Documentary Review – The Trail of Dracula (2016)

The Trail of Dracula
Directed by David Mitchell & Jamie Lockhart
Courtesy of Intervision Picture Corp. and CAV Distribution
Release Date: October 25, 2016

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I’ll wager I’m not alone when I say I am fascinated with the myths and legends behind some of our favorite horror icons of today. Whether its demons or werewolves, djinn or sea monsters, there’s usually a story associated with the creature’s origins. Obviously, one of the most popular legends is that of the vampire. Blood-suckers have been in our history for as far back as records go, granted they might have gone by a different name.

Bram Stoker’s book, DRACULA, introduced probably the most recognized vampire of all time. The titular character has been personified in countless tales, books, and films, as has his origin story…but who is the real basis for this alluring, aristocratic figure? THE TRAIL OF DRACULA delves into this enigma and offers a bit of academic insight.

If you are not familiar with THE TRAIL OF DRACULA, here is the plot synopsis courtesy of Intervision Picture Corp:

Diabolical. Seductive. Immortal.
Vampires have been an icon of evil in folklore and popular culture for more than three centuries, yet only one name still personifies the ultimate aristocrat of bloodlust. Now join the world’s foremost experts on Dracula including academics, authors and horror historians as they explore the untold story of the Transylvanian Count, from the legend of Vlad the Impaler and Bram Stoker’s celebrated novel through its landmark stage productions and classic movie adaptations. It’s a crimson trail of twisted archival materials, startling film clips and rare interviews featuring Bela Lugosi, John Carradine and Christopher Lee plus Bonus Materials that include additional interviews with Udo Kier and Werner Herzog, over 90 minutes of Dracula movie trailers, and more!

I will state up front that I enjoyed this documentary, however it is rather short (clocking in at about 63 minutes), and it offers up more questions than answers. Still, it does a good job of crossing off a few suggested theories that have been around for a while.

THE TRAIL OF DRACULA is shot well and looks good overall. The film weaves archival film footage with interviews of professionals who have studied the history of Stoker’s book and its origins. I like how the film footage is used, as it helps keep the mysterious atmosphere elevated while the study unfolds.

I also found it interesting that many scholars now do NOT think Dracula is based on Vlad the Impaler. I have heard this theory for many years, and it always sounded logical. But new evidence presented in this documentary sheds a bit more light on Vlad and discusses why he would not be a logical choice.

THE TRAIL OF DRACULA is a thought-provoking look into a mythical figure that the majority of the world is familiar with in one way or another. Although it only scratches the surface of what is sure to be a lengthy and thorough analysis for future generations, this documentary is an excellent starting point on which to base your own fact-finding. It is available now.

MSB

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