Romania, cinema and vampires

It is highly recommended to visit the countries of the East, which suffered from the scourge of communism and are now trying to approach Western Europe, to which they send hundreds of thousands of emigrants. Romania is a country of agricultural vocation with beautiful scenery, although it also has a certain industrial capacity, according to its GDP it is the 62nd country among almost 200, Spain the 15th. A circuit there gave us the contemplation of medieval cities, dense forests of beeches, oaks and firs in the many foothills of the Carpathians, lakes, rivers and streams where thousands of bears move. Medieval cities, palaces and castles in which Vlad Tepes, The Impaler, supposedly once lived, who executed his enemies by inserting a piece of wood through his body, in the 19th century inspired the Irishman Bran Stoker the figure of Count Dracula and his vampire dalliances .

Bucharest with its great parks and wide boulevards in the style of Paris, the beautiful Sighisoara, a World Heritage Site with its towers, Brasov and the painted monasteries of the north with their brightly colored frescoes on both the exterior and interior walls of the sanctuaries, Bran with its 14th-century fortress known as Dracula’s castle are images that remind us of the harmony of this country, where people live at a leisurely pace and where, surprisingly, there are more BMW cars than Dacia, the national brand . Romanians want to show off, says the guide, and even if they have problems, they prefer German cars. They no longer want to be so poor.

There are places whose image has been built through literature and cinema. The most photographed country, the USA, is also the one that best spreads the seventh art. We also associate Kenya and safaris with the film Out of Africa, by the Danish writer who used the pseudonym Isak Dinesen. For its part, Spain was built for North Americans through Hemingway’s books and bullfighting. And Romania is a place we associate with vampires, Count Dracula, the Irish Bran Stoker’s book published in 1847 and the subsequent 1989 Hollywood movie, Coppola’s masterpiece. Since then, Romanians claim that Count Dracula lived here and there, but there is much imagination. Of course, vampires were one of the first myths of cinema, from German expressionism to today, they are a horror classic, a nightmare of our minds.

Cinema and literature have delved into legends and popular folklore, in reality Vlad Tepes was a cruel ruler and there was also a woman who had something to do with this breeding ground. Elizabeth Bathory, the Blood Countess, belonged to one of the most powerful families in Transylvania and she is remembered as supposedly responsible for the death of 650 maidens that she murdered for her obsession with bathing in virgin blood. She believed that doing so prevented her wrinkles and age deterioration, it is a historical theme also developed in the cinema.

Forget about vampires as sinister creatures that wake up at midnight to ingest fresh blood, they are just a myth. Well, in the memory of the Romanians, the true vampires were Ceausescu and his wife, to whom a host of lightnesses are attributed. And, above all, the megalomania of someone who demolished the old neighborhood to build a monstrous People’s Palace. This huge building is the most bombastic and exhibitionist symbol of the dictator. He was overthrown at Christmas 1989 after 32 years of rule, prosecuted in a trial broadcast on television and executed along with his wife, Elena. A quick, irregular trial, which ended with the terrible images of the executions on December 25. A long period in which the population had been oppressed, and had suffered from food rationing while the dictator basked in luxury, was coming to an end.

Romania, cinema and vampires