DRACULA HAPPENS: this could be a movie.
I am neither a screenwriter, nor a film director, nor even a native English-speaker. But I still have my mind to operate with and a bunch of means for sharing my ideas. Sharing this one: the story begged to be told.
Take Bram Stoker’s “Dracula”; I can’t name a single successful attempt of making this uniquely plain novel into a normal, contemporary story, which takes place in XXI century (“Dracula 2000” is still weird, deal with it). So — here’s the movie I’d absolutely love to see.
WARNING: CONTAINS PLOT AND A DREAM CAST.
Let’s call it “Dracula: Revisited”, or, “Thaumaturgy For Beginners”, or whatever you like, it won’t be a comedy anyway. Imagine a nice medical university/college/whatever somewhere in Britain. There’s a bunch of friends around:
- John Seward, who’s a senior student achieving his MD degree in psychiatry (mhmmm, let’s make him Arthur Darvill, he’d make a nice psychiatrist);
- two cheerful gonna-be surgeons, Arthur Holmwood (I would have made him James McAvoy, but we’re not filming porn; so let him be Andrew Garfield just for lols, I can’t put my finger on the exact image of Arthur, really) and Quincy Morris (he needs to be very American, so let him be… ugh, now I see I don’t know any suitable Americans; will Joshua Jackson do?);
- Lucy Westenra, a young bacteriologist (Karen Gillan, or Florence Welch, because I can’t think of other lovely red-headed ladies);
- Wilhelmina Murray (soon-to-be Harker), who works as a waitress and studies forensic pathology or something (Kat Dennings, because why the Hell NOT);
- Jonathan Harker (make him Tom Hiddleston, Hiddleston always makes sense), who works as the local solicitor apprentice and studies the same stuff with Mina.
All these nice young people are having pretty much the same links as in the original novel, e.g. Harker loves Mina, Lucy can’t choose between the three candidates, etc. Let this all develop as a nice romantic comedy for a while, just to make the audience understand that THEY ALL ARE DOOMED.
One day (surprise, surprise!) local pathologist R.M. Renfield (um, David Tennant or Julian Rhind-Tutt? They’re both gorgeous as clinical psychos) comes to the senior MD who runs the psychiatry/psychology department of the uni; that guy is, basically, THAT Abraham van Helsing (Clark Gregg — and don’t tell me you didn’t see that coming, I kinda started the whole thing to get to this point, because JUST IMAGINE THAT; if you can’t imagine that, imagine there some Craig Ferguson and die from hyperventilation, thank you). The trick is that van Helsing is not only just a MD; he is a descendant of an old family of — I don’t know, call them “The Inquisition”, you get the idea anyway. Van Helsing’s family background makes him an outstanding expert in the most peculiar fields of medicine, history, mythology, etc. He doesn’t demonstrate that, but most part of the uni staff and students are aware of his ‘hobbies’.
Renfield tells van Helsing, that he (Renfield) has been invited to examine some strange body and needs van Helsing’s professional advice. The trick with the body is like this: a bunch of hooligans discovered an old crypt with a grave within; the grave contained a body. What makes the body in question strange is that it looks like the person died only few months ago or so, BUT the analysis of the bones says that the corpse might be hundreds of years old. Renfield is all excited and willing to connect this stuff with the myths about the undead, or prove some theories about the aging of the dead flesh, or — there can always be a suitable theory, who am I kidding?
The ancient body (slender female about 600 years old, don’t call Christen Stewart to play her, for God’s sake) is moved to the uni morgue. The damned students are haunted by something. The van Helsing only suspects (a lot). The thing that Renfield is, in fact, the teacher and spends plenty of his time with students makes it easier to connect all the characters in one bloody mess the original “Dracula” story offers, like, undead Lucy, mad Renfield, etc. SUSPENSE IS BUILDING. Everyone who has heard at least a word about the original “Dracula” already sighs, like, DUDE HOW COME YOU DON’T GET IT THE GRAVE SURELY CONTAINED MORE THAN ONE BODY AND THAT BODY WAS COUNT SODDING DRACULA AND HE’S WALKING THE CITY NOW ISN’T IT OBVIOUS.
It isn’t obvious. Ha. Ha. HA.
Because, well, yeah, the grave is about as old as Dracula’s (XV century FTW), but the only body there is female. And all the original “Dracula” story goes bananas at the point when the body disappears from the uni morgue, and a serious business lady comes to visit our brainy van Helsing. The business lady (she can be portrayed by anyone, really, like, Amanda Palmer or whatever; she just has to behave a bit strange, like an ancient queen who knows a lot about the modern world and still disapproves) reveals herself as that body from the ancient grave…
And here the actual plot starts. My fellow friend Guildensterrrn and I spent about an hour at some local Starbucks, busy with imagining. Because, well — imagine a classic vampire, unspoiled by the modern opinions on the undead, who:
- doesn’t glitter;
- doesn’t burn in the sunlight;
- just gets a bit weaker at daytime;
- knows modern life surprisingly well;
- keeps calm and drinks human blood.
The trick with being aware of the modern world can be easily explained: the woman used to dig herself from the grave from time to time, feed on the living, and make herself some handy minions (because, well, yeah, a charming lady with long fangs, who could resist). The minions in question (ask Neil Gaiman to play at least one of them) succeeded both taking care of their ‘Allmother’ AND providing vampires, as the whole species, with the greatest power of the modern world: SOCIAL ACCEPTANCE. Like, all those cute stories about vampires and love are basically the result of years and years of hard work of the skilled minions. Public relations department for a gang of bloodsuckers, just imagine that.
The business woman from the grave is smart (and inhuman) enough to understand that her minions and she better maintain peace and balance in relationship with the whole world. She comes to van Helsing to negotiate. The van Helsing bloodline is a potential threat to the vamps, because that’s the very rare part of humanity, who can:
a) tell a vampire from a human and a healthy human from the one with a bite;
b) subconsciously resist all the vampire charms;
c) remain immune to vampire bites because each and every one in van Helsing bloodline is a BAMF.
Oh, deal with it. Everything’s about the genetics. And BAMF family heritage.
Up from that point, I’m torn between three options.
The first one: the ‘Allmother’ is in her own way nostalgically nice to humans, and all the scary-Dracula-stuff is provided by some of her stupid minions. So, the lady wants van Helsing team to fix the population of the minions for the sake of world peace.
The second one: the ‘Allmother’ doesn’t give a damn about the fate of humanity, unless people remain living as a sort of kettle for her minions. So, the lady wants to get rid of van Helsing (by means of turning the descendants of the family into her own kind by means of infecting them with some vamp virus) for the sake of world domination.
The third one: the ‘Allmother’ is relatively good, but she’s not the only one, and most part of vamp society disapproves her peaceful approach towards humans. Add to that, that some powerful humans are strongly against ALL the vamps, no matter how peaceful they can be. So, the lady wants to warn van Helsing, because vamps want to get rid of his bloodline, and some powerful humans think of capturing van Helsings in military labs in order to synthesize some ultimate anti-vamp weapon from his blood samples.
Phew. That’s it. Finally managed to put this all together, hope all this makes sense.
If anybody actually makes this a film, I’m all for painting the posters ;}