Actual, Real Romanian Vampires for a Change.
Bram Stoker has a lot to answer for; especially as far as the Romanians are concerned. Stoker’s use of the historical figure of Vlad III, Prince of Wallachia, better known as Vlad the Impaler, as the basis for his vampiric count, Dracula (Drăculea was Vlad III’s family name) has led to endless misrepresentations and distortions of Romanian culture in novels, films and television ever since. So the last thing one might expect to see is a Romanian vampire film. Surely, they’d be sick to the back teeth of vampires by now.
Well, yes and no. STRIGOI is an attempt to set the record straight; to reclaim Romanian vampire mythology from the distortions it has been subjected to over the years. The film takes the ancient legend of the Strigoi – one who has returned from the dead to avenge a wrong, but must feed on blood to survive – and uses this as the basis for a darkly comic parable about rural Romania struggling to adapt to the modern world, and the seemingly inescapable legacy of the Ceaucescu regime. As the film’s writer and director Faye Jackson explains, Strigoi are “the people you just can’t get rid of, even when they’re dead” – an ideal metaphor for “the way corruption survives and infects even those who seek to destroy it, and the way violence and injustice echo down the generations, seeping into the very soil.”
STRIGOI’s mix of political satire, bucolic comedy, and ghoulish shocks went down a storm at the very first Grimm Up North back in 2009. Faye Jackson and Producer Rey Muraru joined us to introduce the film and kept everyone entertained with their tales of shooting in rural areas of Romania where such legends still persist, and the screening was a real festival highlight.
So it’s good to hear that STRIGOI is now available via iTunes, and will be released on DVD in the UK in August. It’s well worth catching it.