• Short Summary

    "Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy -- with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes.

  • Description


    THE PEN OF BRAM STOCKER PRODUCED ONE OF THE WORLD'S MOST ENDURING MONSTERS. FOR DEVOTEES OF THE CULT HE STARTED, COUNT DRACULA'S DOMAIN IN TRANSYLVANIA...NOW A PROVINCE OF ROMANIA... HAS LONG BEEN A PLACE OF PILGRIMAGE.



    EVERY YEAR, THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS, EUROPEANS, EVEN SOME AUSTRALIANS, VISIT ROMANIA FOR ORGANISED TOURS OF SPOOKY CASTLES, ONCE INHABITED BY THE TRANSYLVANIA GHOUL. THIS GROUP IS OFF TO SEE ONE OF THEM...GALLEC POENARI CASTLE. IT SITS ASTRIDE A MOUNTAIN PASS OFT??? SHROUDED IN MIST, THAT RUNS THROUGH THE CARPATHIAN MOUNTAINS IN CENTRAL ROMANIA. TO THE SOUTH IS THE PROVINCE OF WALIACHIA, TO THE NORTH, TRANSYLVANIA.



    THE MOUNTAINS ARE AS MUCH A BARRIER IN MODERN TIMES AS THEY WERE FIVE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, WHEN A ROMANIAN PRINCE CALLED VLAD TEPES RULED THE DISTRICT. IT WAS OVER THESE PATHS AND ALONG THE MOUNTAIN STREAMS THAT THE INVADING TURKS SWARMED INTO EASTERN AND NORTHERN EUROPE. MANY AND BRUTAL WERE THE BATTLES WHICH RAGED AROUND THESE PARTS..BETWEEN THE TURKS AND THE FOLLOWERS OF VLAD TEPES.



    VLAD'S FAMILY WAS RENOWN FOR THEIR FIGHTING SKILL. HIS FATHER EARNED THE NICKNAME OF VLAD DRACUL, OR DEVIL, FOR PLUNGING DOWN ON THE ENEMY FROM HIS MISTY HIDEOUTS. IN THE ROMANIAN LANGUAGE, A SON TOOK THE LETTERS ELAY TO HIS NAME, HENCE VLAD DRACULA, AND A NAME WHICH STOKER WAS TO IMMORTALISE.



    IN ONE BATTLE NOW FAMOUS IN ROMANIA, VLAD TEPES LEFT THE BODIES OF HIS TURKISH VICTIMS SKEWERED ON STAKES...THE HIGHER THE STAKE, THE HIGHER THEIR RANK. ACCOUNTS OF THE BATTLE LATER REACHED THE BRITISH MUSEUM, EVENTUALLY FOR BRAM STOKER TO READ AND ADAPT. A TWIST OF HISTORY BY STOKER, AND ITS NOW DRACULA WHO GETS HIS JUST REWARD.



    DESPITE HIS BAD HABITS, AND AFTER YEARS OF NEGLECT, DRACULA, OR RATHER THE PRINCE, IS ENJOYING A COMEBACK. IN CEREMONIES TO COMMEMORATE THE ONE-HUNDREDTH ANNIVERSARY OF ROMANIA'S FULL INDEF????ENCE FROM TURKEY, VLAD WAS SOLEMNLY INCLUDED AMONG THE NATION'S HEROES, FOR HIS HISTORIC PATRIOTISM IN BATTLING THE TURKS.



    THE ROMANIA'S DON'T OFFICIALLY ACKNOWLEDGE THE CHARACTER OF DRACULA...THE FILMS ARE NEVER SHOWN IN THE NATION'S CINEMAS. BUT THEY'RE HAPPY TO MAKE HANDSOME PROFITS FROM THE FANTASIES OF VISITING TOURISTS. AND IF THEY CAN ENLIGHTEN THE TOURISTS ON THEIR MISCONCEPTIONS, AND STRAIGHTEN OUT WHAT THEY CONSIDER TO BE A DISTORTING OF PRINCE VLAD'S TRUE PLACE IN HISTORY, THEN SO MUCH THE BETTER. AS PART OF THE PRINCE'S REHABILITATION, HIS BIRTHPLACE IN THE MEDIEVAL TOWN OF SIGHISOARA IS BEING RESTORED.



    THE ROMANIANS CLAIM THIS TOWN TO BE THE BEST PRESERVED MEDIEVAL TOWN IN EUROPE. THEY'VE FULLY RESTORES SOME OF ITS OLD DEFENCE, LIKE THIS WATCHTOWER.



    THE TOWN, AND THE WALL BENEATH, WERE IN RESPONSIBILITY OF A PARTICULAR ??? CHILD IN THE TOWN..AROUND HERE THE SHOE MAKERS WERE SUPREME. THEIR RESPONSIBILITY WAS TAKEN SERIOUSLY. FOR NO SHAME ??? SMEAR THE NAME OF THE GUILD.



