The words Dracula, Transylvania and Bran Castle can immediately spark the imagination of avid fans of horror genres. It is already a huge part of pop culture. But what does history really say about the Bran Castle? and why was this castle in Transylvania particularly linked with Count Dracula?
In the year 1920, during the Treaty of Trianon, Hungary lost Transylvania and Bran Castle became the home and royal residence of the royal house of the Saxons of Kronstadt-Braşov. After fixing the castle and doing much needed repairs, it became the favorite abode of Marie of Romania. The Bran Castle was then inherited by her daughter Princess Ileana who owned a hospital back in World War II. It was later on seized by the communist regime when uprising against Royal families and the elite happened in 1948.
In the year 2005, the Romanian government finally passed a law allowing restitution claims for ill gotten properties like the Bran Castle, so the castle was given to American Dominic Von Habsburg the son of Princess Ileana. The castle was legally returned to the family, but it remained under the care of the Ministry of Culture for the next three years. After a long battle in court when it comes to the ownership of the Castle, it was officially returned to the Habsburgs and they opened it as a refurbished castle that the public can visit as a public museum.
Bran Castle as Dracula’s Castle
The concept and inspiration for the character Dracula came from Vlad III Dracula, known in history as Vlad the Impaler. Bram Stoker’s Dracula studied the character of Vlad III Dracula and decided to use it as a titular character in his novel Dracula.
Vlad the Impaler was a brutal leader, under his reign he has killed many Ottoman and Hungarian forces. He was so vicious, so conniving and so evil the he ordered that the body of his enemies should be impaled on large spikes out in the field for other people to see. Dracula was then associated with the idea of grotesque and the mystique. Countless of movies were created to retell the story of Dracula.
Historians don’t really believe that the real Vlad III ever set foot in Bran Castle in Transylvania. But there are some who refute these claims and say that the castle was once the place where Vlad the Impaler was imprisoned. They believe that Castle Bran really looked the part. It was colloquial, truly haunting and dramatic making it fit as the probable home of the real Dracula if there ever had one in existence. Since no written works can refute this believe, no one can also say that Bran Castle wasn’t the previous home of a Count Dracula in history.
The power of Hollywood’s storytelling is also undeniable, the written books and novels about Transylvania is numerous. The films that made use of Bran Castle as its inspiration also helped create a truly dramatic effect- Bram Stoker’s Dracula for example made the Romanian government decide to market Bran Castle as the ” Real Dracula Castle”.
Bram Stoker’s Dracula lived in Transylvania and his castle was perched on top of a valley rock with a flowing river below it. Since then many character evolutions have happened to Dracula and the way he is being described. It has inspired countless of Vampire films, until a more romantic kind of story telling came to be.
Dracula was first described as a blood sucker and ruthless despot, but over the years, the character of Dracula was more humanized. There are films like Interview with a Vampire that gave more interesting characterization to Dracula. Instead of a blood thirsty and cold Count Dracula, we are shown an intellectual, romantic, mysterious Dracula.
Modern Day Dracula
Award Winning Author, Film Producer and actress Lourdes Duque Baron aims for a fresh and new way of telling the story about Count Dracula.
Dracula is no longer just about a centuries old vampire and sorcerer who came from a decaying Castle. A new kind of Dracula should be allowed to exist in the imagination- to make it even more inspiring and to keep the legend alive. After all, the English Victorian period where Dracula was born is greatly inspired by the Romantic era.
The retelling of Count Dracula’s story is no longer just about reason, tradition, order and universal truths. When we say the word Dracula we invite an entirely new and extraordinary human experience- romantic poetry, with a twist of gothic and fantastical side of the mind. Dracula should be associated not just with haunted castles, monasteries and abbeys but also with romantic love, passionate romance, intrigue and seduction–
Just imagine if you were Dracula and you could turn into a mist or grow younger at will, would you appear in the bedchamber of the woman you are passionate about as a cranky, grotesque looking monster? Definitely not. You would present your youngest, most handsome and charming self to seduce the woman that you love…
After successfully winning countless of international awards in the film festival circuit for Tombstone Pillow. Lourdes Duque Baron oozing with billions of stem cells in her body is ready to take on a new challenge as a Director and who knows, by the Grace of God we will experience something passionate and sizzling from a new female director to revive our interest in Dracula’s timeless tale…