Just when you thought we couldn’t get enough vampires in movies. I mean, honestly, how many times has it been done in movies? Better question, how many times can they retell the whole Dracula story? It’s all ultimately the same story, the pale human-looking monster with fangs can’t go out in the daylight and he bites humans. It’s been retold and parodied very many times. I’ve lost count on how many, but if people keep watching it, then we’ll be getting more vampires and more Dracula.
Speaking of Dracula, it looks like we’re getting another movie about the world’s most famous vampire, but not in the traditional way we’re used to seeing him. The Hollywood Reporter has revealed that Chloe Zhao has been hired to write and direct a movie about Dracula for Universal. Here’s the catch: her version will be a futuristic, sci-fi western style with Dracula in it.
Okay, I have to say, I’m pretty much past the whole vampire and Dracula story. If I’m being honest, however, I really have to admit that this take on Dracula intrigues me. We’ve seen Dracula as the typical scary vampire lord, we’ve seen him as an animated parody, and we’ve even seen him as a Marvel Comics villain. Remember the third Blade movie? Yeah, neither do I.
I also have to say that I’m at all familiar with Chloe Zhao’s filmography. Last I checked, she’s done three movies and she’s currently working on her fourth. That fourth one is a movie set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe and it’s called The Eternals. That alone makes me want to watch whatever she’s done, but I’m still super pumped for The Eternals. I like what I’ve heard about it so far, so if she delivers a good Eternals movie, that makes me excited to see her take on Dracula.
So what else do we know about this new Dracula project she’s helming? Nothing, except the fact that it will be a sci-fi western. Needless to say, that has never been done before, at least not with Dracula. When it comes to vampires, it’s all a big cliche that we’re used to seeing. The genre that vampires are typically tied to is horror, rightfully so, considering they’re bloodsucking monsters. So when I read that this new Dracula movie will be a futuristic western style movie, my curiosity was stoked.
Can anyone really imagine what a sci-fi western Dracula movie even be like? On the surface, I’d picture Dracula luring drifters or prostitutes in dark alleyways and biting their necks. Nine times out of ten, he’s usually the villain of his stories, so I’d also picture someone like Jonah Hex or a western Van Helsing hunting him. That’s another version of a Dracula story we’ve seen several times before. If Chloe Zhao wants to do something different, I bet she’s planning on making Dracula the main protagonist of this movie.
Would it be weird to see Dracula as a hero for a change? Probably so, but it would be different. I wouldn’t mind a little different, but I can actually see a more anti-hero version of Dracula. First of all, let’s talk about the setting, because I’m still itching to know more about it. It’s not just sci-fi and it’s not just a western, but a sci-fi western. When I think about sci-fi western, the first movie that comes to mind is Cowboys and Aliens. Just in case you haven’t seen it, the story is in the title. It’s in the typical western setting where cowboys shoot each other, but then they come across some aliens. Cowboys like to gunsling, so picture them with more advanced, futuristic guns. In their hands, it’s like shooting handheld cannons and having them fight aliens was a fun, out-of-the-box scenario to watch.
Cowboys and Aliens is a great example for science fiction merging with the western genre. If I had an idea of what a sci-fi western movie with Dracula would be like, I would imagine it would be like Cowboys and Aliens. Dracula is an immortal character, but we’ve never seen him live long enough to be a part of a futuristic setting. Whenever he’s shown in modern day, he usually uses his human appearance to blend into society. A more futuristic setting would allow him to blend in more easily, but throw in the western element and we have a new setting.
If we’re going back to Cowboys and Aliens, I’m willing to bet that this movie will be set in a classic western-style town. It might not be in the 1800’s, but it will at least be town that represents a classic western. The time of year will be some time in the future, but the town and area will be far away from any futuristic cities. And what kind of western elements can we expect to see? Well, I don’t see Dracula walking around town like John Wayne, but there’s a lot of different routes you can take with him.
He can have his castle in the middle of nowhere and perhaps he’s living alone and undisturbed until some treasure seekers unwisely decide to pillage his castle. That’s something we’ve seen before, so how about something a little unorthodox. I still think that Chloe Zhao plans on making Dracula the protagonist of her movie and that’s a risky move. Personally, I’d like to see Dracula act less villainous and more of an anti-hero who actually works with humans. For a western setting, he could assist a group of cowboys hunt a violent group of vampires. Of course, he would still only be able to come out at night, so his cooperation would be complicated. Plus, he probably won’t have the best relationship with humans.
Perhaps Dracula has moved past his villainous ways and has decided to live as a loner. But what would motivate him to turn against his own kind? There have been some iterations of Dracula where he married a human woman. Castelvania, anyone? What if he did marry a human woman, but at somehow, at some point, she died. This would cause Dracula to enter a deep state of depression, but also make him see the value of humanity. Maybe vampires killed his wife? If that happens, then he would be out for some vampire blood. A group of vampire hunters with futuristic hand cannons would work with Dracula to hunt down the vampires who killed his wife. He could introduce them to silver bullets or teach them some kind of technique that would help them kill vampires more easy. This already sounds like a fun movie.
We don’t know what Chloe Zhao specifically has in mind for this new take on Dracula, but given the setting, I’m certainly intrigued. Her vision could very well change the way we look at the world’s most famous vampire. All I know is, western and science fiction are always fun. If they merge together with Dracula, that will probably make it more fun. Bring on the vampires.