Dracula is Not Dead is a new film by Argentinian producer, actor and director Luizo Vega who now resides in Paris. He grew up in the second city of Argentina; Cordoba, which he described as a place between like and Darkness. But before we get into talking about the movie we need to look behind the scenes and understand the mind and story of a man who has been attached to vampires all his life.
His vision for making this film was inspired by a childhood dream to become Dracula. Vega grew up watching the Argentinian horror show “Travel to the Unexpected” and always wanted to create a vampire film. For him the vampire is a metaphor for trance and a transformation. After watching the occasional vampire episode he would put on a cape paint his face with black eyeliner and make his lips bloody with makeup. Jokingly he would try to fly like Superman and occasionally he would “attack” his friends, often getting yelled at by his mother to stop thinking he was Dracula. In school he would draw sexy pictures of vampire girls and drink grenadine as a blood supplement. Walking by the cinema one day he saw a poster for a film called “Lover of Dracula”, entranced and frustrated he was just a little young to see the film.
When he became of age he began his own TV show called “The Dracula Project” every week, which was the first Argentinian TV show about vampires and lasted about 12 episodes. Hosted by Mariana (wife of Nicolas Giacobone director of Birdman and writer of Revenant) played Lucy in the TV show. This was first time a transgender person played a woman on TV a feminine and central role on Argentinian television. Thus showing a strong medium to represent the LGBTQ community as well as a being was tool to promote freedom of expression, cross limits and represent pride. as well as showing the power and flexibility of what I call the vampire mythos.
Luizo always saw as strong crossover between vampires and religion, allowing a metaphor to cross the limits in a safe way. He was always attacked by critics, especially after tattooing 666 on his neck. The reproductions were a disaster for his life, he was attacked by critics and lost everything, his home and his relationship ended.
Failing to keep the project alive he promised one day to make a new version and move to Europe, thus inspiring the title “Dracula is not Dead.” For him the vampire is a symbol of resistance from cultural norms and a way to break the status quo. To mark the end of his time in Argentina he created a performance piece where he crucified himself on his 33rd birthday on the 24th of December, the metaphor of dying and reborn. He moved to Spain and never looked back, beginning his new life as an independent film producer.
Upon arriving in Europe he made a film called “Material Boy”, which became a cult film and layed the foundations of what would become his magnum opus. Dracula production began and 2015 in Paris and he faced many challenges. He stated; “because of the status quo of the French film industry there is little room for independent film and is very restrictive. You cannot be experimental in France. I don’t need permission of anyone and art is about being out of the system.” Thus he Dracula is a symbol of independence, rebellion and resistance to the system. “99% of the people told me I could not make the film, so I said fuck off and if no one can do it, Dracula can do it.”
In the beginning Dracula is Not Dead was intended to a big fashion show, very aesthetic, yet the project evolved. Inspired by Dracula being representative of Andy Warhol and the major vampires of history being his muses, mainly with his wife Lilith. He had no sponsors however great designers from the fashion capital of the world, he mixed terror, fashion, art, cult and underground concepts together.
The first inspiration came from the film “Blood for Dracula” 1974 film Udo Kier (one of the muses of Warhol and played an old vampire who was killed by the villain Deacon Frost in Blade (1998). This brought forth the plot point he exclaimed enthusiastically “How can Dracula survive without virgin blood? “Since there is no more virgin blood in Paris and brings in this conflict point into the film.”
Dracula is not Dead brings the iconic principle vampire personalities into the same universe together. Dracula is the artist and Nosferatu, his best friend is his art director. Being an international team he didn’t set out for a specific language for the film so everyone naturally gravitated to English. The soundtrack is presented by several French bands and the plot centers around the last 24 hours of Dracula’s life, set in the format of a reality show. Luizo ended the interview stating “Andy Warhol was obsessed with Dracula, so why not pattern himself around this character. The Maya are the bloodiest cultures in human history, they would drink human blood and take the power of the gods, which were vampires.”
Dracula is not Dead is debuting in Fall 2017 at Paris Fashion week with a grand red carpet. You can find more information at www.draculaisnotdead.com.