a.k.a. Dracula, Vlad the Impaler's life sparked centuries of horror tales and strategic thought. Still his POV was unseen, until now.
Now that you've seen the video, this you must understand. "Impaler" was conceived as a large scale dramatic feature. Here I am seeking your donations to complete its second stage. Its first stage was development, done here and abroad. Its third stage will be making an 18 million dollar motion picture slated for production in Hungary. Now I need that last push to present this project to major funders. That presentation requires an effective package.which this second stage, with your help, will produce. I've made it over halfway across a metaphorical Amazon, accomplishing things yet unheard of by a lone independent at this level. I'm asking you to help me complete that journey. Read on...
Welcome to a tale that took over 500 years to unfold! His real name was Prince Vlad III, Vladislaus Drakulya (Prince of Wallachia, Duke of Transylvania; 2/3rds of modern Romania). He ruled in the 15th century (1431-1472) as a fierce tyrant who used impalement (a then common form of capital punishment) to horrifying extreme. His crimes were so shocking that, some thirty years after his death, he became a popular subject in medieval horror stories. Those stories circulated in short pamphlets throughout Europe to meet an insatiable hunger for the gruesome. Vlad’s morbid exploits became wildly popular, and he became known as ‘Vlad the Impaler”.
Four centuries later when Bram Stoker came across those same illustrated horror stories, he created the character of Dracula. Several of those pamphlets depict Vlad drinking blood in a field of impaled corpses. It was no stretch for Stoker to imagine the modern vampire from there. However, it was Vlad who initially created the characterization as part of a very effective terror campaign.
He used the newly invented printing press to spread images that his principalities, then vied over by both the Christian and Ottoman Empires alike, were the realm of this supernatural, bloodthirsty madman. Like it or not, Vlad introduced psychological terrorism mated to guerilla warfare as an effective military strategy against a greater foe (the Ottoman Empire). It remains so to this day.
Vlad also took what had previously been a spiritual being, the vampire, and physically embodied it. He transformed himself into the first modern vampire, a manifested spirit of evil. It was brilliantly effective propaganda, in a time controlled by superstition. In that way Vlad mated physical terror (mass impalements) to psychological terror (fear of a ‘living’ vampire) and used that as political strategy for the first time in Western history.
The newly invented printing press and the public’s love of scary stories made it all possible. Vlad understood peoples need to believe that there is truth behind any salacious rumor, the more depraved the better. That, he fully exploited.
No one wanted to mess with Vlad; his legend alone kept the Ottoman Empire from wanting to invade Europe until 60 years after his death. Ironically, Vlad was so good at what he did that the myth he created about himself is believed to this day. People still think Transylvania’s creepy. (It’s actually beautiful) Of course we’re too sophisticated to believe in vampires, so today we call them psychopaths.
Interestingly, Vlad’s myth only holds up if you don’t start digging into his accomplishments. Unveiling that part of his character is what historians, journalists, minstrels and story tellers haven’t focused on for nearly 600 years. That’s because Vlad was the first of the Renaissance princes, and the last of the great medieval tyrants. His persona expressed both. It’s much easier to say that the guy was just wicked crazy, and leave it alone.
Which for me, who read the court records, missives, ambassador’s briefs, Pope’s letters, etc. just didn’t add up. Here was Robin Hood, Hannibal Lecter, Che Guevara, Nosferatu - with a taste of prime Mick Jagger. Vlad had a superstar’s charisma and threw the most desirable parties in Europe to attend, or so the chroniclers said. The numbers didn’t add up either. Why would any feudal prince kill almost his entire population? He’d lose his power, by losing his means of support. No one would be left to tend the crops in the “breadbasket of Europe”. Wait.
I asked myself, what if this guy wasn’t insane, just really devious. That’s when I departed from the history books and started to imagine. How would all the facts we know look, if the person behind them wasn’t mad but brilliant?
Through all his machinations, victories and failures, Vlad did leave me with one burning reminder:
In life, we have only our passion.
If we surrender, or lose that passion, we:
“…have no life, no joy, no honor…”, transforming at last, into mere “…flesh that walks.” he said.
Rarely do the living dead warn against the dead living.
Was he madly brilliant, or brilliantly mad?
Our movie is slated for production in Budapest, Hungary. A good deal of Vlad’s life took place in a marvelous medieval castle in Transylvania called Castle Hunyadi. When I was there, I learned to my dismay that it’s smack in the middle of an oil refinery. Luckily the Hungarians built an exact replica in Budapest, where there are also now two, world class studios (Korda and Raleigh).