    THESE STREETS DATE BACK ALMOST SEVEN HUNDRED YEARS, TO THE TIME WHEN SIGHISOARA WAS A COLONY OF GERMAN MERCHANTS. THEY WERE INVITED IN BY THE RULING HUNGARIANS, WHO FELT THEMSELVES INSUFFICIENT IN NUMBER TO CONTROL THE ROMANIAN PEASANTRY.



    BRAN CASTLE...IN SOUTHERN TRANSYLVANIA. IT'S HERE THAT FACT AND FICTION COINCIDE TO PRODUCE THE HAPPIEST COMPROMISE BETWEEN HISTORY AND THE TOURIST. A VISIT TO THE CASTLE IS OFTEN HIGH ON THE TOURISTS ITINERARY. ONCE THE ROMANIAN AUTHORITIES WERE NOT KEEN FOR IT TO BECOME ASSOCIATED WITH VLAD TEPES, FOR THE RECORDS SHOW HE EVER STAYED HERE, EVEN TO HAVE A MEAL. BUT HIS GRANDFATHER CONTROLLED THE CASTLE FOR FIFTY YEARS, AND IT FORMED PART OF TRANSYLVANIA'S SOUTHERN DEFENCE AGAINST THE TURKS IN VLAD'S TIME.



    THE CASTLE WAS BUILT EXACTLY SIX HUNDRED YEARS AGO. ITS VIRTUALLY IN ORIGINAL SHAPE, WITH THE EXCEPTION OF THE WATCHTOWER. THE LOCAL UNDERSTANDING OF ??? THEN WAS SOMEWHAT HAZY, AND THE TOWER WAS TWICE STRUCK BY LIGHTNING BEFORE ??? PREVAILED.



    VLAD'S OWN LIFE WAS FAR FROM PEACEFUL. FOR THIRTY YEARS HE ASPIRED TO THE THRONE OF THE KINGDOM OF WALLACHIA. HE MADE IT, ONLY TO BE DEPOSED FOUR TIMES. THE NO???ILITY DISLIKED THE WAY HE CULTIVATE THE PER??? FOR HIS VOLUNTEER ARMY.



    THE LAKESIDE REEDS PARTIALLY CONCEAL THE FINAL SANCTUARY OF VLAD TEPES. IT'S AN ISLAND RETREAT, NOT FAR NORTH OF BE???CHAREST.



    IN 1456, VLAD WAS KILLED BY THE TURKS IN A BATTLE NOT FAR FROM HERE. THE TURKS CHOPPED OFF HIS HEAD, AND TOOK IT TO DISPLAY IN CONSTANTINOPLE, TO PROVE ONE AND FOR ALL THAT THEY HAD DONE IN THEIR INTREPID FOE. THE LOCALS MEANWHILE GATHERED UP THE REST OF VLAD'S BODY AN BURIED IT JUST INSIDE THIS D???WAY. I 1931, ARCHAEOLOGISTS DUG UP THE GRAVE, WHILE THEY FOU??? THE ??? THEY DISCOVERED ??? THAT ??? HAD BEEN BURIED HERE AT LEAST ??? HAD A ???. THE STORY GOES THAT THE LOCALS ??? TO HAVE THEIR HEROES HEAD RETURNED, SO THAT VLAD TE??? ??? HAVE A DECENT AND ???



    DRACULA MIGHT HAVE DIED A THOUSAND DEATHS ON STARE, SCREEN AND TELEVISION. BUT HIS LETHAL CLAMOUR LIN??? ON...AS INDE??? AS THE WORLD'S LOVE OF HORROR, AND FEAR OF DEATH.




    Initials



    Script is copyright Reuters Limited. All rights reserved

    Background: "Have you seen that awful den of hellish infamy -- with the very moonlight alive with grisly shapes. have you felt the vampire's lips upon your throat?" ....the words of Irish novelist Bram Stoker in his book Dracula.

    A stake through the heart ended Dracula's nasty habit of drinking human blood as he flitted around mist-shrouded castles in Transylvania. But for eighty years Stoker's horrific creations have been sending shivers up spines. His book's never been out of print and it's spawned I00 movies.

    Whether one finds Dracula a scream or a pain in the neck there's no denying his pulling power. And in Dracula country, now a province of Romania, the tourist buses are usually full. Dracula, despite the stake through his heart, is showing increasing signs of life.

  • Tags

  • Data

    Film ID:
    VLVAACEMRSTUFNHT5HCR1F74MOX6Z
    Media URN:
    VLVAACEMRSTUFNHT5HCR1F74MOX6Z
    Group:
    Reuters - Source to be Verified
    Archive:
    Reuters
    Issue Date:
    07/02/1978
    Sound:
    Unknown
    HD Format:
    Available on request
    Stock:
    Colour
    Duration:
    00:11:08:00
    Time in/Out:
    /
    Canister:
    N/A

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