The trailer for BBC One's new drama Dracula, made in company with Netflix, has dropped on Youtube, and it promises to put the horror back in vampire fiction. Adapted from Bram Stoker's classic novel, the series was co-written by Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat, of Sherlock fame. It stars Claes Bang as the formidable Count Dracula, with a supporting cast of Jonh Heffernan, Dolly Wells, Joanna Scanlan, and Morfydd Clark among others.
Right off the bat, the trailer starts by dropping a ton of disturbing visuals set in the 18th century. We see a fly crawl across an eyeball. We see blood splashing ominously across a contract. We see a nail being ripped from a finger. We see nuns draw wooden stakes from their habits, vampires stuffed in crates and of course, the obligatory shot of a wooden cross.
We also get our first proper look at the Count himself. Unlike how Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat updated Sherlock Holmes to current times for their take on the victorian era detective, here Dracula appears to exist in the same period as Bram Stoker's novel placed him in. We catch a glimpse of the vampire lord donning his iconic cape that was made famous through countless movie adaptations of the novel over the years.
The forty-six-second teaser does not give away too much in terms of plot details, but early reports indicate the series will adhere closely to the original tale, at least in the beginning, as we follow the Count on his voyage to Britain in search of fresh victims. The show creators have also made it clear that, despite being the protagonist, this Dracula will not be a romanticized hero, but will rather stick closely to his original characterization as an incredibly long-lived creature who feasts on the blood of humans and feels no qualms about his role as a super-predator.
Dracula appears to be a conscious attempt to move away from the slick, fast-paced visuals of Sherlock towards a more old-fashioned style of horror, with practical effects and building towards a feeling of unsetting horror instead of setting up Dracula right from the start as some kind of Freddy Kruger-like demon.
In fact, the only time we hear the Count speak, his eyes blood red and his long dirty nails digging into a man's flesh as Dracula's hand wraps around his neck, he is saying softly and soothingly, "Try and stay calm, you're doing very well."
In a world where the last popular vampire series was the teen romance novels Twilight featuring sparkling vampires whos refuse to drink the blood of humans, Dracula seems ready to take the genre back to its roots in gothic horror. Balanced against that is the fact that Dracula's story has been done way, way too many times now for the concept to stay fresh. Everyone is already familiar with the story of the Count's adventures in London, which means Gatiss and Moffat will have to bring some fresh new elements to the table in order to make viewers care once again about the King of the Undead.
This trailer comes direct from BBC One.