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Dracula

Discovery Geschichte, 2007

Wow ! Just what we have all been waiting for: Bram Stoker's "Dracula" explained at last... Unsurprisingly, there are lots of images from various Dracula films. As to the expert side of things, no complaints there. We get to see David J. Skal, James V. Hart, Elizabeth Miller, Leonard Wolf, "Val", Nina Auerbach and Barbara Belford. Sadly, this here version of the DVD is in German. There are no subtitles and - most annoyingly - the original voices of the experts have been replaced by German voice-overs. I must confess that I would probably have given it a miss if it wasn't for the fact that the price of the DVD was only 3 Euro. Hey, I am Dutch so I do like a bargain...

History's Mysteries

The History Channel, no date

8 Discs covering various subjects.

   DVD 5 - "The Real Dracula"

Here we go again... "Immortalised in fiction and in film". Which makes me wonder: so a Dracula or Nosferatu film is fact and not fiction then ? On to Bram Stoker, who was a sickly bed-ridden child, and heard about the famine and starvation going on outside his house. When he finally decided to get out of bed he started hanging around in the part of the churchyard where the suicides were buried. Cheerful little chap. He eventually moved to London and came to work for the great actor Henry Irving. For his novel "Dracula" he did serious research for no less than seven years. So who else is there ? David Skal, Norine Dresser, Gordon Melton, McNally, Florescu, and oops ! there is Elisabeth Bathory again. Did I forget to mention Vlad Tepes ? Maybe I did it on purpose. I really think that you should know the story by now.

The Supernatural: Vampires

Pegassus Entertainment, 2009

Oh dear, oh dear... Presented by Michael Leighton, who is dressed up as a vampire. We get to hear everything we already know about all the usual suspects: Dracula, Stoker, Byron, Vlad, Bathory, de Rais, Lilith, Lamia, etc., etc. Having said that, I did enjoy the bit where 3 ladies give a rather nice rendering of the Harker bedscene. And fortunately there is the 5th part titled "The Modern Vampire". In this chapter Les Prince, of the University of Birmingham, gets a little more room than in the previous chapters, so he can finally share his thoughts on blooddrinking psychopaths, energy vampires and other dubious characters.

True Horror: VAMPIRES

Discovery, 2010

Presented by our favourite vampire librarian: Anthony Head. We get to hear about Dracula, Stoker, Vlad, Bathory and the plague. Highlights: the Romanian newscovering of the Toma Petre case. Forensic expert Mark Benecke showing horrible corpses in an attempt to make Anthony Head regurgitate his Paprika Hendl. And there is some nice old footage of a young vampire hunter garlicking about in Highgate Cemetery. There's a few people that I have met, years ago. Tina Rath, Sean Manchester, Brother Keith... Dear Lord, we are all getting old, aren't we ? On to a fake seance in the backroom of a pub. Conclusion: we saw what we wanted to see, we believed in what we wanted to believe. Nice one !

Truth or Scare : Dracula - Night Visitors

Discovery Kids, 2001

This is a DVD that was published in the Netherlands with 2 episodes from an American (?) TV show presented by no one less than Buffy's younger sister, Michelle Trachtenberg. One is called "Dracula" which seems like a well chosen title considering the subject. The other one however is much more interesting and is called "Night Visitors". Among other things it has a nice bit about one of those vampire cases from New England. Undoubtedly there will be an earlier English language version on which this edition with Dutch subtitles was based.

Vampire Secrets - Bram Stoker

History Channel, no date

These DVDs are part of an extremely inexpensive 6 DVD-set called "VAMPIRE SECRETS".

This particular episode is all about Stoker's life and works, with some speculation thrown in about what made him write "Dracula". Elizabeth Miller is the main expert, and rightfully so. Leonard Wolf and David Skall also put in short appearances. Not bad.

