“I want you to believe…to believe in things that you cannot,” spoke Van Helsing, the enemy of Dracula. Of course, it might be a little difficult to believe that there are really blood-drinking, bat-converting, nocturnal, and undead monsters walking among us. Or even in the possibility that someone can truly be immortal.
However, Bram Stoker’s 1897 Dracula would beg to differ. Immortality most definitely exists — just in the form of stories, rather than monsters.
There is no denying the immortality of Dracula. No matter how many years pass, this particular bloodsucker continually finds himself popping up in all sorts of movies, books, songs: you name it.
But where did this creepy-cool guy even come from? The original novel is said to be inspired by classic vampiric folklore, like the “nosferatu”: an archaic Romanian word translating to “undead” or “vampire.” Some also speculate that the novel was influenced by Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 vampire novel, Carmilla. Yet the character of Count Dracula himself is often thought to be based upon a 15th-century governor of Romania: Vlad the Impaler.
Vlad the Impaler was also known as Vlad III and even —get this— Vlad Dracula. Vlad was known for his excessively brutal acts of violence. According to some records, he ordered the impaling of people in his prisons to “assist them on their way to heaven,” during his time in power (hence, the name). Vlad III’s “thirst for blood” can easily be recognized in Count Dracula’s literal thirst for blood.
The figure of Dracula in pop culture, however, has come a very long way since the days of poor, old Vlad. There are innumerable adaptations of Dracula, especially in writing and film. Some examples of the most popular include the iconic Universal Studios 1931 Dracula film, Bram Stoker’s Dracula of 1992, the Nosferatu movie released in 1922, and The Horror of Dracula from 1958.
Dracula has obviously had a lot of influence in pop culture, but what is it exactly that makes Dracula’s story so powerful, so popular, and so pivotal?
At the end of the day, he was necessary in order to create the beautiful world of vampire fiction that is so deeply adored, even today. Dracula is well-loved by many, and the sheer influence it has on people and their art can itself be a testament to its significance.
And of course, there is plenty more in store for the future of everyone’s favorite, fanged Count. Several upcoming projects will be arriving this year, including Chloe Zhao’s Sci-Fi/Western Dracula movie (more information to be announced), The Last Voyage of Demeter film coming August 11, 2023, and the highly anticipated Renfield — coming April 14th of this year.
Renfield is a comedy-horror film centered around the pitiful R.M. Renfield, the troubled assistant to Count Dracula. Renfield is a man deranged with the promise of immortality in exchange for his services. The plot of this film follows Renfield as he tries to leave his line of work — and of course, the mayhem he faces when Dracula learns of his decision.
Even though that’s all that is on the books for now, there will be, without a doubt, plenty more Dracula to come. Like the character himself, Dracula’s stories will never die. They will live on and on, continuing to haunt us for many years to come.
At the darkest of dusks, the pages of his novels will always flap open like bat wings, ready to spook a new generation. Every Halloween night, kids will drip bloody ketchup down the crooks of their mouths in his honor. And every year or so, a new film or novel will be released with some interesting twist on the original story.
It will never matter how much time passes —
Dracula will always be immortal.