October 3, 2008
by Kevin Powers
Spoilers of the genre aside (ahem, Twilight) I love just about anything having to do with vampires. Alan Ball's "True Blood" on HBO, for instance, is shaping up to be a wonderful modern take on the fanged nightcrawlers. And I can even enjoy the likes of 30 Days of Night. So you can imagine my delight that news from STYD that a sequel and film adaptation to the iconic "Dracula" story by Bram Stoker is in the works, titled The Un-Dead. I know we all think sequels can usually be the death of a story, but this doesn't sound bad at all. Apparently Stoker's great-grandnephew, Dacre Stoker and "award-winning Dracula documentarian and historian," Ian Holt, have sold the North American rights to the follow-up novel. The book is scheduled for an October 2009 release, while the film is expected to start production in June.
Dacre (since it's confusing just to call him Stoker) worked with Holt on the novel, combing through Bram's actual hand-written notes that intended to continue his iconic story. Dacre is quoted as saying, "Our story includes characters and plot threads that had been excised by the publisher from the original printing over a century ago." What's most noteworthy about this project is that it's the first, since the original 1931 film, to receive any sort "official" approval from the Stoker family. It seems fitting, since Dacre is an actual blood-relative of the man who authored the original horror tale in 1897, which, incidentally, has never gone out of print. Hell, you might as well pick up a copy if you haven't ever read it - it's worth it.
As for the actual story, it's anyone's guess. One of the publishers said of the book, "I was thrilled by this page-turning story and loved spending time with those great characters. Stoker and Holt did a fantastic job melding the old with the new, and I found the work to be a virtually seamless continuation of the original. The story has all the hallmarks of a historical novel, but with a modern sensibility that gives it wide-spread appeal." All of that sounds like self-serving spin, but it's all we have to go on at this point in time. As for the film, no director or any other important role has been announced yet; although, we do know that Dacre and Holt did pen the screenplay. There's certainly a lot to be excited and worried about here.
Given Dacre and Holt's proximity to the subject matter, can they actually pull it off?