The source material for the 2023 horror film, The Last Voyage of the Demeter, is a chapter titled “The Captain’s Log” from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel, Dracula. That should be enough to keep you from boarding the vessel. I mean, who would want Transylvania’s most famous vampire as a shipmate?

I could have presented this post as a Guilty Pleasure, given that The Last Voyage of the Demeter received so-so reviews and bombed hugely at the box office, canceling any thought of a sequel. But I had no problem with the film, and its two-hour run time seemed to fly by. (Remember, I’m easily entertained.)


Even if you’ve never seen the classic 1931 version of Dracula with Bela Lugosi, or any of the numerous other versions, you’d have to know that Count Dracula, aka Nosferatu, had to somehow get from Transylvania, his home base, to London, where the blood bank was wide open. His mode of transportation? The merchant ship Demeter (pronounced De-ME-ter), where our vampire friend will take full advantage of the limited supply.

Clemens helps Anna, a blood donor he discovered in one of Dracula’s crates.

If the title doesn’t give away the storyline, the first few minutes of the film leave nothing to the imagination. The Demeter, with seemingly no one on board, washes ashore in England. Nothing but crates, which the Count had arranged to be unloaded and taken to Carfax Abbey in London, his new home base.


After the opening, the story takes us back a few weeks to the waterfront in Varna, Bulgaria, where some Romanian peasants are delivering Dracula’s crates to the Demeter. Captain Eliot is a bit reluctant to take on this cargo, but a lucrative up-front fee, plus the promise of bonuses for him and the entire crew upon delivery to England, changes his mind. Rather than help load the crates on board, the peasants—who know better—head for the hills, saying they need to be far from there before nightfall.

Nosferatu is rather frightening.

So off sails the happy ship, and things go well for a while. The story is told through a voiceover from the captain’s logbook, and also via its main character, a young doctor named Clemens. Dracula, in his creepy-looking Nosferatu guise, first appears on deck as the Demeter plies the waters of the Aegean Sea. His initial snacks are comprised of the animals that are kept on board. Not the rats…all of them had previously abandoned ship, which should have been a clue for the humans, ya think?

From there, it’s one crewman after another, Dracula’s bite turning them into vampires themselves, even the captain’s grandkid, a young boy. Some of them, later exposed to the sun, burst into flames (gross but cool scenes).

The Last Voyage of the Demeter offers an alternative ending to what Bram Stoker wrote in “The Captain’s Log.” In typical Hollywood fashion, it was primed for a sequel. But as I said, that won’t happen. Too bad. The film was far from the best horror movie I’ve ever seen, but also far from the worst. If you’re into vampires, or horror in general, it’s worth a look.

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