The three of us went to see Dracula the Untold Story today before our son went to work and I am not sure about our son, but at least I was very well entertained. This incarnation of Dracula is primarily focused on the man, not the vampire and the man was much more complex than the monster that Bram Stoker painted in his novel.
We learn that Lord Vlad had spent his childhood as a royal hostage in the Ottoman court given over by his father to keep the peace for their Transylvanian kingdom. Young Vlad wasn’t the only hostage, the sultan historically demanded all male children to be handed over to him from his neighboring protectorates in order to keep them militarily weak and psychologically weak as well. Young Vlad was allowed to come home and regain his place within the kingdom and this is where we meet him ten years later, married to the love of his life Merina and their ten year old son Ingarus. We are in the great hall during Easter festivities when the Turks arrive to claim their tribute for the new sultan Mehmet the second, who was young Vlad’s childhood companion during his time as royal hostage, and the tribute wasn’t enough, the new sultan made the same demands as his father had and Prince Vlad is left with a horrendous choice to make. War or give over 1001 young boys including his own son, we don’t envy him his choice.
The rest must be up to you to go and see for yourselves, I won’t spoil it for you. What I will tell you is that my fascination with Dracula has always been about the profound love story that lies at the heart of the “horror” story and I was not disappointed. Vlad the human may have been an adept at psychological warfare, what with his cold decisions to impale his victims for all to see as a warning of what will come if you defy his demands, but in the movie we learn that his methods came from his military education at the hands of the Turks. What we do see during the movie is the intense and passionate love that he has for his wife and I believed in that love because at the crucial moment in the movie between Vlad and Merina, he does not do what we have seen in so many love stories before, he actually tells his love the complete truth of what he did and what it will mean for them if he strays from the straight and narrow and gives into the thirst. She shows her absolute love for him by not shying away from him, on the contrary, she embraces him and tells him to please stay strong for her, for them.
His love for their son is also felt in spades, the first domino in his defiance against the turks is played because he can’t bear to send his son to the Turks the way his father had sent him and the price he has to pay is so very steep. The rest of the movie examines just how high that price becomes until the final end and still Dracula keeps paying for his choices.
It is still a beautiful love story despite the fog of evil surrounding it at each turn either supernatural or of man himself.