Thursday, 29 June 2017

Musing on Moffat's and Gatiss' Dracula Proposition

News came out last week that Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, the creators behind the BBC's hugely successful Sherlock, are signed on to bring another Victorian legend to the small screen, Bram Stoker's Dracula. Set to be a similar format to Sherlock, the Dracula series will be a mini series with feature length episodes, but its unclear yet whether it will be a modern update, but chances are it will be.

When I first saw the news, I was excited for the prospect. Moffat has just recently left as show runner on the rebooted Doctor Who, which was at its peak when it was at its scariest (Blink being a favourite). Gatiss is known for his love of horror, with a particularly good series of his favourite scary movies for BBC4, as well as being one of the co-creators for the grotesquely surreal League of Gentlemen. Their version of Sherlock was intensely popular, marrying spot on casting with creative direction and a sassy/sociopathic lead. Even Sherlock, especially the last episode of the last series, couldn't help but seep in horror-esque tropes. These are two writers that are just itching to express some dark imagery.

I believe that the iconic vampire will be in good hands, and they've certainly got a lot of history to fall back on, as Dracula is one of the most represented characters in TV and film. What I am most intrigued to see is how they'll represent the idea of the "gothic" within a contemporary world, if they chose to go in that direction. The gothic genre has always been especially concerned with new technology, including galvanisation in Mary Shelly's Frankenstein, as well as the use of phonographs and blood transfusions in Dracula. Society's "ghost in the shell" is truly ripe for picking, with Google's driverless cars and Amazon's Alexa amongst some of the highlights, as well as the truly vampiric "young blood" transfusions.

Which ever direction they go in, Dracula is a potent metaphor for power and manipulation, a predatory monster with a guise of respectability, alluring but vicious. As one of my favourite novels, I believe he'll be in good hands.

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