December 29th, 2006

buffy becoming

where's a vampire slayer when you need one?

Did anyone else watch the much-hyped BBC Dracula last night? Goodlord, that was bad. I'm quite easy to please when it comes to big Victorian melodrama, and when it comes to something like Dracula I don't mind a bit of tinkering with the plot; I'm not hugely attached to the book and it's part of popular culture now. But to remove all the genuinely creepy, scary things from the original and put in a frankly preposterous syphilis storyline was just idiotic.

Basically, it was like some producer said "hmmm, you know the way that anything to do with vampires has huge overtones of sex and sexually transmitted disease? Well, no one can actually see that unless we spell it out for them very, very clearly! And that's what good drama is all about! So let's pretend that Lord Arthur has syphilis and employs a bunch of black magicians to cure him so he won't infect Lucy Westenra, and THEY bring over Count Dracula to cure the clap with his mad vamp skillz! And let's get rid of all that guff in the castle with Jonathan Harker and the scary, beautiful, baby-eating ladies and Dracula not appearing in mirrors and crawling down walls - you know, all those bits that people actually remember from the book because they were actually creepy. Naw, we can get rid of the whole Harker bit in a few scenes - no scares needed! And don't bother about Lucy gradually becoming infected with vampirism and getting all wide-eyed and weird, not to mention that fucked-up bit with the giant dog thing practically shagging her in a graveyard. That won't make for exciting drama! No, let's marry her off to pox-infected Lord Arthur so she can be all sad about his refusal to consumate their marriage (lest she get syphilis) for a few scenes before engaging in so-bad-it's-hilarious sexing with Dracula and then die the next day. And that whole Renfield/mental hospital thing? Nah! There's nothing interesting about a lunatic preparing for the arrival of his dark master(bater, to quote Xander Harris) and eating insects! No, what we need are lots of microscopic close-ups of blood cells and really, really, cheesy sex scenes. That's what ver kids like these days."

Seriously, they got rid of just about everything I remembered from the book. It was SO BAD. It was like a lesson in how not to adapt a memorable book. In fact, it was so terrible that I had to turn it off about three quarters of the way through (as both Patsington and I kept going "oh my God, this is stupid") and watch some of Bleak House instead. Which was great. So for all I know Dracula could have become really, really good in the last half an hour. But I doubt it.