Hi I'm new to this community. I'm a religious studies major at Depaul Universtiy in Chicago.
I always find myself analyzing all kinds of movie from a religous or spiritual perspective. I'll just start with a short journal I did for my Religion and Pop Culture class a few years ago. It's on Dracula 2000.
Journal #2 Dracula as Judas Iscariot
This week I watched the movie Dracula 2000 starring Gerard Butler and Justine Waddell. This movie was especially interesting because this movie unlike other vampire movies, which focus on the violent and sexual natures of vampires, this movie, brings Dracula’s interactions with Christianity to the forefront of the movie. Maya Dollarhide’s article “Biblical Bloodsucker” found on beliefnet.com, addresses Dracula 2000 specifically.
In contrast to most vampire movies Dracula 2000, Dracula is not harmed by holy items that usually harm traditional vampires such as holy water, crosses, or the Bible. Dollarhide notes that “unlike Bram Stoker’s character, he doesn’t fear God as much as he is ticked off at Him”. As van Helsing noted in the movie, Dracula is repulsed by all things religious, it enrages him. Vampires whom Dracula creates can be killed by a silver bullet or stake through the heart or by decapitation. However, Dracula could not be killed by any means.
Throughout the movie there were continuous clues to Dracula’s true identity: his aversions to Christianity and silver, as well as his knowledge of ancient Aramaic, at the end of the movie it is finally revealed that Dracula was in truth Judas Iscariot. According to Dracula 2000, Judas hanged himself as penance but as the rope broke in the last rays of the sun, he was damned by God for his betrayal. This last selfish act of suicide was punished by not allowing Dracula to see another sunrise or day. In the final scenes of the movie Dracula finally killed hanged by a wire from a giant neon crucifix. In his dying breath Dracula sees the loving face of Jesus on the crucifix looking down on him in his last moments. It is only in recreating his original death that Dracula is finally released from his unlife of damnation.
There were several quotes from Dracula 2000 that I viewed as critical to the Christian-vampire relationship of the movie and wish to analyze further.
1. “All fear he who wears the halo of evil”- the inscription of an ancient crossbow that van Helsing buys.
- This inscription is obviously written about Dracula. The choice of words in the inscription is especially interesting. Simon originally translated the inscription as “All fear he who wears the crown of evil”. Upon correction of the word crown into halo it is possible to see the religious allusion. Dracula is described as wearing a halo, an image that is more commonly noted in beings such as angels and saints. Where angels halos are of pure light and holiness, Dracula’s halo is of completely evil, his aura is indicates his damnation. The halo also indicates that Dracula may have once been religious and now his halo has been transformed from holiness into evilness.
2.When describing Dracula in her dreams to her priest Mary says, “He wants my soul”.
- When analyzing this quote it is possible to see that Mary, even though she does not know yet who Dracula is, can feel the evil inside of him. In saying that she feels that Dracula wants her soul she is saying that he is trying to strip her of her goodness and her identity. By taking her soul, he would be taking the very thing that God is interested in. Mary going to her priest is significant because in doing so she acknowledges that Dracula is a creature of evil and not of God and the crisis that she is facing is one of faith and her immortal soul.
3. “Believe in me for I am the way to eternity”- written in Aramaic by Dracula in Mary’s house
- This writing is directly mocking the teachings of Jesus, he is setting himself up as an antichrist, an evil alternative to Jesus. Where as Christianity teaches that there are various things one must do to gain eternal life: Ten Commandments, John 3:16, etc. Dracula provides instant gratification. He offers the lure of eternal life without giving up the vices of bodily pleasure.
4. “Drink of my blood, flesh of my flesh”- Dracula turning Mary into a vampire
- Once again Dracula is using the exact words of Jesus, this time from the Last Supper. His anger at Jesus and God push him to mock the Lord in all that he does especially his speech. At the Last Supper, Jesus stated, “This is my blood of the covenant, which is poured out for many. Truly I tell you, I will never again drink of the fruit of the vine until that day when I drink it new in the Kingdom of God” Mark14:24-25.
Another notable aspect of the movie was the fact that there was a lot of symbolism in the fact that Mary van Helsing working in a Virgin Music store. I viewed her working in a Virgin as another symbol of her purity and innocence that Dracula wanted to take from her. Also the fact that Dracula’s brides wore white was a form of irony. The white wedding dress is supposed be a symbol of the bride’s purity, especially in Christian weddings. However there was nothing innocent about Dracula’s brides, these women were obsessed with sex and blood, not innocence and purity.