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Dracula Gets a Makeover for the ISIS Age in Dracula Untold
By SP_COP on October 10, 2014 | From io9.com
Dracula Gets a Makeover for the ISIS Age in Dracula Untold Almost every modern Dracula retelling includes some kind of flashback to the vampire's origin, which is more or less tragic depending on whether he's the hero of the story. Now, with Dracula Untold, we've finally got an entire movie devoted to the undeath of Transylvanian prince Vlad Tepes and it's cheesy as hell.

Probably the most intriguing part of this reboot, for fans of the original novel and all its myriad remakes throughout the past century, is the way this film turns its evil, fanged impostor into a hero. Not to put too fine a point on it, the answer is a racism update. Bram Stoker's original Victorian novel was a swashbuckling anti-immigrant tale. It was explicitly about how those creepy Eastern Europeans were buying up British real estate and turning all the nice Western women into blood whores. Most early Dracula movies, including the classic 1931 version with Hungarian actor Bela Lugosi, conflate the monster's foreignness with his undeadness. Even the classic "I vant to suck your blud" joke is about Dracula's accent, not his taste for eating people.

But the hatred of Eastern European immigrants became less relevant as time wore on. Eventually, as actors like young Frank Langella and Gary Oldman inhabited the role, the monster was rehabilitated as a handsome stranger whose foreign origins added to his gothic appeal. Still, if you're going to reinvent the monster as a full-blown hero, star of what the studio is claiming will be a new Universal monster franchise, he can't just be a sexy outsider with a charmingly dilapidated castle. We need to bring back the original racist frisson of Stoker's novel. That's why Vlad Tepes in Dracula Untold has to be fighting Muslims. Because of course.

In this version of the story, Transylvania is under attack by Mehmed, the Turkish Sultan's military leader. And nothing could be more upsetting to old Vlad than to find Turks on his land. That's because when Vlad was a child, the Sultan demanded tribute in the form of strapping young boys to fill out his troops and Vlad's father handed his son over to the Turkish, to be raised alongside Mehmed in the Ottoman Empire's army. Of course, Vlad was the biggest badass the Turks had ever seen, which is how he became known as "the Impaler."...
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