The age of crowd-funding has arrived and with it lots more independent films! Yours truly even used the process to fund a stage production of LeFanu’s classic Carmilla, while the producers of The Curse of Styria used one to finish post-production on their independent film. Among them, a new kickstarter project looking to make a brand new version of Dracula! I had an interview with Chris Denmead, who runs the Radio of Horror Blog. This version of Bram Stoker’s masterpiece–one with the genders of all the characters reversed–is his personal dream project. He even made a short, a kind of cinematic prelude to the final film which you can see at his kickstarter page.
How do you think the story of Dracula changes by gender-swapping the characters? For example, does the “ick” factor increase if Mr. Westenra goes around biting prepubescent girls?
I think the female is the deadlier of the species and can be the more evil creature than man, yes Man is bad too, but woman are vindictive mean and nasty (as villains mind you not all woman are like this) and get what they want when they put their minds to it. My Dracula is clever and cunning will stop at nothing. We don’t over emphasis her as a woman except in the pronouns their is really nothing different
Your short film seemed to be a nod to the 1931 film, giving Renfield Harker’s initial storyline. Was this a deliberate tribute?
It’s actually more loosely based on the short story Dracula’s Guest and In the main movie Harker will meet Dracula and be taken prisoner thru most of the movie
Are you going to transpose events into the modern day?
Yes I am. Costumes of a period piece film are very expensive and it’s easier to get a car for a shot than a horse drawn carriage.
How far along in pre-production planning have you gotten? Are locations lined up?
Right now we are only concentrating on the kickstarter. We don’t have much more casting done other than the actress playing Janis Harker …Mel Heflin.
Do you know what kind of music you might be using?
That is still a mystery to me. But if I had the money i would hire someone who worked on the Konami Video games Castlevania
In your short, Dracula walks in daylight, as in the novel. Generally, how faithful will you be to the vampire lore from Bram Stoker? Will your vampire shape shift, for instance?
Yes Dracula after she has fed can walk in day light for a little while but not very long. Just enough to get to one place to another. We have plans for Dracula to transform into a Wolf like creature as in the novel and maybe a Bat as well as Fog
What do you see as the idea or theme behind Dracula? Arguably, modern readers tend to see it as in some sense about predatory sexuality, as a metaphor for disease or moral corruption, etc. Stoker may well a have seen it as a cautionary tale about the foreign ‘other.’ But how do you see it? And how does that dove-tail into the gender-switching?
I see Dracula as a survival story and story of loss. She will do anything to get her husband back whom she lost many years ago. At the same time she is a predator and will take what she wants when she wants it.
What are your favorite Dracula films? And which ones do you think the worst? And why?
Its a three way TIE. Dracula (1931), Hammer’s Horror of Dracula, and Dracula the Dark Prince . Now DTDP I want to point out is the only movie actually about Vlad Tepes and stars Rudolph Martin who also played him on an episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer. BUT THE BEST version of Dracula is not from a movie or tv show. It’s from Tomb of Dracula by Marv Wolfman and Gene Colon for Marvel Comics. What a great gothic comic. I am also a fan of the Castlevania video games where you have to fight the count at the end of every game.
Suppose you were given major studio backing, $50 million or more, who would you like to cast among “name” stars?
Angela Basset as Anastasia Van Hellsing, Tina Fey as Renfield and yes she may only do comedy but I think she could do a good job as a crazy woman. I would want some fresh faces. Maybe the guy from Arrow to play one of the husbands. I would get the Walking Dead make up people for the special effects and no CGI none what so ever. Unless it was reallllly needed. I plan on keeping Dracula and Renfield the same with the actors I have. Rachel and Allie did a good job