[The Week in Geek is a weekly Tuesday column that plunges headfirst into a deep pool of genre geekiness without ever coming up for air.]
Dracula has risen from the grave! No, seriously! Yesterday celebrated the 80th anniversary of the release of Tod Browning's classic monster movie, but there's an all-new race going on right now between three filmmakers to bring Bram Stoker's bloodsucker back to the multiplex masses. Part of this is just cyclical -- Dracula, like Robin Hood and Peter Pan, is one of those literary characters who gets dusted off every couple of years for the silver screen, to varying degrees of success ('Dracula 2000,' anyone?).
Another obvious part of this would-be revival is a cash-in on the vampire fad. While it's not as red hot as it was a year ago, the trend is still going strong. Studios are still looking for vampire projects, and, let's face it, there's really no better vampire than the original. While no one has supplanted Bela Lugosi's iconic visage, there are at least three upcoming projects that will try to put their own face on the vampiric count.
Bram Stoker's Dracula Project
Despite popular opinion, I happen to like both 'House of Wax' and 'Orphan,' so I'm pretty Bram Stoked to hear that director Jaume Collet-Serra is gearing up his own Dracula film. Bad Ass Digest had the scoop, but details at this point are pretty scarce. Leonardo DiCaprio is on board as producer, and he has an unusually great eye for projects, so my hopes are high for this one.
I've never been a fan of modern updates of the character (with the exception of 1958's 'The Return of Dracula'), but if they decide to keep the film as a period piece, they might risk confusion with the next film on this list...
Dracula Year Zero
This is the film that made headlines in 2010 by casting 'Avatar' star Sam Worthington as Dracula. That's the kind of casting that makes my knee jerk -- a manufactured, vanilla action star as gothic horror's most iconic character? Someone, please put a stake in my heart.
I have to swallow my distaste for Worthington in the role, because of the director attached -- Alex Proyas. Proyas, even at his worst, makes visually arresting, conceptually-interesting misfires ('Knowing'). I can imagine Proyas' take on Dracula as the most aesthetically sumptuous feast since Francis Ford Coppola's version from 1992.
This project is being pitched as a big-budget origin story, examining Vlad the Impaler's dark road to eventually becoming the legend we know as Dracula. This is an approach that's been done a few times in direct-to-video films, but never in a wide theatrical release.
The Last Voyage of Demeter
The problem with Dracula is that his story is so repeated, that it's difficult to get scares from something so familiar. 'The Last Voyage of Demeter' is a great "why-didn't-I-think-of-that?" idea for a Dracula film. It stays within the boundaries of the source novel, while telling an untold story -- what exactly happened on Dracula's sea voyage that brought him from Transylvania to England?
David Slade, no stranger to all kinds of vampires himself, having helmed '30 Days of Night' and 'Twilight: Eclipse,' has replaced Stefan Ruzowitzky as director. Jude Law was recently cast alongside Noomi Rapace and Sir Ben Kingsley, but there's no word on who is donning the fangs to play Dracula.
In your opinion, which upcoming Dracula project has the most potential?
(additional sources: Heat Vision, Latino Review)