BRAM Stoker’s great grand-nephew has given an exclusive insight into the event and his uncle’s Scottish connections ahead of the upcoming Festival of Darkness, set to celebrate Dracula’s links with north-east Scotland.

Marking 125 years since the publication of Bram Stoker’s iconic horror novel and 100 years since its titular character’s screen debut in Nosferatu, the festival will screen a range of vampire movies at unique locations across Aberdeenshire.

Speaking to The National, Dacre Stoker said: “Bram Stoker’s youngest brother George is my great- grandfather.

“Of the seven children in the Stoker family, only three had offspring so there aren’t many of us left in the Stoker lineage.”

In the new video, Stoker talks about the significance of Cruden Bay to his ancestor.

“We have found records that Bram spent at least 14 summers in Cruden Bay and he also wrote the book there,” he says.

It’s also well known that Slains Castle in Aberdeenshire bears a striking resemblance to the fictional castle in which the famous Count lives.

Audiences attending the festival will be able to watch Tod Browning’s 1931 adaption of Dracula in Cruden Bay’s village hall amongst a host of other iconic vampire movies. It might be 125 years old, but Dracula remains a consistent source of inspiration for filmmakers across the world.

Stoker said: “All you have to do is look at how many times the work has been adapted for the stage and screen.

“It’s been done as a comedy, a children’s story, the Count has been used for product endorsements, costumes and people’s lifestyles.

“He’s the second-most adapted character behind Sherlock Holmes, also written by a Scot [Arthur Conan Doyle], but I think he eclipses Holmes when you consider the wider impact on popular culture.

Stoker added: “There continues to be a re-imagining of this story, reinterpretations of it and people being inspired to do different versions of Dracula.”

The original novel’s links to Scotland don’t end with Slain’s castle and Cruden Bay.

In the only interview Bram Stoker ever gave to a British weekly newspaper, he mentioned a Scottish woman named Emily Gerard who wrote an essay on Transylvanian superstition.

“She was from Jedburgh this woman but married a Polish author. She was enamoured with superstition, and her work provided Bram with a framework and all the things he needed to know about vampires, garlic and all these sorts of things,” Stoker explains.

As with any iconic novel though, there’s debates over whether or not the many adaptations down the years have remained faithful.

A question Stoker says he is asked all the time is whether he is a fan of the various adaptations but he says he’s happy to keep an open mind.

“Something might not be faithful but that doesn’t mean it can’t still be great. Stoker started something in 1897. You look at Francis Ford Coppola’s version in 1992 which isn’t at all faithful but it was brilliant,” he said.

He added: “It took it in another direction. To be honest, I think Stoker would be proud, being a theatre manager, in seeing what he inspired and so therefore faithfulness is not that important even it does get purists riled up.

“Others go ‘well, that’s a new fresh way to look at it’ because people would be bored if we only ever saw a faithful adaptation.

“It’s a complex story, Bram did not allow us to get to know his Count very well. We don’t hear from him much in the story which makes it ripe for interpretation.

“It didn’t create vampires, but to use modern vernacular he certainly packaged it in a way that made the story connectable.”

Stoker is unable tocannot make the festival in Aberdeenshire because he’s already booked to appear at the Bram Stoker festival in Dublin around the same time,. However, he though he did say that the film festival was a brilliant idea and that it was fantastic to see the legacy of his ancestor continuing to be celebrated.

He said: “Why not celebrate Dracula, not just its anniversary but the places that it was in inspired by as well.”

The Festival of Darkness is set to run from October 21-30.