Shadow of the Vampire: The Real Dracula - Summary

The vampire Dracula is a legend, but its roots are historical.

The fictional character of Dracula stems from the real-life Wallachian prince Vlad Dracula. Vlad, son of the Dragon (or "Devil," as Dracul is known in Romanian), is a Romanian prince who lives during violent times.

Vlad Dracula goes to prison at an early age along with his younger brother. He becomes a cruel man who trusts no one and desires revenge. Horribly cruel, he develops a reputation as "Vlad the Impaler." This name is based on his favorite punishment: impaling captives on long wooden stakes.

The real-life cruelties of Vlad the Impaler combine with the allure of his surroundings to inspire Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Stoker’s book leads a famous movie director, F.W. Murnau, to create the first Dracula movie: Nosferatu. Murnau produces movies during the silent-movie era, using images and shadows to relay the message of his film.

The actor, Max Schreck, brings Nosferatu to life. With his terrifying looks and acting, the actor’s performance is still viewed as one of the most compelling portrayals of Dracula. 

Nosferatu is short-lived in the cinema, however, due to copyright violations. Even though Murnau makes minor changes to his story, such as different names and locations, the work is easily recognized as Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Since the director of Nosferatu does not bother to get permission to use Bram Stoker’s Dracula, all copies of his film are ordered to be burned. If not for pirated copies, the work would have been lost forever.

Almost as soon as the movie is released, it is stopped and destroyed.

The real Dracula, according to the legends of history, is almost as hard to destroy as the movie version. He dies at the hands of his own army, who mistakenly think he is a Turk. He fights to the end, killing several of his own men before dying from his numerous wounds.

After his death, Vlad the Impaler grows even more infamous. His legendary actions combine with local folklore about vampires to create a monster who is allegedly immortal.

The legend of Dracula is an interwoven tale of cruelty, murder, blood and immortality. Inspired by the real cruelty of Vlad the Impaler, put on paper by Bram Stoker as Dracula the vampire, and brought to the silver screen in the form of the monstrous Nosferatu, Dracula lives forever.

With its charming folklore, scary legends and gorgeous landscapes, Romania serves as a fitting environment for the monster. Vlad the Impaler’s castle serves as a likely home for a vampire, while the lonely countryside proves fit for disappearances and murder. As both real man and legend, Dracula will live forever. 

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Author: Carole D. Bos, J.D. 5190stories and lessons created

Original Release: Jan 01, 2001

Updated Last Revision: Nov 04, 2016

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"Shadow of the Vampire: The Real Dracula" AwesomeStories.com. Jan 01, 2001. Jan 21, 2020.
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