Approx. 180,000 words
Marc Warren is Dracula as an aging punkster in the classy British TV production of Dracula in 2006.
Dracula in the blood
Dracula (2006): Director Bill Eagles; writer Stewart Harcourt; featuring Marc Warren, David Suchet, Sophia Myles
For yet another, and very different, modern take on Dracula, you could check out the 2006 TV version of Dracula made for Masterpiece Theatre.
But you may find it hard to recognize your favourite villain in this piece. The aristocratic old gent is replaced by a pouting youngster, played in a punkish vein by Marc Warren, who is actually close to forty but looks like a spoiled brat of about twenty-two.
The story line is rather novel too, placing at the centre a subplot about a character with syphilis trying to eradicate his disease. He seeks the services of a blood-worshipping religious cult that has grown up around Dracula.
There might actually be an interesting interpretation of Dracula somewhere here, connecting the apprehension of sexual wantonness in the original story with today's fear of blood-borne diseases, especially AIDS. But it's handled too confusingly in this conceptually murky production.
The character of Johnathan Harker is practically written out of the story and the figure of Van Helsing, essayed by the accomplished David Suchet (of Poirot fame), is also twisted beyond recognition. Van Helsing is now a prisoner of the cult, discovered only in the latter part of the film and rescued just in time to save London—and the world—from the wicked count.
The acting, staging and cinematography are all quite fine (if very dark), as expected in a high-class British production.
But ultimately this supposed update of the Dracula story disappoints. So many of the main characters are dead by the end, fulfilling the pessimistic foreboding tone of the drama. And yet we get the idea we're supposed to feel uplifted—at least until the before-the-curtain-dropping "twist" that we saw coming a crooked mile away.
By that time we're neither surprised nor gratified, and definitely not scared. Just tired.
We were infected by Dracula a long time ago but medicine does not offer a cure for what ails us. If we even want one.