“This is an energetic, deliberate, decisive measure to keep this person down in the grave so they can never walk around again.”
Vampires are one of the most enduring mythical creatures ever imagined. In the Vampire Legend episode of the PBS series Secrets of the Dead we tackle whether or not fact influenced fiction. Based on the discovery of deviant graves in consecrated ground paired with what are known as the St. Modwenna texts the premise is intriguing. Archaeologists try to show whether there is a correlation between medieval folktales and the practices the people of the time enforced in order to protect themselves from these mythical creatures of which evidence remains within these deviant burials.
Combining interviews, graphics, clips and reenactments the documentary seeks to explain why people still to this day believe in vampires from both scientific as well as cultural viewpoints. Don’t worry, Twihards, you’re (mostly) not forgotten in this documentary. Clips are shown from vampire movies shown throughout cinematic history most notably Nosferatu. These are complemented by interviews with Dacre Stoker, great-grandnephew of the iconic horror writer Bram Stoker, who created the most famous vampire in history, Count Dracula. Being the most famous it’s hardly a surprise the persona of Dracula is shown as portrayed by some of the most famous actors to ever don the Transylvanian’s cape including Max Schreck (Shadow of the Vampire) and Christopher Lee (The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring). All in all, a quick hour to help educate the viewer in the historical origins of the vampire.
Technical specs are serviceable but that’s all they really need to be in this case. The 1.78:1 video transfer is minimally processed showing the English countryside in a pleasing natural light. There are no glitches to the video and even through the darkness of the reenactments the levels are never so inky as to completely obscure the picture. The Dolby 2.0 Stereo track supports Jay O. Sanders’ narration well and all of the on-camera interviews are clear and at the forefront of the sound space, just like you would expect. A solid technical mix overall. There are no special features.
As with most PBS releases if you’re interested it’s not too difficult to stream an episode. However, should you decide to purchase know you are helping not only Verdict but PBS stations as well so you can feel good about buying the disc.