Vampire Secrets - Dracula's Underground

History Channel, no date

Actually, this is an episode from a rather nice series called "Cities of the Underworld". First we go visit a large bat-infested Romanian cave system. On to good old Vlad. We visit the ruins at Tirgoviste and the secret prison - or so we are told - that is under it. Next stop: the Castle of Poenari, and yes, I well remember the 1500 steps you have to climb to get there. There's Vlad in prison in Hunedoara Castle. There are old military tunnels under the castle. We are shown the prison cell where Vlad was kept and on we go to Turda where we visit a giant saltmine. There are old ruins in Bucharest. And, as a desert, we are treated to the mysteries of Snagov.

Vampire Secrets - Movie Monsters: Vampires in America

History Channel, no date

And History Channel has done it again: this is in fact an episode from the series "Monster Quest".

Despite the ill-chosen title, this turned out to be an interesting documentary built around the various New England Vampires, and concentrating on the research by Nicholas Bellantoni and Michael Bell. To put things in a wider perspective we also have some further experts. There is Katherine Ramsland commenting on "The Vampire Clan" and the Welsh Vampire Killer. Psychic Vampire Michelle Belanger tells us about her need to feed on other people's vital force. She is then subjected to paranormal measurements. Konstantinos tells us about Elisabeth Bathory, Vlad Tepes and Dracula. We have Joy Poulos, living vampire, getting a check-up from Hematologist Lawrence Ossias, who also mentions porphyria. And there is Dr. Jeffery Laitman trying to explain death and post-mortem processes in just a few sentences. Nice one !

Vampire Secrets - The Real Dracula

History Channel, no date

Please note that this episode can also be found as DVD 5 of a box called "History's Mysteries". I will save you the trouble of scrolling there and repeat myself:

Here we go again... "Immortalised in fiction and in film". Which makes me wonder: so a Dracula or Nosferatu film is "fact" and not fiction then ? On to Bram Stoker, who was a sickly bed-ridden child, and heard about the famine and starvation going on outside his house. When he finally decided to get out of bed he started hanging around in the part of the churchyard where the suicides were buried. Cheerful little chap. He eventually moved to London and came to work for the great actor Henry Irving. For his novel "Dracula" he did serious research for no less than seven years. So who else is there ? David Skal, Norine Dresser, Gordon Melton, McNally, Florescu, and oops ! there is Elisabeth Bathory again. Did I forget to mention Vlad Tepes ? Maybe I did it on purpose. I really think that you should know that story by now.

Vampires

History Channel, no date

Starts off with people claiming to be vampires, like Nicholas Stratloch of the "Temple of the Vampire". Next stop Bram Stoker's "Dracula". On to Vlad Tepes. Next, Dale and Kathy McKinley, who claim they have been channeling Vlad's spirit. What else ? Cathrina Coffin, a woman who's been drinking the blood of her friends since childhood. And then some kind of epilogue to round things off.

Non-vampirical contributors: author J. Gordon Melton, psychiatrist Alexander Obolsky, Raymond McNally, Nicolae Paduraru, screenwriter Don Jakoby, hypnotist Gary Dallek, psychic Shirley Strasburg, psychic Nancy Mostad, and folklorist Sabina Ispas. Like the voice-over says: "Does this obsession with vampires merely reflect man's desire for immortality ? Or is it an experiment with the darker impulses of human nature that most prefer to leave uninvestigated and unexplained ?"

World of Hammer - VAMP

Anolis Entertainment, no date

Where would we be without the good old Hammer films ? I love them. But much as I love them, I am not going to list them here as such without a good reason. So what is "Captain Kronos - Vampire Hunter" doing on this page ? It so happens that one of the bonus items on this particular DVD (published in Germany) is an episode about Hammer "Vamps" from the documentary series "World of Hammer". Hey, that is good enough for me.

Having said that, I can not honestly say that I am a great fan of the "World of Hammer" series. As far as I remember, most of the episodes completely consist of bits and pieces cut from Hammer films, without adding anything extra except for some voice-over comments. I used to have the complete series on video cassettes, but I was happy to give them all away when one of my friends was foolish enough to show an interest.

2012 by Rob Brautigam - NL - Last update May 2012
Obviously all the rights to the images are the property of their rightful owners.

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