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Dracula Lovers Head for Count's Castle

Aired May 26, 2000 - 2:55 p.m. ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

NATALIE ALLEN, CNN ANCHOR: Well, if you like a story with teeth, how about one with fangs.

LOU WATERS, CNN ANCHOR: How about CNN's Chris Burns reporting on the thirst for a close encounter with the legend of Dracula.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CHRIS BURNS, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Bran Castle, that feared haunt of Count Dracula, where today, thousands of admirers dare to tread. Perhaps some true believers, some wannabe vampires, but mostly kitsch enthusiasts, flocking to a Dracula congress at the very place where legend says it all started. Exploring the castle, the spooky digs, the mysterious tunnels. Watching for any sign of the blood-thirsty count himself. Demonstrating some of the dastardly deeds of the castle's diabolical master: don't do this in your own home. Playing the count, or the countess, for a day, some have played the part for years, and they came to compare notes.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: "Countess Dracula," a film about Elizabeth Bathory, who was the greatest serial killer of all time. She killed 650 women, and I played her in the film, so I've been invited to give a dissertation about her.

BURNS: And apart from those major motion pictures, like "Count Dracula," "Vampire Lovers" and "Queen of Horror" are local plays like this one, in the castle itself. If some locals ignore all the commotion and get on with their work, others are cashing in big on the ghoul-fest, crafting all sorts of artifacts. It's a booming business, and they just can't make enough of the stuff. How about a souvenir coffin with earth from Transylvania? Plenty of cheer to celebrate those moonless nights. And real vampires shouldn't leave home without one of these; the sun could rise before you know it. The first to make money off the idea was Bram Stoker, who wrote the classic novel in 1897. Now the locals have turned the tables, making money off the man who terrorized their ancestors.

Chris Burns, CNN.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

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