MAKING the tale of Dracula even more scary is just how familiar parts of the novel seem to have been created.
Bram Stoker visited Exeter at least once before he wrote Dracula, and it is believed the city and its cathedral could have been part of his inspiration for the novel.
Now, bringing the story back home as a dance theatre production is the renowned Mark Bruce Company.
Dracula is being staged at Exeter Northcott Theatre from Tuesday, October 1, to Wednesday, October 2. A cast of 10 exceptional dancers bring the haunting, erotic tale to life in a heart-stopping and magical production.
With an eclectic mix of music from Bach and Mozart to Ligetti and Fred Frith, Mark Bruce explores choreographic styles ranging from the subtlety of classical etiquette to visceral contemporary dance.
In response to the continuing worldwide fascination with Bram Stoker and his most iconic creation Count Dracula, descendants of the family have taken an active role in ensuring their famous ancestor's intellectual property rights are preserved and protected.
Robin MacCaw, the great grandson of Bram Stoker, reveals what he knows about Dracula's links with Exeter.
The city is featured quite prominently as the workplace of Jonathan Harker in Dracula, but did Bram have any links to the city?
"Unfortunately, not that I know of," said Robin. "Upon research, Bram visited Exeter's Theatre Royal on its opening night in 1886, before he wrote Dracula. But as the personal assistant of Sir Henry Irving, it's possible Bram visited more times with him.
"I have visited Exeter because my family used to live in Shaldon, so Exeter was the nearest big city. We visited many times and loved it."
The story of Dracula has been retold countless times on both the stage and screen but did Bram see any stage productions of Dracula?
Robin said: "There was only one stage version of Dracula in Bram's lifetime. In 1897 it was read at the Lyceum Theatre and during the reading, rumour has it, Sir Henry Irving walked out halfway through saying he didn't like it, which led most people to think this was because he wasn't in the lead role.
"It was first staged on May 18, 1887, at 11am, entitled Dracula or the Undead.
"Only two tickets were sold and were priced at 1 guinea. It received a terrible 'review' from the Lord Chamberlain, who dismissed the performance as 'dreadful'. But the novel went on sale only a few weeks later and the rest is history."
But the Mark Bruce Company is hoping for much better tickets sales and reviews is .
Jonathan Goddard plays the infamous Vampire Count, whose sinister and ruthless ambitions challenge the very fabric of Victorian society. As his victims and opponents rally against him they must face the darkness and savagery within themselves.
Mark Bruce said: "I think an idea of Dracula is embedded in us mainly through the movies. He is an enigmatic character with many of the qualities mentioned above. He is often just a presence alluded to, perhaps only a darker side to ourselves."
Formed in 1991, the Mark Bruce Company pushes the boundaries of style and expectations within the dance theatre genre, while remaining rooted in a strong and precise choreographic language.
Dracula will be its 16th new production. Tickets for the show, starting at 7.30pm, cost from £11.50 to £17.50. Call 01392 493493 or visit www.exeternorthcott.co.uk