We can say that vampire movies are already a genre in film. Since Nosferatu in 1922, vampires have been scaring people with their taste for blood and spooky presence. Dozens of movies and TV shows have made these sinister monsters evolve into what we see in today’s The Twilight Saga, for example.
The first vampire movie was inspired by Bram Stoker’s Gothic novel Dracula. But where did Stoker get the inspiration from? It wasn’t until he came across a book in a library about Vlad Tepes III, Prince of Wallachia, a region of what is Romania today.
So let’s see what historians say about Vlad Tepes and what Stoker’s novel (and movies) made out of him.
1. Bran Castle
Fiction -In the novel and movies, Dracula lives in the Bran Castle in Transylvania, which is in central Romania and is a tourist attraction nowadays.
History -Although the Bran Castle is perfect for Dracula because it’s in an ever foggy mountain and it has a spooky architecture, Vlad Tepes (Dracula's real name) never lived there. In fact, historians believe he never set foot on it. His father Vlad II owned a residence in Transylvania but Vlad III was probably born in Wallachia where his father was a ruler.
2. The name Dracula
Fiction -The vampire is simply called Count Dracula in movies.
History -Vlad III was inducted as a Drac knight, a secret society created to fight the Ottoman Empire. He actually inherited the membership[p from his father, who also was a Drac knight. "Dracul" is the Romanian for the son of the dragon.
3. Count Dracula was a merciless killer
Fiction -The Dracula of the movies (as well as most other vampires) have no appreciation for humans and don’t hesitate to take their lives.
History -Although Vlad III did not put his fans on any neck, he was definitely a bloody ruler. The Turks dominated part of Europe during the 15th century with the Ottoman Empire, and Wallachia often was the center of attacks and resistance by the locals. Vlad III was a ruler determined to show the Turks they were dealing with someone superior. He had such bloody behavior to impress the invaders. It’s said that he used to invite people to dinner and then kill them right after.
4. Vampires have eternal life
Fiction - The vampires of the movies don’t die like you and me. Unless they’re exposed to sunlight, burned, or impaled with a stake on the chest, they can live forever.
History - Vlad III was obsessed with the idea of eternity. He actually wanted to be canonized as a saint despite his evil behaviors. In many cultures throughout history, drinking blood or bathing with it has been thought to have supernatural effects. Many thought that these practices can give you eternal life, rejuvenate you , or even give you supernatural powers. Some historians argue Vlad III sometimes drank the blood of his victims for with purposes.
Fiction - You know from movies that the best way to kill a vampire is impaling a stake in his chest.
History -Maybe Stoker took this idea from the fact that Vlad III usually impaled his victims. They introduced a stake in the victim’s anus until it came out through the mouth. This barbaric, painful death could last even days. He was actually known as Vlad The Impaler.
One thing we know for sure is that the cruel ruler Vlad III did actually die. He was killed in a battle in a region between Bucharest and the Danube river. His corpse was supposedly buried in a monastery in the region.
His story, however, continues fascinating us today and shedding out more and more fictional productions. But I’m sure you will never see vampires the same way again if you know the historic facts behind their fictional creation.