Fireside Chats: Dracula and the Plague
The 1973 Hammer classic—and it is dubbed a classic in my opinion simply because it is a Hammer film—featured Christopher Lee in his last appearance as the Count for Hammer Studios, as the mastermind of an evil plot to release a newly souped-up version of bubonic plague on the world. It was initially entitled DRACULA IS DEAD…AND WELL AND LIVING IN LONDON, which was really, really stupid. Sir Christopher Lee thought so too, saying: “I’m doing it under protest…I think it is fatuous. I can think of twenty adjectives–fatuous, pointless, absurd…I don’t see the point.” Never one to mince words, was our dear Mr. Lee?
The connection between bubonic plague and Dracula didn’t begin with this movie, though. This linked article is awkwardly written—I suspect English was not the first language of the reporter—but it contains some interesting stuff. The link between pestilence and vampires is as old as both. From the article: “…vampires were often associated, one way or another, with the Black Death throughout Europe. In Northern and Central Europe, vampires were thought to be bringers of plague. On the other hand, in Southern Europe, it was believed that the Black Death itself attracted vampires. Those accused of being vampires, or doing vampirism, were simply executed with certain techniques to ensure they won’t back alive from their graves—such as placing their decapitated head between their legs…” Hmm. “Doing vampirism.” Never heard it quite put like that. So Dracula was guilty of “doing vampirism.” Shame on him.
WAYNE MILLER is the owner and creative director of EVIL CHEEZ PRODUCTIONS, specializing in theatrical performances and haunted attractions. He has written, produced, and directed (and occasionally acted in) over two dozen plays, most of them in the Horror and True Crime genres. He obtained a doctorate in Occult Studies from Miskatonic University and is an active paranormal investigator. Is frequently told he resembles Anton Lavey. And Ming the Merciless.
Denn die totden reiten schnell!