Dracula expert weighs in on latest flick

(Featured photo: At right, Dacre Stoker stands in front of the movie poster holding a copy of “Dracula.” Photo courtesy Facebook)

The newest Dracula film to hit theaters is The Last Voyage of the Demeter with an Aug. 11 release date.

Based on a snippet of Bram Stoker’s classic novel, it tells the vampire’s voyage from Carpathia to London via the doomed ship.

“It’s probably about 80% faithful to the novel, which to me was very refreshing following Chapter 7 – what little of it that was provide in the ship’s log, so there was a lot of room for reinterpretation,” said Dacre Stoker, an Aiken resident who is a leading expert on all things Bram Stoker, who saw the film at Regal Augusta Exchange in a private screening Aug. 9.

Dacre Stoker is the great grandnephew of the Dracula author. In addition to being an international best-selling author, Dacre Stoker has devoted many years to researching his famous relative, delving into Bram Stoker’s meticulous notes and uncovering a few mysteries related to the book.

Dacre Stoker is a frequent speaker at literary and academic conferences as well as fan-related events.

Chapter 7 of Dracula recounts the voyage of the ship from what was recorded in the captain’s log. By the time, the Demeter arrives in London, it’s a charred wreck with no one on board.

Dacre Stoker said that just because something is truer to the original doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a good movie or that he will like it. But other parts of The Last Voyage of the Demeter made the film a “thumbs-up” in his book.

“When you know the ending, the challenge to the writers and director is to surprise us, shock us, put us in suspense and leave us hanging so that we don’t exactly know what the ending is. So, by introducing a few brand new things, then we’re on the edge of our seats. It’s not exactly the same, but it’s pretty damn close,” he said. “That’s what really struck home with me. I thought I knew what was going to happen at the end, but I was constantly wondering about it because of some of the addition they made.”

One of the twists was a female character on the ship. She’s a little like the character of Lucy, one of the Count’s victims in London, he said.

What also gave it high marks for Stoker was the character of Dracula himself.

“The Dracula creature was a great, great throwback to the type of monster that Bram Stoker envisioned. He’s a lot like Count Orlok in Nosferatu. The monster was very rat/bat like. He was in the shadows for a lot of the film, the same way that Bram’s monster was,” he said.

 But what impressed Stoker most was the unveiling.

“He was shocking, horrifying, almost to the point of disgusting. He was so gross,” he said. “And he was not CGI. This was an actor in incredible costuming.”

Although the release date is Aug. 11, the film is being shown beginning Aug. 10 at several theaters including Regal Augusta Exchange, Regal Aiken Mall, Riverwatch Cinemas and Evans Cinemas.

Charmain Z. Brackett, the publisher of Augusta Good News, has covered Augusta’s news for 35 years. Reach her at Sign up for the newsletter here.

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