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SYFY WIRE The Last Voyage of the Demeter

Watch How They Made The Last Voyage of the Demeter's Terrifying Dracula With Practical Effects

"I wanted our Dracula to feel different, more animalistic, more feral."

By Josh Weiss
Dracula in The Last Voyage of the Demeter (2023)

Emaciated, desperately hungry, and just plain terrifying to look at, the Dracula featured in The Last Voyage of the Demeter (hitting theaters tomorrow) is unlike any depiction of the iconic vampire audiences have ever seen. And that's very much the point.

Director André Øvredal (The Autopsy of Jane DoeScary Stories to Tell in the Dark) wanted to unceremoniously strip the neck-biting scourge of his pedigreed title of "Count" — at least for the sake of this project — and reveal the soulless monster lurking beneath the surface. It's a rather fitting metaphor, given how the entire film takes place aboard a rocking merchant vessel at sea. When the Demeter is rockin', don't come a-knockin...unless, of course, you want your jugular ripped out in the most horrific way imaginable.

RELATED: The Last Voyage of the Demeter Star On Why Throwback Dracula Film Is a Rare Risk

"I wanted our Dracula to feel different, more animalistic, more feral," Øvredal explains in a new featurette detailing the creation of the vampiric villain. "Like an addict, he needs his blood. I wanted him to feel like he is fragile [but] also desperate and dangerous."

How They Turned Javi Botet Into Dracula For Last Voyage of the Demeter

To that end, he reunited with fellow Scary Stories alum Javier "Javi" Botet to play the undead baddie. Praised by Øvredal as "an amazing creature actor," Botet spent a whopping five hours in the makeup chair before even stepping on set, "but everything was worth it," he says in the video. There's just no beating practical creature effects, overseen here by Göran Lundström, who was tasked with transforming the 6-foot 7-inch actor into a pale, veiny, and dead-eyed freak of nature.

In addition to Botet, the maritime thriller also stars Corey Hawkins, Liam Cunninghman, David Dastmalchian, and Aisling Franciosi as the hapless seafarers tasked with transporting Dracula from Bulgaria to England.

Audiences will be able to feast their eyes on Botet's chilling performance tomorrow — Aug. 11 — when The Last Voyage of the Demeter sinks its fangs into theaters everywhere. Click here to reserve a cabin (aka tickets) aboard the doomed ship, which you can explore on the movie's interactive website. Test out your sea legs with sneak peak clips, behind-the-scenes tidbits, a Snapchat filter, and more.

Want to satisfy your craving for undead fare in the meantime? Renfield and Vampire Academy are now streaming on Peacock. Looking ahead, SYFY's Reginald the Vampire  is set to return later this year for a second season.