Historical or theoretical context of the film Dracula (1931)
“Dracula” was released in 1931 on the 3rd of February and was directed by Bram Stroker. Since its release, Dracula has become somewhat of a celebrity, gaining worldwide acknowledgement, as children all over the globe fear his presence. Cited by many as ‘the king of all vampires’, Dracula is instrumental in explaining and understanding the economic, social and environmental status that plagued the 1930’s.
The great depression and stock market crash made the 1930’s one of America’s hardest times. With unemployment rates reaching highs they never though possible and the wounds of WW1 still lingering in everyone’s minds, it can be said that ‘Dracula’ was very fitting. Similarities between the publics attitude towards the country and all that took power is very similar to that of the attitudes portrayed by Stroker towards Dracula. A scapegoat scenario was then created, whereby people’s negative attitudes were all placed on one common figure, Dracula. This hatred drew everyone together as they all had one common goal, to rid the city of Dracula.
Dracula’s characteristics and origins are identical to that of his true birthplace, Transylvania. The architecture and environment were perfect to create the dark creature that was the vampire. Transylvania consists of historic castles, with century old towns. It is covered in dense forests, as much of the city is coated in a blanket of overcast cloud and cold temperatures. This created the perfect environment for a vampire as they have been described as soulless, cold, dead, place creatures.
Many folklore stories attributed many war heroes to have superpowers and characteristics similar to that of a vampire. The historical figure known as Vlad the impaler (1428- 1431) was instrumental in the creation of Dracula. He impaled his foes, had super strength in battle, lived in a castle and ruled without question. Although hated by his people, Vlad the impaler ruled through oppression, much like what is seen with Dracula. Many folklore tales tell of Vlad drinking the blood of his enemies and hiding in his isolated castle, high in the mountains. When looking at the castle it is filled with small hallways and secret rooms, much like what is seen in “Dracula”. One tale tells of Vlad being beheaded and soon rising from his coffin.
The character Dracula was created as a result of many factors that have been apart of Transylvanian and Romanian culture. The landscape, architecture, environment and climate created the perfect scenario for the creation of a Dracula. Much of the attitudes and public views towards Dracula are similar to that of the 1930’s, whereby hatred and anger thrived. Dracula is the symbol of oppression and shows the effectiveness of a common goal, as the town’s people finish of by killing Dracula.
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