In one of the strangest and most unexpected developments I've come across since starting this site, literary management and motion picture production company AEI has announced that Bram Stoker's great-grandnephew Dacre Stoker and vampire scholar Ian Holt are hard at work on a sequel to Uncle Bram's famous 1897 novel.
It will be called Dracula: The Un-Dead (derived from Stoker's original title), and it isn't the first time a sequel has been attempted. In fact, some 11 years ago, a purported Dracula sequel came out with the exact same title. The difference here, however, is that the work is being branded "official" since it has the blessing--and is in fact coming directly from--the author's actual family. It is expected to be published in October of next year.
But that's not all, folks. See, you might have noticed that AEI is also a movie company. That's right, you guessed it, there will be a movie, also. Not only that, but, in the grand tradition of Thomas Harris' Hannibal, the movie deal has been made simultaneously with the book deal. In fact, if we're to believe the press release, the film will actually begin production four months before the book is officially published!
After digging a little deeper, I found that this isn't the first time this whole thing has been bandied about. Variety first broke the story 17 months ago, back when the book and movie were to be released by the end of 2007.
Dracula: The-Undead picks up in 1912, 25 years after Van Helsing, the Harkers, et al vanquished the Count in the Carpathian Mountains. Back home in jolly old England, someone or something is stalking our heroic vampire-hunters (gee, wonder who it could be!). Interestingly, this is very similar to the aforementioned "unofficial" Dracula sequel (left, penned by Freda Warrington).
Thanks to the family's access to Stoker's original manuscripts, elements of the original novel which were removed will be included in the new story. It is even rumored that AIE may seek to re-publish the original Dracula novel with these deleted elements restored for the first time as Stoker intended before his editor excised them.
I'm tempted to be excited by these developments, but something seems... I don't know... just a little shady and off-kilter here. Is there plagiarism going on? Is it shameless exploitation? Well of course it is, but what I mean is, is it being done with respect, and will anything of any merit come of it? Kind of reminds me of when H.G. Wells' descendant directed that Time Machine remake a few years back. Yeesh...
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