Hey guys! I am kinds interrupting, I know, but I share the horror you all have about movies (or myths, in general) that do not respect facts or at least the local lore of certain topics.
Here's my two cents about what you were all saying:
Regarding Vlad Tepes - I've heard various opinions on him... I may be mistaken, but wasn't he considered bloodthristy even by his contemporaries?
And on the subject of Hollywood being a bad historian - really, nothing beats a horror movie by the name of Stay Alive. It's a movie that claims that Elizabeth Bathory was... a plantation owner from Louisiana. I'm not kidding.
The scary thing? Over at IMDB, I've read reviews that *complimented* the movie for being based on facts... *facepalm*
Kudos, sir! Not only that I agree on the whole Da Vinci code, which Brown may have made popular, but he also turned it into fiction, by using so much wrong information... but I am seriously shocked by the Stay Alive story, which I can't believe people find as being real...
As for Vlad Ţepeş, I would not call him blood thirsty as much as extreme. He took over a country ruled by murderers and thieves, and killed them, revenging this way his father and brother's murder. He was not as bloody as people recall him, but he was extreme in his capital punishments(e.g. a thief would be sentenced with the cutting of a limb, a traitor would be impaled - conviction which was used more for the enemy hostages rather than traitors which were extremely rare, etc).
However, once his people saw how much he helped the country by cleaning it of crime, it was his political enemies who used the harsh, yet popular image about him, to nick-name him the Devilish - Draculea (his father was nicknamed the Devil, due to his association with the Dragon's order, aka as Teuton knights). He was, after all, a religious fanatic, and some of the literature books about him (Romanian ones) say he went insane because of the conflict of his religious beliefs and his style of ruling, which was merely meant to intimidate the Otomans, and scare the "nobles" who would attempt to sell him out. His wifes suicide conflicted him even more, as the Orthodox church refuses, even this day, the burial ceremony for suicidal deaths.
Though I am not a historian, yes, this is obviously the myth that kills me the most, and even though tourists do not understand why Romania does not promote "Dracula" more... we respect our history.
Yup. I'm anal :)
Seriously speaking, I simply don't like how the whole "sunlight kills vampires" myth has spread. These days, it seems to be one of the key things in the mythos - while it doesn't have to be. It's perfectly accurate to portray vampire walking in sunlight...
The vampire as seen in Eastern European and Russian culture, and you probably know this very well too, is a night creature, and only comes out to hunt at night, but there are no popular beliefs that they would be scared of the daylight. I have personally witnessed awkward burial rituals meant to keep a person in it's grave, and most of those involved tying the hands, garlic and holy water or holy oil put inside the coffin, special water and food rituals, to keep the soul at peace, and so that it doesn't return, etc. None of the old women who taught me a lot about it seemed to know anything about vampires (vampiri, strigoi, or moroi in Romanian) being affected by the sun, but they did seem bound to night-walking.
Sorry if I was nosy, but I needed to get this out. Hope that was ok...
Wishing you all a great week!