Branding a Stake in Dracula

NEW YORK–One of the most infamous names in literary and movie history may take a bite out of the theme park marketing industry. The Romanian government said it has been contacted by a group of German investors who want to open Dracula Land in Transylvania.

Plans call for the terror theme park to be built near Sighisoara–the hometown of the 15th century prince Vlad the Impaler, who inspired Bram Stoker’s Dracula, according to Romania’s tourism minister Dan Matei Agathon. He said that Westernstadt Pullman City, a company that currently runs Germany’s Wild West in America amusement park, intends to design and operate Dracula Land. The park will cost about $45 million to build and is expected to open in 2003. Although specific rides and attractions were not announced–will there be a House of Mirrors?–hotels and a golf course are being planned. Contrary to legend, it will not be open only at night.

Meanwhile, a man who claims to be the real-life descendent of Vlad the Impaler has lost a case in which he attempted to stop his namesake from being used in ads and to sell merchandise. A German court ruled that Ottomar Rodolphe Vlad Dracul Prince Kretzulesco cannot prevent a distributor from selling “Dracula” wines because he can’t claim the sole rights to the name. The company successfully argued that it had distribution rights to market “Dracula” wine and that its advertisements were referring to the legend of Dracula, not to Ottomar Rodolphe, who lives and works as an antiques dealer in Germany.