October 25, 2018
The Bram Stoker festival in Dublin is the perfect Halloween vacation
by Stephanie DeLuca
If you are looking for a celebration that combines your love for things both Halloween and literary (and honestly who isn’t), look no farther than the Bram Stoker festival in Dublin, Ireland. Stoker, the author who gave us Dracula and the grandfather of horror novels – there’s a reason the award is named in his honor – is celebrated over the course of four days during the October Bank Holiday Weekend.
According to their website, the festival “playfully celebrates the gothic, the mysterious, the after-dark and the thrill of Halloween, and delves into the legacy of one of Ireland’s most treasured authors.” With programming that includes performances, workshops, theater, live music, podcasts, audio tours, film screenings, and parades, the festival is expected to draw over 70,000 attendees, as reported by Deirdre Falvey at the Irish Times.
One of the most inventive events of the weekend may be the festival’s NYsferatu: Symphony of a Century. Taking place at St. Anne’s Church – the Church where Stoker married Florence Balcombe in 1878 – this reimagining of the classic 1922 horror film Nosferatu is instead an animated interpretation, accompanied by a live score that was specially composed for the festival by Irish musician Matthew Nolan. Set in present-day New York City, the film positions the vampire character as a refugee fleeing from his war-torn country, dealing with the hardships of racism and xenophobia as he strives for safety. The festival’s website describes the film as “rich with symbolism and political commentary, the film retells the story of the vampire through the lens of modern-day fears about Islam, immigration, and refugees.”
Stoker, whose celebrated Dracula published in 1897, has undeniably influenced literature, the arts, and pop culture over the past 120 years. A lot of good has been born from this quintessential vampire story over the years (and we will just ignore the bad) so pop in some fake pointy teeth and honor Stoker this Halloween season.
Stephanie DeLuca is the director of publicity at Melville House.