The present production team on "IMPALER includes Jean-Michel Hugon in the Art Deparment( Bertolucci’s "The Last Emperor," "Interview with the Vampire," " Da Vinci Code"); Steven B. Cohen in Post Production (18 years, Sony Pictures); and Associate Producer: Elizabeth ‘Betty’ Buckley ("Silkwood" "Tender Mercies," 2 Emmy winning TV series). I am both project producer and writer. My immediate plans are to create our art department package with Jean-Michel, do a re-scout, and visit the studios we may use, this autumn in Europe.
We cover the time period spanning Vlad’s early life as a political hostage in Istanbul (age 8), through to his reported death (age 45), and beyond into his legend, bringing his story into the present time.
Your generosity can help us make this happen, please donate and spread the word about us.
Many thanks and Pax Vobiscum to each of you!
Have a question? If the info above doesn't help, you can ask the project creator directly.
pledged of $29,000 goal
seconds to go
Funding Unsuccessful This project reached the deadline without achieving its funding goal on June 5, 2012.
Apr 6, 2012 - Jun 5, 2012 (60 days)
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Thank you! Thank you! Thank you! - emailEstimated delivery: Jun 2012
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$10+ Exclusive thank you postcard from the Impaler projectEstimated delivery: Jun 2012
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Same as for $10+. PLUS quarterly email updates on the status of the project up until full funding for the project concludes.Estimated delivery: Jun 2012
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Same as for $15+. PLUS ability to e-query one question about the project to the writer/producer (LIMIT one query per individual donor), and receive an e-answer. Can not reveal plot lines or other protected information, please don't ask, PLUS complimentary DVD of "Impaler' when released to DVD.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Same as for $25, PLUS bring in 2 more donors at $30. or more and you'll receive a $55. level reward instead! Requires verification by those referred.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Same as for $25+., PLUS an exclusive project image printed on a replica 15th century press. Hand numbered.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Hand inscribed thank-you postcard from writer/producer PLUS the email updates PLUS an exclusive, framed project image printed on a replica 15th century press, w/Vlad's signature, hand numbered. International donors, please add $15.00 to cover S&H costs.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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As for $75 except email updates will come monthly (beginning July), PLUS one framed rose petal plucked from Vlad's palace grounds by writer/producer at Targoviste. LIMITED to first six donors of $100+. Additional donors of $100+, will receive as for $75+. PLUS two location stills to be taken during our autumn 2012 rescout; they will become available to donors in the winter of 2012/2013, PLUS personal 'thank you' phone call from the writer/producer TBA. International donors please add $15.00 to cover S&H costs.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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Personalized monthly email updates up to full funding PLUS personalized thank you postcard from writer/producer PLUS 3 location stills PLUS framed exclusive project image created on a replica 15th century printing press. Stills available est. winter 2012/ Spring 2013 International donors please add $15.00 to cover S&H costs.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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As for $250+.,PLUS a hand fashioned, personally inscribed, hand numbered copy of "The Vlad Chronicles" - this project's backstory, including script development, first location scout and adventures of the past decade, its frontpiece will be hand-colored, made on the 15th century replica press PLUS screen acknowledgement as 'First Donors'. Book will NOT be sent prior to principal photography commencement and will require the signing of an NDA before receipt, exclusive to donors, unavailable to the public (estimated winter 2013.) Your personlized email updates will continue up to principal photography commencement. (est. autumn 2013); PLUS complimentary DVD of the completed film when available. International donors please add $25.00 to cover S&H costs.Estimated delivery: Aug 2012
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As for $500+. PLUS 2 more location stills (5 total) AND "The Vlad Chronicles" copy you receive will be vellum bound, PLUS your updates will continue to wrap, PLUS numbered complimentary DVD of the completed film when available; PLUS screen acknowledgement as "Bold Benefactors". International donors please add $25.00 to cover S&H costsEstimated delivery: Dec 2012
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As for $1000+. PLUS a professionally produced and signed photograph of you and the writer/producer with your vellum bound copy of "The Vlad Chronicles" reviewing the location stills. The frontpiece on this edition will be handcolored, numbered and gold leafed. Truly unique and personal, PLUS invitation to the private set, TBA, travel/lodging expenses not included (estimated autumn 2013).PLUS personalized updates to post production, PLUS screen acknowledgement as 'Brave Allies'. International donors please add $25.00 to cover S&H costsEstimated delivery: Mar 2013
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As for $3000+. PLUS bring a guest to the private set with you. Visit with us for two days. Travel/lodging expenses not included. Estimated to commence in the autumn of 2013. TBA, PLUS screen acknowledgement as 'Project Allies' International donors please add $25.00 to cover S&H costs.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013
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As for $5000. PLUS invitation to the premier for self and one guest of choice, PLUS personalized monthly email updates through post-production, PLUS screen acknowledgement as "Project Catalysts" Final delivery TBA, dependent upon distributor's scheduling.Estimated delivery: Mar 2013