McNally Releases CD-ROM on Dracula Fact, Myth

By Michael Seele
Chronicle Editor

Nearly a century after Bram Stoker infused Dracula into popular culture, Prof. Raymond McNally (History) is hoping his new CD-ROM, "Dracula: Truth and Terror," will entice technology's children of the night.

The disc, scheduled for release today, is a compendium of Dracula truth and legend, movies, and the full, annotated text of the 1897 novel. It is drawn from McNally's decades of research about the Dracula legend and historical figure behind it.

The disc creaks open with the complete text of Dracula , including "Dracula's Guest," a chapter Stoker was forced to cut from his lengthy novel and which went unpublished until after his death. By clicking on highlighted portions of the text, users can gain background and contextual information. Choosing "impalement," for example, will produce a short video re-enactment of this "lost art," McNally said.

Users also can view the first vampire movie in its entirety, the 1922 silent film "Nosferatu," featuring audio commentary by McNally.

Another section of the CD-ROM is the life history of the man upon whom the Dracula legend is built, the 15th century Wallachian prince Vlad the Impaler, complete with rare photographs, re-enactments and translated folk tales. McNally and his colleague Prof. Emeritus Radu Florescu (History) were the first to reveal Vlad as the basis for the Dracula legend and have staked out their spot as the world's leading scholars in the area.

Prof. Raymond McNally (History)

A fourth portion is a comprehensive library of vampire legends from around the world. Clicking on a global map's red dots reveals artwork, religions, organizations and actual cases of vampire-like behavior by serial killers and others originating from those locations.

The motion picture industry has been hemorrhaging a remarkable volume of vampire films since "Nosferatu" and McNally has included a data base containing information on all 1,067 of them - from the classic 1931 "Dracula" starring Bela Lugosi to the deservedly less well-known "Dracula Meets the Hippie Space Chick."

Other films that have withered in the projector's light comprise the disc's final segment: scenes from the most ridiculous movies ever made about Dracula. These include "Zolton Hound of Dracula," in which "the best actor is the dog that pulls the stake from Dracula's heart," said McNally.

This section, McNally said, is included "for fun, but also to show how much Dracula has entered folklore as a source of amusement, as well as horror."

Though McNally has been researching Dracula fact and myth since the 1960s and has written several books on the topic, he is hoping the new format will reach a new audience.

"You could say I'm on the cutting edge," he added with a laugh, "sliding down the razor blade of life."

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