Based on Raymond McNally and Radu Florescu's book of the same name, which explores the historical Vlad the Impaler and his influence on the making of Bram Stoker's "Dracula." The film also makes a detour to cover information from Florescu's follow-up book "In Search of Frankenstein." While not mentioned by name, the alchemist referenced who probably inspired Mary Shelley to write "Frankenstein" was the notorious Konrad Dippel. Just as Vlad Tepes has now become essential to the vampire myth, Florescu's research has resulted in Dippel being incorporated into Frankenstein mythology in popular culture. See more »
Eerie, mostly well-constructed documentary about the history of the vampire legend
Sure, the theatrical version runs a little long--having been padded with mostly unrelated material concerning "Frankenstein" author Mary Shelley and dull, meandering footage from two Bela Lugosi films (one of them silent)--but until its final fifteen or twenty minutes, "In Search of Dracula" does not disappoint. Featuring narration by Christopher Lee and a creepy, atmospheric soundtrack (some of this music was later used in Stanley Kubrick's "The Shining"), the film covers a great deal of interesting territory. Apart from examining the mythology of the vampire in eastern Europe, "In Search" chronicles the life of Vlad Tepes (the fifteenth-century Romanian nobleman whose cruelty partly inspired Bram Stoker's "Dracula"), as well as the depiction of the vampire in literature and film. Christopher Lee appears as Vlad and as Stoker's fictional Count Dracula. Particularly unsettling is the segment which examines modern-day figures who have exhibited vampiric traits (like serial murderer Peter Kürten, the so-called 'Vampire of Dusseldorf'). In the early sixties a Jungian analyst published a study of one of his patients, a highly disturbed young man he called 'Bill'. Bill, who grew up in an orphanage, had dreams about drinking blood from the necks of children and occasionally cut his arms to drink his own blood, but was apparently unaware of the vampire myth. His analyst speculated, therefore, that vampirism might be one of the archetypes Carl Jung spoke of...and that the concept of the vampire might somehow have risen from Bill's unconscious to take possession of him. Overall, an engrossing and worthwhile film. I found it much more interesting than simply watching Lugosi or Lee or Gary Oldman slinking around in funny costumes and biting hysterical Victorian women for an hour and a half.
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