Sunday, December 13, 2015

Dracula Untold presents excellent vampire movie with historical details

Director Gary Shore has provided us with a truly decent new Dracula movie. Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans, delves into the back story of Dracula. We meet him before he is actually a supernatural monster although he has a monstrous reputation. He's known as the impaler for a gory battle against the Turks.

The movie opens from the perspective of his young son, who begins this story of how and why Dracula took on his eternal blood hunger and damnation. It's the 15th century, and Dracula's little corner of Transylvania is ruled by the Ottoman Turks. He pays tribute to the Sultan, but when the Sultan demands a tribute of 1,000 boys to join his Janissary soldiers, Dracula balks. Then, the Sultan demands Dracula's son as part of the tribute, and Dracula refuses. Such demands of boys for the Janissaries is a historically accurate detail in the movie. The vast army of the Ottomans was supplemented for years by taking boys from conquered territories and sending them to be raised as Muslims and trained as soldiers.

Because Draculas has no Earthly way to battle back the vengeful Turks, he goes into a mountain where he knows a terrible creature dwells. He makes a pact with the creature that is imprisoned there. He drinks of the creature's blood to gain supernatural abilities, but with this act comes the thirst for blood. If he can go three days without giving in to his desire for blood, the spell will end, and his mortal state will return. If he drinks blood, however, he'll become a vampire and the creature in the mountain will be freed of the curse binding him in his cave.

As you can well imagine, a crisis provokes Dracula to drink blood because he needs to retain his powers during a prolonged battle with the Sultan.

Overall, Dracula Untold was well paced and exciting. I give it 4 out of 5 stars. I knocked off a star for some unbelievable elements, like the Sultan getting an army of 100,000 men into Transylvania overnight. Something not even a modern army could achieve.


If you'd like to discover another historical fantasy set in the 16th century Holy Roman Empire, I recommend the first book of my series-in-progress, Werelord Thal: A Renaissance Werewolf Tale.

Thal is wanted for Devil worship and shape shifting but still boldly walks the streets of 16th century Prague. Jesuits hunt him. Mercenaries fear him. Musicians sing his praise, and women are captivated by his alpha swagger.

Born of a witch and a sorcerer, he is summoned when his desperate mother casts the werewolf spell before facing torture and execution. Burdened with her magical call for vengeance Thal seeks the men that killed her. His hunt is complicated when the Magistrate’s stepdaughter Altea Kardas crosses his path. Horrified that her community is burning women to death, she can confide her doubt and fear only to Thal.

He desires her greatly but knows he will bring ruin upon her. Across Bohemia and beyond people who are different are labeled heretics in a restless world hobbled by tyrannical ignorance. The Renaissance has thrown the Holy Roman Empire into turmoil. Printed books are spreading radical ideas. Firearms are triggering a new age of warfare. And the human spirit is shaking off obedience.

Thal embodies the ancient magic of the pagan past. He challenges a world conquered by a spiritual system that denies the flesh and forgets the Earth. And he awakens within Altea recognition of these truths. She believes any risk is worth loving him until she becomes the bait in a trap set by Thal’s enemies.

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