DEFINITION : Vampires are mythological or folkloric beings who subsist by feeding on the life essence (generally in the form of blood) of living creatures. In folkloric tales, vampires often visited loved ones and caused mischief or deaths in the
HISTORY : Vampiric entities have been recorded in many cultures and the "belief in vampires and bloodsucking demons is as old as man himself".
However, the term vampire was not popularized until the early 18th century, after an influx of vampire superstition into Western Europe from areas where vampire legends were frequent, such as the Balkans and Eastern Europe,.
This increased level of vampire superstition in Europe led to mass hysteria and in some cases resulted in corpses actually being staked and people being accused of vampirism
The charismatic and sophisticated vampire of modern fiction was born in 1819 with the publication of The Vampyre by John Polidori.It was the most influential vampire work of the early 19th century.
However, it is Bram Stoker's 1897 novel Dracula that is remembered
as the quintessential vampire novel and which provided the basis
of modern vampire fiction. Dracula drew on earlier mythologies of werewolves and similar imaginary demons and "was to voice the anxieties of an age", and the "fears of late Victorian patriarchy".
The success of this book spawned a distinctive vampire genre, still popular in the 21st century, with books, films, video games, and television shows. The vampire is adominant figure in the horror genre.
Vlad Dracula, later named Vlad the Impaler after his favourite form of torture, was a 15th century Romanian prince who ruled with an iron fist.
This infamous ruler controlled his subjects with such violence that he is now referred to as the bloodiest ruler in history .
THE REAL DRACULA
Vlad was born in Transylvania in 1430 or 1431. His father, the warrior Vlad Dracul, was a member of a secret society of knights called the order of the Dragon. This society was formed to fight and defeat the Turks, as well as secure the throne of Wallachia (a town located in present-day Romania). Young Vlad was nicknamed Dracula after his father. In Romanian, Dracul translates to ‘dragon’ or ‘devil,’ and the ‘a’ stands for ‘son of.’ So Dracula literally translates to ‘son of the dragon’ or ‘son of the devil.’ THE REAL DRACULA: VLAD THE IMPALER
In 1444 Dracul was travelling with Dracula and his youngest son across the Danube River when they were captured by the Turks. Dracula was imprisoned for four years. These years are thought to be the beginning of Vlad Dracula’s violent nature. It wasn’t long before Dracul was assassinated and Dracula’s brother was buried alive by the Ruler of Hungary, Jamos Hunyadi. Fearful for his life, Dracula joined Hunyadi who taught him cunning and severe military tactics that would soon secure Dracula the throne of Wallachia. THE REAL DRACULA: VLAD THE IMPALER
As Prince, Vlad Dracula continued to battle the Turks. Those taken hostage were impaled (a large pole was driven through their body). But it was not only Dracula’s enemies who suffered. Many townspeople were also subject to his wrath. Woodcut of Vlad surrounded by his victims THE REAL DRACULA: VLAD THE IMPALER
One story tells of Dracula noticing a peasant man who was wearing a shirt that was too short. When Dracula asked the man’s wife why the man was improperly dressed,she said she was too busy cooking and cleaning to sew. She was immediately impaled. Graciously, Dracula chose a new wife for the man. He made sure to show the new wife what had happened to the old so that she would not make the same mistake. THE REAL DRACULA: VLAD THE IMPALER
Although gone, rumors of Vlad Dracula and his relentless temper spread throughout Europe. Stories of his villainy were published, read, and reread and it was these stories that led Bram Stoker to create the infamous Count Dracula we know today. The BRAN CASTLE, near Brasov is said to be one of Dracula’s residences. It can be visited by tourists. Do you want to have a look? DRACULA’S CASTLE THE REAL DRACULA: VLAD THE IMPALER
Nosferatu , directed by F. W. Murnau and featuring the first film portrayal of Dracula . Al though names and characters were intended to mimic Dracula' s, Murnau could not obtain permission from Stoker's widow, and had to alter many aspects of the film.
Universal's Dracula (1931), starring Bel a Lugosi as the count
The successful 1958 Dracula starring Lee was followed by
seven sequels. Lee returned as Dracula in all but two of these and became well known in the role.
