but parts were perhaps the opposite. Not perhaps.

Epic, army-fighting vampires aren't really my scene. They're the scene of other people.

Maybe it's just that I've read Dracula, or that I've read Dracula and have a reading comprehension level >= a 12 year old, but Captain Bat-Fist and Bram's count can't really be the same guy.

But, that's okay, on account of it's not meant to be. The Dracula of which there is going to be this untelling is actually the Universal Monsters Dracula, and not Bram Stoker's Dracula.

Is there a difference?

Yes. There is a difference.

Compare the character as he appears in Universal's Van Helsing (the one with Wolverine) to the one in Francis Ford Coppola's Bram Stoker's Dracula.

See what I'm talking about?

Knowing this, it's easy to see the appeal of going a bit bat-shit, and I'm honestly surprised that they aren't going full Captain Drac Sparrow all over our faces. Cheers to whatever it is that passes for restraint and subtlety over at Universal.

I've made clear a certain degree of vampire snobbery in posts past, but I've also been a little 'live and let unlive' on the matter. Regardless of how you choose to cast me in this I'm open to people doing what they feel they need to on the vampire front, but it doesn't create some sort of obligation on my behalf to participate.

I am totally free to do my own shit. I could make a sandwich. That is probably going to happen. Oh, my goodness, is that going to happen. It really, really is.

This is the sandwich:

And this is the Dracula Untold advert:

I guess the bit that made me briefly excited (prior to the arrival of the giant bat fist) was the line,

Sometimes the world doesn't need another hero. Sometimes what it needs is a monster.

That and Lorde's cover of the Tears for Fears classic, 'Everybody wants to rule the world'. The line though sucked me right in, and for a moment I was expecting something else.

With the recent news-cycles obsessed with religious conflict, civil unrest, and terrorism it would seem like the perfect time to take advantage of the existing fears and cultural shorthands to make a film about the supernatural reimagining of a guy whose life was defined by those very things.

Imagine a Dracula caught in the shifting hands of faith, who wages a campaign of terror against an invading army, tearing away at their morale and sanity, while justifying his tactics to the homeland he is trying to unite. A Dracula who is finally driven by nationalism, grief, and desperation not only to the supernatural darkness of vampirism, but also to the very human darkness that made him the dark prince of medieval psychological warfare.

A film about a man who while trying to be a hero, pushes way past the extremes of that concept and becomes both a literal and figurative monster.

A movie that would be dark. Like, crazy dark. A character so lost in the darkness that he can't possibly see a way back. There is no redemption. The well is too deep.

All we are left with is the knowledge of the man he used to be and the fate that awaits the broken, twisted creature of obsession that he will become.

Imagine that film.

That's what I thought we were getting.

I know that there was that Dracula: The Dark Prince thing, and that Vlad Tepes thing that are both kind of that, but they aren't really what I'm talking about.

 It's the cat-people thing all over again.

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