What: Dracula: Lord of the Damned
Where: Victoria Event Centre, 1415 Broad St.
When: Monday, 8 p.m.
Tickets: $10; students, $7
Theodore Trout wasn't about to let a brain injury stop him from completing his dream project - a Dracula movie.
The debilitating effects of an aneurysm he had 15 years ago actually fuelled his creativity, he says.
"I live with a brain injury so I have a lot of time on my hands," says the Saltspring Island animator best known as host of The Fish Show, his alternative radio program that aired on CFUV.
"One of the symptoms is 'perseveration,' which means you fixate on something and can't let it go. It means I'm well-equipped to sit in one place and focus on repetitive tasks."
Dracula: Lord of the Damned, which makes its Canadian première Monday at Victoria Event Centre, is Trout's innovative retelling of Bram Stoker's Dracula. It blends live-action, painstaking animation and stylishly eerie visual effects.
This isn't just some digital mishmash cobbled together in a fanboy's basement.
Five years in the making, the director and star's labour of love has attracted some heavy-hitters on Victoria's arts scene, including actors Ian Case, David MacPherson and Amanda Lisman.
"Everybody's been very supportive and encouraging, and this never would have happened without Ian," said Trout, who credits Case, Giggling Iguana Productions' artistic director, with reshaping "my rambling script" into playable material.
Trout, 50, has already received praise from Dracula experts including Charles E. Butler, author of The Romance of Dracula: a Personal Journey of the Count in Celluloid. Butler described him as a "very talented writer-director [who] may have singlehandedly breathed a whole new and original life into everybody's favourite bloodsucker."
Trout hatched his concept after appearing in Brian Clement's low-budget horror flicks filmed here, including Exhumed, his zombie movie series spanning three time periods.
He played a "werewolf rocker" gang leader after responding to a casting call for such characters and vampire mods.
"I went down and snarled at them. They backed up a step and said 'OK,' " recalled Trout.
He was inspired after watching Shadow of the Vampire, which depicts F.W. Murnau filming his vampire classic Nosferatu.
"I was struck by the fact they had this wooden box camera that doesn't even turn, pan or zoom," he said. "He had nothing but the most primitive equipment and his obsessive mania."
Trout figured he could match Murnau's "mania if not his vision." He imagined a Dracula described as "demonic yet human, sexual and predatory - deluded, horrific, alien and somehow tragic" by vampire authority Zahir Blue.
"I wanted to make something that would look like it was shot 100 years ago but sound like a Pink Floyd album."
After reading Stoker's novel, Trout said he realized Dracula wasn't this "opera-cloaked aristocrat," but a different animal.
"He's a creature who won the power the cloaked aristocrats enjoy."
Trout's fascination with the crucifix propelled the drama.
"Why would it repel or frighten or destroy him?" he said.
"A cross is just a piece of wood. If it has power over Dracula it's because he believes in it. He was a Christian defender against the Muslims in the 1400s.
What if he believes he's still a Christian champion, but he's a vampire? He's rationalized this, seeing himself as divine. He thinks he's a messiah."
No matter how the film performs, Trout is thrilled having been acknowledged in The Romance of Dracula.
"I'm right in there with Jack Palance and Louis Jourdan." email@example.com
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