DRACULA. Creators: Mark Gatiss, Steven Moffat. With Claes Bang, John Heffernan and Dolly Wells. Netflix.
MEGAN FURNISS reviews
This three-part mini-series reimagining of the story of Dracula is a totally successful marriage of old and new, vampire mythology turned on its head, fabulous characters and acting, and a hilarious, witty and outrageous script.
I am not a true fan of horror movies, but I do love a good vampire or zombie classic, so when I started seeing positive comments by friends on social media, I decided to give Dracula a bash, and I wasn’t disappointed. I binge-watched all three episodes in one go and was fascinated, tickled, creeped out and entertained right to the unexpected end.
Each big episode deals with a separate part of the story. The first episode, set in 1879 (I think) introduces us to Count Dracula, played by the delicious, wicked and stylishly camp Claes Bang, through an interview of an escapee from his castle; lawyer Jonathan Harker, brilliantly played by John Heffernan. He is being interviewed by reluctant nun Sister Agatha (I shall leave her surname out because of spoiler reasons). Sister Agatha, played by Dolly Wells, is hilarious, quirky and by far the most original vampire fighter. I love her. The first episode sets up Count Dracula’s leaving of his castle and his journey to the new world; England. The second episode is the dark and mysterious journey aboard the Russian ship the Demeter, and the final episode, off the charts in both story and novelty, is the modern resolution of the story. Crazy stuff indeed.
This retelling of Count Dracula is both loyal and deviant, keeping elements of the original; bats, a creepy castle on the hill, tooth baring and blood sucking, and the cross, sunlight and wooden stakes through the heart, and then mixing it up with a bit of homo-eroticism, peculiar undead, and a nun on a mission, not to mention the third episode. That third episode …
There is the usual gore, the worst of creepy and ubiquitous flies, a bit of horror, lots of fantastic one-liners, terrible Russian accents, very bad science, commentary on the human condition, great performances, brilliant styling and special effects and a clever take on the story.
I probably won’t remember this in a couple of months, but it was seriously fun while I was watching it.