I discuss everything at length, just to be clear/show my own self-awareness, but on with the blog!
Dracula is a character that has tickled my fancy since I was far too young to even know about the Count. I was only six years old when my parents rented the VHS of 1992’s Bram Stoker’s Dracula and, thinking it would save my little brain from scarring, sat me in the other room to colour, leading only the noises of the Count’s adventures to reach my little ears. After a few nights of nightmares, my dad’s approach to my fears of what I had heard was to get a child’s version of the tale to read to me, and while it sounds like that would only make it worse, it cured me of nightmares and insensed in me a need to find more stories like that, with strange other worldly creatures and regal monsters and castles full of bats. What more could a little girl want from a story?
I broke into it all easy. Mona the Vampire, The Bailey School Kids (I never reached Dracula Doesn’t Rock and Roll, but wish I did since Mr.Drake was a favourite of mine, unsurprisingly), Scooby-Doo–all socially acceptable things for someone my age. Very quickly, however, I was not getting nearly enough from my pre-teen novels and needed more. Buffy, The Vampire Diaries, Angel? Yes, please.
Grade eight was a fantastic year for vampire literature, at least for me. It was then that Interview with the Vampire and Dead Until Dark came into my life, and Queen of the Damned was in theatres (with the amazing soundtrack that matched my Big Shiny Tunes tastes of the time). Vampires were tough, they were sexy, and they were, most importantly, accessible due to the surge making more and more authors and screenwriters come out of the woodwork to put forward their own creatures of the night.
Yes, this lead to Twilight, and I feel like apologizing for promoting the industry that produced that, but it’s not our fault, I swear. It’s not vampire literature, anyway; it’s YA romance. Different genre, move on.
Now, I’ve never been one to say “enough with the vampires, already!” or “no” to any version of Dracula (I allowed for Dracula 2000 in my life, I was that keen), however this fall, NBC is testing my patience. Just watch:
I understand, NBC. You have an American audience to work with, so making Dracula sound like he is from Pennsylvania rather than Transylvania works (Hannibal, however, can still sound European–I know, I know, “European” isn’t an accent, shut up–without problem since…why?) and maybe you need to add more intrigue with what looks like a sexy vampire hunter (Apparently Van Helsing isn’t sexy enough), and yes, let’s make him bring electricity to the town–wait, what. What.
Let me tell you why this all upsets me after all that talk of taking vampires any which way I can get them:
It takes something I love and yet again makes it “socially acceptable”. Insulting.
Since when was Dracula not allowed to sound vaguely foreign, be vaguely evil, and look vaguely terrifying even when he is supposed to be charming your pants off (before biting you, not wooing you, MINA).
Also, who said Mina and Dracula have a past? Why do they need a past? Why can’t he just hunt like the predator he is, like the hunter he proudly proclaims to be? It would be like taking a film like Alien and making it a television series in which the alien is the descendant of a bully from Ripley’s primary school days or maybe the second cousin of a prom date who jilted her, I don’t know. It’s ridiculous. Dracula doesn’t pick Mina Harker for any specific reason (Francis Ford Coppola, are you listening?) besides she’s a lady. Yep. That’s it. Not even that, she is the last lady that is young in the area, no less! She wasn’t even his first choice. What is all this Mina-hype? Come on. Come ON.
The casting. I know there is a good deal of love for Rhys Meyers out there, and I did once admire him greatly (in a squealing teenage girl kind of way), but to me, he doesn’t have nearly enough presence in the trailer for the series to be the Count. Maybe the Count’s little brother or nephew, or his neighbour’s bratty kid, perhaps, but not Count Dracula himself. The Count is not the vampire next door, he is the mother fucking Count who you don’t want to mess with. Even when he is trying to charm those around him, there is still the air of “Back off” wafting off him. Yet no. No, he is all smiles, flirts, and cheeky grins. Don’t get me started on Renfield, either. And no, it’s not about race, it’s about why the Hell is he sane in the slightest? Nope. No, thank you.
I will admit I had some worries about Hannibal coming to the small screen, however the show has amazed me and has me eagerly awaiting each new episode, but my worries were that of a fan of Anthony Hopkins as Hannibal–Mads Mikkelsen has completely won me over, so that’s that. My worries about NBC’s Dracula rebirth stem from being a fan of Dracula himself, and I don’t think they’ll be soothed by any amount of good characterization. Maybe I’ll be surprised or maybe I’ll be annoyed.
Knowing me, though…it’s going to be annoyed.