It’s funny how I know so much about Dracula and still can’t get enough of the character or the concept no matter where I turn. Intervision’s “The Trail of Dracula” is an hour long look in to the history of Dracula through the ages. There are tons of interviews and accounts from the creation of Bram Stoker’s novel, and the unauthorized adaptation called “Nosferatu,” right down to his pop culture influence in the modern age like “Vampire Hunter D” and “Castlevania.” While I would have loved a more thorough examination of the vampire legend and its various incarnations of cultures all around the world, “The Trail of Dracula” explores how Dracula eventually was crafted.
There’s also a remarkable preface to the documentary explaining how Dracula is often cited as the first vampire character of folklore but really isn’t. Before him there were at least three very popular vampire characters in fiction, including Carmella, the lesbian vampire explored in “The Vampire Lovers.” For vampire and Dracula enthusiasts, “The Trail of Dracula” is a great celebration and dissection of all things Dracula. Most of the interviewees provide lively and interesting discussion on the novel, and how pretty much all of the incarnations put to film have never properly adapted the Bram Stoker novel. There are also some great looks at how Dracula made his mark on the careers of the various actors that have played him.
This amounts to some of the more fascinating material, as we garner keen insight in to the work of Christopher Lee, Bela Lugosi and John Carradine, respectively. Lee and Carradine are most interesting as they’re very seasoned performers often reluctant to play Dracula who were forever associated with the character. Lugosi’s story is worthy of a documentary all its own, as the film explores his initial entrance in to the character, and how poor management and typecasting turned a very dynamic theatrical performer in to a parody of himself well in to his old age. “The Trail of Dracula” might not reveal anything you haven’t already learned over the years, but it still manages to end as an entertaining hour long look at vampire lore and the impact of the character Dracula.
The DVD from Intervision features a ninety four minute Dracula Movie Trailer Reel with movie trailers for everything from Lugosi’s “Dracula” to “Scream Blacula Scream.” There’s a short audio interview with Christopher Lee, and a short audio interview with Francis Lederer from “Return of Dracula.” There’s also an interview with Werner Herzog, director of the “Nosferatu” remake, and finally there’s “Blood for Udo,” a seven minute interview with Dracula actor Udo Kier.