Dracula is a timeless classic. I will fight you if you say otherwise. There is a reason why vampire fiction has turned into a full-fledged genre, and it’s all thanks to Bram Stoker’s blood-sucking masterpiece. Stoker’s Dracula paved way for all that we know about vampires, and defined their roles in popular culture, where they’ve continued to reign over centuries. So if you were to tell me that the makers ‘Doctor Who’ and ‘Sherlock’ were working on a new adaptation of this delicious two-fanged classic, I’ll bite.
This new year we have Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat reuniting to give to us ‘Dracula’ that promises to leave us compelled with its blood-drenched magic and dark humour. The adaptation is a 3 episode long mini-series for BBC One and Netflix that will certainly leave us thirsty for more. It features our favourite Transylvanian count, played by Claes Bang. It also introduces a female Van Helsing, who is, wait for it, a nun (!!). Dolly Wells plays Sister Agatha Van Helsing. The cast also includes John Heffernan as Jonathan Harker and Morfydd Clark as Mina Harker, along with Joanna Scanlan, Lujza Richter and Mark Gatiss.
‘Dracula’ takes us back to the dark gothic times of the late 19th century and presents to us a grotesquely stunning imagery, with the Count’s castle in Transylvania, the eerie but charming gothic architecture, and of course, a lot, and lot of blood. In case you’re wondering where ‘Dracula’ was filmed, and why, you’re at the right place. Here’s everything we know about it.
Dracula Filming Locations
Gatiss and Moffat’s collaborations are known for their aesthetics. This can be seen in both ‘Sherlock’ and ‘Doctor Who’. ‘Dracula’, then, is another addition to the list. The production team went an extra mile to recreate the gothic style of Stoker’s Dracula for the mini-series, along with creating brilliantly grotesque imagery that adds to the freakishly charming and creepy quality to the insatiable count. They did a spectacular job at recreating Castle Dracula as well as the Demeter, and even shot on location, in the exact setting as Stoker’s novel for the series’ final episode.
The first episode of ‘Dracula’, titled “The Rules of the Beast” is set the famous Castle Dracula, the fictitious Transylvanian residence of Count Dracula. Though Transylvania is in central Romania, the shooting of the first episode actually took place in Slovakia, which served as a double to the historic region known for its gothic architecture.
The exterior shots of Castle Dracula actually make use of Orava Castle, which is situated around Orava river in the village of Oravsky Podzamok, Slovakia. Interestingly, this is the same castle that was extensively filmed in the 1922 horror classic ‘Nosferatu’ – the first vampire film ever made.
But shooting in Slovakia posed certain challenges especially due to the weather because of which they had to reshoot the beginning of the episode. Mark Gatiss stated that there was a “magical snowstorm” throughout their time because of which they had reshoot the beginning as in the first shot it wasn’t snowing.
Bray Studios, Berkshire
The interiors of the castle were filmed in Bray Studios, Berkshire, which also where the 1958 version of ‘Dracula’, starring Christopher Lee, was filmed. The sets were designed by Arwel Wyn Jones, who also was also the designer in ‘Sherlock.
The second episode of Dracula, titled, “Blood Vessels”, was entirely filmed in Bray Studios, as the episode is set in The Demeter, the famous ship that takes the count from Transylvania to Whitby, and also the ship in which he goes on to kill the entire crew. The entire ship was built completely from scratch for the series in about six weeks time. They couldn’t make use of a real ship due to space issues, and instead decided to build one on set, and make use of computer generated water instead.
Some parts of the series were also shot in Oakley Court, a Victorian Gothic country house in Bray. Oakley Court had previously been used for ‘Plague of Zombies’ and the 1974 version of ‘Dracula’, starring Jack Palance, and is also the house from ‘Rocky Horror Show’.
Whitby, North Yorkshire
The episode of ‘Dracula’, titled, “The Dark Compass”, takes us to Whitby, both as the episode is set there and filmed there. The episode makes use of the real location from Bram Stoker’s Dracula as a way to stay authentic, and also faithful to the book. Stoker found some of his inspiration for the blood-sucking classic after staying in Whitby around 1890.
This comes as no surprise given Whitby’s windswept headlines, the old church, and of course, the famous Whitby Abbey, with its dramatic ruins, all of which play a key role in Dracula’s story. Along with these locations, some parts of the series were also filmed at Henley Road Cemetery in Caversham. BBC’s ‘Dracula’, thus, very authentically builds Stoker’s eerie gothic world that inhabited the count, and also stays true to the long history of its creation and recreations.
Read More: Dracula Review