Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Real Vampires of Transylvania

This is the trailer for Across the Forest: Tales from Transylvania, and it features the real people in villages across that legendary province telling about their encounters with the supernatural. Here is the website, where you can buy the DVD, and the Facebook page, which has photos and more information about the project.

I haven't seen it yet, but I am buying my copy now, and I will report back. As many of you may know, the famous story by that Stoker guy actually didn't feature too much in the way of Transylvanian lore (For more information on that, check out this book on the subject by your humble correspondent). The vampires you see in movies and read about in novels are creatures of a Western European literary tradition (English and Irish mostly). All this has tended to obscure the folklore of the real Transylvania. It's great (and really, really overdue) that filmmakers went out to capture it.

For more information, check out the review on the blog Taliesin Meets the Vampires. There is also an interesting interview with one of the filmmakers on Reddit. The interview has a tidbit on a particularly weird and disturbing folk belief:

An old lady told us of the "Horses of Saint Toader". These are men-horses who roam the village streets after midnight and "pick-up" young ladies who are late getting back home. They then take them to a kind of satanic folk-dance where they "dance them to death."

And that launches a whole discussion of dancing epidemics that occurred in medieval times. Isn't the internet cool?

(Note: Special thanks to my friend Sid W. for the tip).


  1. So maybe the pastor in Footloose knew what he was doing when he tried to ban dancing in the town, eh?


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