Later films showed more diversity in plotline, with some focusing on the vampire-hunter such as Blade.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer . Buffy , released in 1992, foreshadowed a vampiric presence on television, with adaptation to a long-running hit TV series of the same name.
Still others showed the vampire as protagonist such 1994's Interview with the Vampire : The Vampire Chronicles and its indirect sequel Queen of the Damned. Bram Stoker's Dracula was a noteworthy 1992 film which became the then highest grossing vampire film ever. This increase of interest in vampiric plotlines led to the vampire being depicted in movies such as Van Helsing ,
In the mountains of Transylvania there stands a castle . It is the home of Count Dracula - a dark, lonely place and at night the wolves howl around the walls.
In the year 1875 Jonathan Harker comes from England to do business with the Count. But Jonathan does not feel comfortable at Dracula’s castle. Strange things happen at night and very soon he begins to feel afraid. And he is right to be afraid, because Count Dracula is one of the Un-Dead - a vampire that drinks the blood of living people…
In the spring of 1875, Jonathan Harker travels to Transylvania, on a business visit to the home of Count Dracula . Jonathan does not really want to go because in a few months’ time he is getting married to his beautiful Mina and he does not want to leave her.
COUNT DRACULA - A centuries-old vampire and Transylvanian nobleman, Count Dracula inhabits a crumbling castle in the Carpathian Mountains. Beneath a veneer of aristocratic charm, the count possesses a dark and evil soul. He can assume the form of an animal, control the weather, and he is stronger than twenty men. His powers are limited, however—for instance, he cannot enter a victim’s home unless invited, cannot cross water unless carried, and is rendered powerless by daylight.
JONATHAN HARKER - A solicitor, or lawyer, whose firm sends him to Transylvania to conclude a real estate transaction with Dracula. Young and naïve, Harker quickly finds himself a prisoner in the castle and barely escapes with his life. He demonstrates a fierce curiosity to discover the true nature of his captor and a strong will to escape. Later, after becoming convinced that the count has moved to London, Harker emerges as a brave and fearless fighter.
MINA MURRAY - Jonathan Harker’s fiancée. Mina is a practical young woman who works as a schoolmistress. Eventually victimized by Dracula herself, Mina is also the best friend of the count’s first victim in the novel, Lucy Westenra. Mina is in many ways the heroine of the novel, embodying purity, innocence, and Christian faith—virtues she maintains despite her suffering at the vampire’s hands. She is intelligent and resourceful, and her research leads Van Helsing’s men to Castle Dracula.
LUCY WESTENRA - Mina’s best friend and an attractive, vivacious young woman. The first character in the novel to fall under Dracula’s spell, Lucy becomes a vampire, which compromises her much-praised chastity and virtue, and banishes her soul from the promise of eternal rest. Determined that such an end is unfit for an English lady of Lucy’s caliber, Van Helsing’s crew hunts down the demon she has become and kills it, following the rituals of vampire slaying, and thus restoring Lucy’s soul to her body and to heaven.
VAN HELSING - A Dutch professor, described by his former pupil Dr. Seward as “a philosopher and metaphysician, and one of the most advanced scientists of his day.” Called upon to cure the ailing Lucy Westenra, Van Helsing’s contributions are essential in the fight against Dracula. Unlike his comrades, Van Helsing is not blinded by the limitations of Western medicine: he knows that he faces a force that cannot be treated with traditional science and reason. Knowledgeable about vampire folklore, Van Helsing becomes Dracula’s chief antagonist and the leader of the group that hunts Dracula down and destroys him.
JOHN SEWARD - A talented young doctor, formerly Van Helsing’s pupil. Seward is the administrator of an insane asylum not far from Dracula’s English home. Throughout the novel, Seward conducts ambitious interviews with one of his patients, Renfield, in order to understand better the nature of life-consuming psychosis. Although Lucy turns down Seward’s marriage proposal, his love for her remains, and he dedicates himself to her care when she suddenly takes ill. After her death, he remains dedicated to fighting the count.
ARTHUR HOLMWOOD - Lucy’s fiancé and a friend of her other suitors. Arthur is the son of Lord Godalming and inherits that title upon his father’s death. In the course of his fight against Dracula’s dark powers, Arthur does whatever circumstances demand: he is the first to offer Lucy a blood transfusion, and he agrees to kill her demonic form.