| Tuesday, November 23, 2004
| DRACULA FOR SALE....(DRACULA 101)
|(By Paul Bibeau....MAXIMONLINE.COM)
Dirt poor, historically shit-upon Romania has exactly one thing it can do to make money--- build a Dracula Theme Park--- and it can't even do that right.
DRACULA in the saddle
Vlad Tepes seized control of Mallachia, south of Transylvania, in November 1476, after decades of warfare, capture and exile. His country had suffered through years of being chewed up between the Ottoman Turks and he Holy Roman Empire. His father and older brother were murdered by enraged mobs, and his younger brother, Radu the Handsome was forced into the sultan's "harem".
Vlad put an end to all that and was duly hailed as a hero...until his headless body was found in a marsch outside Bucharest.
Even worse, Vlad became the victim of the world's first media smear campaign. Fleeing Germans told wild stories about the man called Dracula, which means "son of the dragon".(Vlad's father was part of the Order of the Dragon, empowered by the Holy Roman Emperor to fight the Turks) As luck would have it, Gutenberg has just fired up its printing press and, after banging out the Bible, published some of the first secular work ever printed: anti Dracula pamphlets. "He had children roasted; these their mothers had to eat" one read. "And he cut the women's breasts off; these their husbands had to eat. Afterward he had them all impaled. "you can see how this could hurt a guy's rep. Hence the catchy nickname "Vlad the Impaler".MIDNIGHT STOKER
In the 1890's, Bram Stoker was working as a stage manager and finishing his second book. But the damn thing was about a vampire, and that market was already flooded. Stoker's diary has no entries saying: "I'm a no-talent hack and should develop a laudnum habit". but it was probably what he was thinking.
But then he found a book about a prince who fought bloody battles against the Turks. The details were sketchy and the name Dracula had been mistranslated as "son fo the devil". but he sounded like a hell of a character. In Bram Stoker's manuscript, preserved at Philadelphia's Rosenbach Museum, you can see where he crossed ou his character's name, the oh-so-oroginal "Count Wampyr", and replaced it with "Dracula".
By 1897 Bram Stoker had created a monster.
DUDE, WHERE'S MY CASTLE.
Say you're an American, arriving in Romania with a fat wallet and hankering to see "Castle Dracula". You'll probably be pointed toward Castle Bran, a huge monstrosity that looks like something out of a meat loaf video.(draculascastle.com) The only problem is that the historical Dracula never lived there.It's also not mentioned in Stoker's book.
"I was at a conference at Bran", says Professor Elizabeth Miller, author of Dracula Sense and Nonsense, who has spent 12 years trying to dispel myths about Dracula."I asked the curator about it. He said "blame in on the American tourists. They want to do all of Romania, Bulgaria and Hungary in three days. This park in on amain road, so se gave them what they wanted."
Romania is chock full of places where Vlad slept, ate and killed people, but they're never built a Dracula industry for one reason. They hate Dracula. The Romanians have never even seen him. The Romanians never even called him Dracula.
In 1976, there is a bicentennial,there was a festival in Romania honoring the death of Dracula.
Nicolae Paduraru used to beg for food on the streets of Bucharest. His son was starving , he begged, but even his friends truend him away-- eggs were too scarce, even for a starving three year old.
Nicolae Ceausescu, the Dictator, had been in power for 23 years, and it's estimated he starved 15,000 people to death each year with forced food shortage. He also set up a secret police that locked 50,000 political prisoners, tapped alal the phone lines, and ordered women to have five children each to build a work force-- and ended up warehousing more than 150,000 orphans. On Christmas 1989, Ceausescu was dragged in front of a tribunal, convictd, and shot. To the rest of the world, Dracula may have been the vampire, but in Romania it was Ceausescu who was called Vampirescu. After his reign, the country was sucked dry.
In 1995, Paduraru's Transylvanian Society of Dracula was planning an academic convention when he got a call from Romania's astonished minsiter of tourism. He could'nt get anyone to come to the convention, but somehow CNN, CBS and Agence France-Presse line up.
By June 2002, plans for the Dracula Park had a stake through the heart.
Currently a new Dracula park is planned for the town of Snagov, near the small monastery where Vlad's headless body is supposedly buried/(Although recent theories said his head must be buried in another monastery).But most of the financing dried up.
To add one last insult, Romania does not even own Dracula, at least not the one tourists want. Most of his famous characteristics--- the cape, the fangs, the bat---are all owned by Universal Studios. Any theme park that wanted to used those cliches would have to face a force darker than the undead: Bloodsucking Hollywood lawyers.
|posted by infraternam meam @ 1:48 AM