While in New Orleans, the movie Dracula Untold was recommended to me. Unfortunately, between family business and my book signing, we didn’t have time to watch there, but my wife and I picked up a copy when we returned home and thoroughly enjoyed it.
Dracula Untold is an origin story for Dracula. It imagines Vlad the Impaler facing the choice of handing over 1000 boys to be trained as Ottoman Jannissaries or go to war with the Turks. Facing insurmountable odds, Vlad seeks out a master vampire and asks for help. The scene where Vlad and the master vampire confront each other in the cave gave me chills. It’s effective in its own right, but it also reminded me of the scene in Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order where Desmond wakes up in a cave and meets the ancient vampire, Wolf.
In many ways, Dracula Untold tells the same story as Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet Order but with a slightly different premise. In Dracula Untold we learn how Vlad became the vampire Dracula. In Dragon’s Fall we learn the story of how the British vampire Draco became a mercenary for Vlad, giving rise to the Dracula legend. Many of the same historical events are used as backdrops, though the overall story takes many different turns.
Another element I found particularly interesting in Dracula Untold was the vampire Dracula could turn into a swarm of bats. The CGI was neat to watch and really makes me want to see someone visualize Drake and his ability to turn into a swarm of flies.
The movie itself has some issues. In particular, I found the enforced three-day time limit for the movie’s main story strained my ability to believe the large troop movements. Also, I found it a bit difficult to believe that even one strong vampire could decimate an entire army as much as Dracula did, though I could certainly imagine battle scenes like those in Dracula Untold appearing in a Scarlet Order vampire movie. The short run time also kept us from getting very much character depth—an unfortunately common trait in many modern movies. Despite those issues, I’d still have no problem recommending the film to someone who likes an action-oriented vampire film.
Not only do I like vampire action, but I like supernatural myths. One of the deleted scenes showed Dracula having an encounter with the witch Baba Yaga. I saw why they felt they had to cut that scene, but I wish they had found a way to make it work within the context of the movie.
For those who would like to see my vision of vampire mercenaries and the history of the Turkish invasion of Transylvania, be sure to find a copy of Dragon’s Fall: Rise of the Scarlet order. You can order signed copies at Boutique du Vampyre. Of course, you can always get the ebook at Amazon or Barnes and Noble.