This entry was written by AkityMH, who you can find at https://www.deviantart.com/akitymh. I may have made a few touch ups and notes here and there, but the bulk of this entry is their work!
Image borrowed from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dracula_(Castlevania)
Let’s step back a few decades back to when we had eight bit games, and various companies used old and new concepts for their merchandise. Back in the 80’s, all sorts of games came and went. Most were side scrolling action games, but would you believe(and I know you readers do) that one was a massive accumulation of all things classic horror?
Back in 1986 is when it began. The game was simple: fight your way through the ghouls and horrors of the night until you reached the epitome of all horror icons: Vlad Tepes of Wallachia, The Impaler, Son of the Dragon, Dracula. A figure that stands tall like a shadow darker than night, peering down with crimson eyes and peerless to all.
Since then, Castlevania has attained a number of entries in the video game industry. With each game that came along with advancements of telling story in video games, we have come to learn more about the character that is Dracula. This Dracula, however, isn’t quite the same creature and character that is commonly recognized in most media. Dracula has had so many incarnations, and many are very much the same. There are exceptions, but my personal taste of Dracula based media isn’t the most stellar.
But I do know a bit about this Dracula and what he is about, why, and his relationship with the Belmonts. For reference sake though, this Dracula is quite similar to the original Bram Stoker’s Dracula. So much so that at least one game that I know has the Bram Stoker characters, and Bram Stoker’s storylines are somewhat canon to these games. So a lot of what I have to say has probably been said before. I’ll still go about it all the same, though.
Most Dracula incarnations usually portray this very suave and almost seductive individual who just has his own agenda. At least to my knowledge. It isn’t so grand, but it is horrifying depending on exactly what Dracula desires. Not this one, though. This Dracula is a individual who grew and harbored an exceptional misanthropic creature who sees all of Humanity as pitiful vermin.
But it was not always that way.
In this story, Dracula was once a man known as Mathias Cronqvist, a man who once fought alongside the Belmont’s ancestor, Leon Belmont. During his time away, Mathias lost his wife to a illness, driving him to insanity with grief to the point of devising a plan to defy the very will of God himself and his rules of life and death.
Mathias desired to show he was far more powerful than the Divine Being, and so by manipulating his friend in Leon, became a vampire out of spite for the world that he put his faith in.
This began a long, long feud with the Belmonts who despite suffering every bit as much, refused to give into the evils that Mathias became prey too. As the Belmonts continued their family, Mathias, eventually adopting the name of Dracula, forever would return to the world and continue his beliefs against God and mankind.
This theme is followed in the games. Dracula hates mankind… He hates them a lot. Though, with the creation of a certain animated adaptation, we learn more in depth about this, and in the end we sympathize with him.
Dracula one day is approached by a woman by the name of Lisa who is well educated and seeks to be a doctor of the highest skill in order to help her fellow man. As a result she is persecuted even before meeting Dracula, who at first is skeptical of her motivations, but as time goes on, falls in love with her and starts a family with her.
This is all taken away, however… Not by the nature of the world, but rather, mankind. When her strong medical ways become noticed, the Church steps in and accuses her of witchcraft, and burn her alive at the stake.
As a result, Dracula relives his past pain… and declares war against all mankind that lives within the borders of Wallachia. As punishment, he raises a mass army of evil and begins slaughtering every human in his way no matter their age or gender.
I’ll get to the point: Dracula is what anyone could become… He is resentful of the world of man from its religion to its apparent self destructive ways, as them being afraid of what they do not understand and horribly murdering people. He sees all mankind, the thing he once was and threw away out of anger and pain, as irredeemable creatures. The one good person he loved was taken, again and this time forcefully, and so destructs into a souless immortal monster.
But we can see why. People can be good, but can also be evil. But when hurt or terrified beyond any conscious reason, can be horrible. It’s a burning fire that feeds itself, until someone like Dracula is born, who embraces those horrible things and does even worse after he has suffered enough that he can’t take it.
This reflects with the Belmonts who, at least in the animated series, also see the evils that mankind do for one reason or another. They, however, hold onto their humanity and ideals. The Belmonts are even treated by Europe’s people as the same as Dracula. They fear the Belmonts and their ways to fight monsters and the undead as they don’t understand, but the Belmont’s refuse to step down because of it.
The cycle of hate is a non stop theme with a lot of horrors. Monsters are not always just killer things with a body count. They sometimes and often do reflect our own flaws and mistakes. Horror as a whole always reflects our fears as a race of sentient creatures. Sometimes our biggest fear is ourselves, and what we giving into wild emotion and allowing pain to warp us into later down the line.
Dracula, at least in this series, is one such good example of that. If I suspect, even the original Dracula by Bram Stoker portrays this. Even Hellsing, pretty much in the same universe as the original book, gives us a Dracula/Alucard who became a monster for such reasons.
For those who eat up horror movies, I highly recommend looking a few layers deeper. There is a lot to be understood from monsters such as Dracula.