Although Dracula may be the most famous literary character of all time, I felt I had something new to add with my adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel. In most film adaptations Dracula is sexually glamorized (Bela Lugosi, Christopher Lee, Frank Langella, Gary Oldman), whereas Bram Stoker’s Dracula is a sociopath and parasite who views people as deposable resources, and is sexually repellent. To me the core of this novel is not about the sexual allure of the vampire, but rather the story of a marriage possessed by a demon. It is a love story, but Dracula is not the lover; the real lovers of the story are the Harkers, the couple whose marriage is possessed by Dracula, and who attempt to fight the demon that is destroying their lives. The novel was published in 1897 but seems to prefigure later awareness of psychoanalysis and incest trauma, so this became my way into the story. The novel also has been (accurately) interpreted to have an anti-Semitic subtext which I did not want to perpetuate, so in my version Van Helsing, the famous and devout Christian vampire hunter who uses a cross to subdue his nemesis, becomes a Jewish psychoanalyst, whose weapons are still the stake and mallet, but more significantly the painful process of bringing the unconscious to consciousness. Dracula’s underground mass graves (also my addition) suggest that this Victorian Gothic horror story predicts the genocide of the 20th Century. In short I have both jettisoned and taken on some baggage in order to reveal a truth at the heart of the vampire story —that buried trauma will rise again. The film contains adult themes, violence and sexual imagery.
Dracula won best animated film at three festivals and also best score: the music by Rachel Knight for solo electric guitar perfectly matches the images, creating both a vortex of dread and the vibration of hope. Dracula premiered in Los Angeles at the Independent Filmmaker's Showcase, where it won Best Animated Film. It premiered in Portland at the The Hollywood Theater in conjunction with an exhibition of drawings from the film at Augen Gallery. Dracula premiered in Boston at the Berklee College of Music, where the composer received her degree.