Interview: Underground Cinema Film Festival: Dacre Stoker, great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker

Listen to them - children of the night. What music they make

Carmen Bryce was able to suck some blood from Dacre Stoker, great grand-nephew of Bram Stoker and author of Dracula: The Un-Dead and The Lost Journal of Bram Stoker, the Dublin Years, who is appearing at the dead of night at the Underground Cinema Film Festival which is currently taking bloody place in Dun Laoghaire from 13th-16th September.

Q- How are you involved in this year’s Underground Film Festival?

A – I’m at the festival to give a bit of background to this amazing story Bram Stoker wrote with Dracula and the mysteries behind the story. Screening at the festival is the 1992 Francis Ford Coppola adaptation of Dracula written by James Heart, which I will be introducing. In my opinion, and many others, Coppola’s version is a really close adaptation, with a few twists of its own, of Bram’s novel. It’s been a very difficult novel to adapt into a movie as it was written in the epistolary style but Coppola did a great job in achieving this. I will also be introducing James Heart with a Skype link from New York. He will be talking about how and why he wrote the screenplay the way he did.

Q – Dracula is perhaps the most famous horror figure ever created. Can you explain the longevity of Stoker’s story and our fascination with his monster?

A- The story of Dracula is immortal itself. Even today, the modern vampire craze shows that the myth of Dracula is still very much alive today. Ironically, the novel wasn’t instantly classified as a classic and it wasn’t until the 1970s that the public recognised it as one. One of the reasons the story has stood the time is that it’s a story that can be interpreted on many different levels. It can be viewed as a portal into Victorian society and all the issues they were dealing with – women’s rights, sexuality, modern technology. The one theme that I personally feel is prevalent is immortality. The story revolves around a creature that is immortal and every person at one stage ponders their own immortality, it’s an alluring subject. It makes the creature of Dracula and the story, endlessly exciting. Dracula is a complex character. He longs at times for a human connection. At times he is repulsed by who he is and what he is and yet other times he embraces and flaunts it. He’s not just a monster. He was a romantic but he was also a survivor, a brutal predator. This complexity cannot be solved and therefore continues to be examined and re-defined by various directors, producers and writers.

Carmen Bryce

James Heart Skype call, Saturday, 15th September, 5pm, Laurel Suite, the Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire.

20th Anniversary Screening of Francis Ford Coppola’s Dracula, introduced by Dacre Stoker, Saturday, 15th September, 8.15pm, Martello Suite, Royal Marine Hotel, Dun Laoghaire.

The Underground Cinema Film Festival (UCFF) in Dun Laoghaire celebrates the best of Irish Independent Cinema screening a selection of some of the best short  and feature films made by Irish independent filmmakers. The festival takes place 13th-16th September.

Click here for the festival’s full schedule


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