Festival aimed to reclaim Bram Stoker for Dublin

Razim RazimAmun interviewed the director of the recent Dublin festival to honour the creator of Dracula.

Tom Lawlor, the Director of Dublin’s Bram Stoker Festival, has been involved for the third time consecutively in the annual festival. It is his “passion for Dublin” that is the reason for him being at the helm again this year, he said at the Filmbase office in Temple Bar, Dublin.

The festival coincided with the October bank-holiday weekend, just in time for Halloween festivities, for the added ambience for everyone, organisers and spectators alike.

When asked about his passion for Bram Stoker’s Dracula, the book being synonymous with the author, he said that the purpose of the festival was “to reclaim Bram Stoker” as part of a “healthy interest” for the genre. Dracula, after all, is “the other” and “the supernatural” and that needs a “contemporary spin”.

Tom Lawlor mentioned the theatrical piece, We Are the Monsters, at the D-Light Studios at 46 North Great Clarence Street in North Strand, Dublin 1, as being a contemporary allure of monsters, with sound, text and dark stories. Dracula being just one novel by Bram Stoker, the festival aimed to encompass much of Bram Stoker’s horror genre in its totality.

Under the patronage of Fáilte Ireland and Dublin City Council, the Bram Stoker Festival is relevant and important for the Dublin cultural landscape, according to Mr Lawlor. When asked about the relevance of Dracula for the newer generation, he said that the festival applies to every generation and “Dubliners of every kind” with “different ages and kinds” in mind.

As for his personal penchant for Bram Stoker, or rather, for Dracula in particular, his favourite film would have to be the 1992 one entitled Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola. There are “great parts to it” according to Mr Lawlor; however, it is also “the campiest, most ridiculous version,” in regards to Keanu Reeves’s bad acting and his bad English accent, which may have rendered the film “particularly schlocky”.

Bram Stoker’s Dracula by Francis Ford Coppola was the campiest, most ridiculous version”

The most accurate version of any film in regard to the book would be the “1932 version” with Bela Lugosi, according to the director of the Bram Stoker Festival. The portrayal of eroticism and sexuality in that era as a shock value it itself, in addition to the shock value of a horror film, made a difference.

Besides the two significant films mentioned, the director of the Bram Stoker festival is also quite familiar with the literature and the source material, which he has discussed with artists involved with the festival.

Despite being pressed for time and the interview lasting less than 10 minutes, Tom Lawlor said that he was “excited” about the festival. The organisation and the smooth running of the event were accompanied by “excitement, stress and anxiety”.

The Bram Stoker Festival ran in various venues and locations in and around Dublin from 27th to 30th October and promised to be full of horror and excitement for Bram Stoker fans of all ages.

With catchphrases like “Four Days of Living Stories” and “Four Nights of Deadly Adventures,” the event aimed to be a delight to lovers of the horror genre produced by Bram Stoker, a bona-fide Dubliner.


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