Castlevania: Lords of Shadow released on October 5th, 2010 for Xbox 360, PS3, and PC. The movie, Dracula: Untold however, released a little over 4 years later on October 10th, 2014. Both the game and the movie explore the origins of everyone’s favorite blood-sucker, Dracula. However, throughout the movie, there are story beats that are consistently reminiscent of Lords of Shadow. While I don’t believe the filmmakers set out to blatantly copy the game’s plot, I do think it was heavily inspired by the game’s story. Below, I will explore the 5 ways that the plot of Lords of Shadow and Dracula: Untold are nearly identical.
Content Warning: The videos below contain footage from film and video games which may contain scenes of violence, blood, or gore. Please view at your discretion.
SPOILER WARNING: The remainder of this article contains revelations and major plot points from Lords of Shadow and Dracula: Untold. Please stop reading here if you do not wish to have the game and/or movie spoiled for you.
1) The main protagonist, who eventually becomes Dracula, is motivated by the need to save his family, and by extension the world, from ultimate destruction.
To accomplish this, Vlad, in the movie, meets an old man in a cave who is afflicted with the curse of being a vampire. The old man (who mysteriously resembles and even sounds like Zobek from Lords of Shadow) offers Vlad his curse as a weapon to save his family. Along the way, Vlad unintentionally kills his wife and his son ends up in the care of an adoptive family.
Contrasting this with Lords of Shadow, Gabriel sets out on a quest to revive his dead wife Marie. We later find out that Gabriel’s mentor and former ally, Zobek, manipulated him into killing Marie. Following this tragedy, Trevor, Gabriel’s son, was hastily rushed away to be raised by an adoptive family, unbeknownst to his father. Over the course of his quest, Gabriel never waivers from his quest and his faith in God but ultimately succumbs to the darkness inside of him to eventually become Dracula, hoping that in doing so he will find the power to reunite with Marie and Trevor.
2) Both are flawed heroes who only want to do the right thing (or in Gabriel’s case, he wants to do the right thing in God’s eyes) but end up becoming the evil they fought so hard against. In the end of the two DLC chapters for Lords of Shadow, we see Gabriel beginning his downward spiral into darkness, his descent away from the favor of God, and the redemption he desperately seeks.
In Dracula: Untold Vlad’s downward spiral begins the moment he is forced to feed on his dying wife. Here he fully succumbs to the darkness within him to become Dracula. See the video for #3 below.
3) Both are still righteous despite essentially selling their souls to eventually become Dracula.
Despite Gabriel drinking a Vampire’s blood and absorbing an evil demon’s power in Lords of Shadow‘s DLC, his central quest is still ultimately to defeat Satan for good and find a way to revive Marie. Marie only wants Gabriel to find the retribution and salvation that he is searching for as, at the end of Lords of Shadow, he is given new life by God to serve a greater purpose.
In Dracula: Untold, a pivotal scene towards the end of the film shows Vlad opting to keep his new Vampire abilities, but in order to do so he must feed on the living which throughout the film he refuses to do. However, after a tragedy nearly claims the life of his beloved wife, Mirena, she pleads with him to drink her blood and end the war that is plaguing their lands so that Vlad might save their son. Vlad does this, essentially giving up his soul to the dark forces inside him. However, even after gaining untold power, Vlad still loves his son, his kingdom, and his people, and fights voraciously to protect them.
4) In the end, gaining ultimate power does not bring back their lost wives or sons.
For Gabriel, defeating Satan in Lords of Shadow and becoming Dracula in the game’s DLC chapters does not resurrect his wife Marie. However, it does give Gabriel renewed purpose through having his life restored after the betrayal by Zobek, though it takes some coercing for Gabriel to realize that there is still work to do for God. Through visions of his wife, Marie, Gabriel finds a renewed call to take up arms for God once more.
After drinking the blood of his wife, Vlad had nearly lost everything. The opposing army still had great numbers and his kingdom was almost destroyed. To turn the tides, Dracula (Vlad) turns some of his villagers into vampires but their thirst for blood overpowers their sense of morality. After helping him defeat Mehmed, the leader of the invading Turks, they turn on Vlad and attempt to drink the blood of his son. Vlad ultimately defeats them all and is nearly killed by his exposure to the sunlight but a nearby priest from the village rushes in to whisk Vlad’s son to safety as a favor. Having now lost both his wife and son, Dracula wins the war but loses everything in the process.
5) Both are left wide open for a sequel with almost identical endings.
After the credits roll in Castlevania: Lords of Shadow, players are greeted with a scene of Dracula brooding on the throne in his castle. We also know that Zobek is still alive and has come requesting Dracula’s help once again in defeating Satan, whose acolytes are attempting to resurrect him. This cuts to a scene that shows that the game is now in modern times as the camera pans out away from the castle and we see cars and buses driving by outside.
In Dracula: Untold, the final scene of the movie finds Vlad still very much alive as a vampire in the modern day. He is walking through the city when he eyes a woman who looks suspiciously identical to his deceased wife. We see Vlad casually follow her to learn more about the woman, but the scene then switches to the old vampire who gave Vlad his power upon their first meeting in the cave. He is also still very much alive and appears to be observing and following Vlad, likely to recruit him in a fight against some new threat. Ironically, like in the ending of Lords of Shadow, he is dressed in a modern business suit to better blend in with the unsuspecting mortals who accompany him in the city.
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