This film is part of Free

Dracula and the Turn of the Tide

What connects a vampire count and feuding fishing families? Five miles of coastline, storms at sea, and two contrasting imaginations.

Documentary 1981 26 mins

From the collection of:

Logo for Yorkshire Film Archive


The association of Whitby with Bram Stoker’s Dracula is fairly well-known; the writer Leo Walmsley less so. Michael Clegg takes us on a journey around the places that inspired both authors, Whitby and Robin Hood’s Bay, just five miles apart on the Yorkshire coast. With the help of excerpts from two films based on their novels, ‘Turn of the Tide’ (1935), and ‘Scars of Dracula’ (1970), Clegg provides a guide to their work and the very different tales they have to tell.

What also connects the stories of Bram Stoker and Leo Walmsley is a common theme: intrusion of the foreign. In the case of Dracula, this is obvious enough, with the arrival on the shore at Whitby of an undead from Eastern Europe. Yet for the parochial small village of Robin Hood’s Bay, even those from nearby Whitby might be considered foreigners. The novels of Walmsley depict the insularity of this community, especially in his semi-autobiographical novel, ‘Foreigners’: "You might have your father and your grandfather born in the place and yet you’d still be a foreigner, unless you did everything exactly the same way they did it." And of course Bram Stoker, being Irish, would have been viewed as much more so.