Here’s some fangtastic news to start off your day, folks. The long-gestating Dracula spinoff The Last Voyage of the Demeter looks like it’s going to set sail after all. It’s about damn time, too.
Deadline reports that Corey Hawkins will star in the film, which is being helmed by Scary Stories to Tell In the Dark director, Andre Øvredal. The latest incarnation of the script was penned by Zak Olkewicz, whose only other credits as of this writing are Bullet Train and Fear Street 2.
The Last Voyage of the Demeter is based on “The Captain’s Log” chapter from Bram Stoker’s 1897 novel. The chapter tells the story of the titular boat that was tasked with carrying cargo crates from Carpathia to London, only for the crew to seemingly vanish without a trace. The movie will focus on the plight of the helpless sailors as they fall prey to Dracula during the nightmare journey.
The horror that took place on the voyage happened off the page in the novel, so the film has a great opportunity to explore an element of Dracula’s history that’s been relatively untapped on the screen until now. While this will undoubtedly result in the creators taking a few creative liberties with the source material, it’s an exciting and fresh angle for a Dracula adaptation all the same.
The premise is very enticing, but it’s worth keeping your excitement at a cautious level for now. This project has been in the works since 2002, with several other big-name writers, directors, and actors coming and going in that time. I’ll believe this movie is actually happening when I’m sitting in front of the screen, staring at the opening credits, and shaking in my boots.
Season of the Witch scribe Bragi Schut wrote the initial script. The idea came about after the screenwriter was inspired by Ridley Scott’s Alien and its James Cameron-directed sequel, Aliens. Schut originally toyed with the idea of making a space-set horror movie, but he decided to opt for the sea because he didn’t want his film to be compared to Scott’s classic. The decision to focus on the Dracula narrative came about after one of his old colleagues made a model of the Demeter ship.
Over the years, notable filmmakers such as Robert Schwentke, Marcus Nispel, David Slade, and Neil Marshall accepted directorial duties, only to bow out of the project later on. Naomi Cooper and Ben Kingsley were attached to star at one point, too. Still, the involvement of Øvredal is reassuring. He’s found mainstream success in recent years by crafting critically acclaimed horror features that are brimming with atmosphere and effective scares. He’s a great fit for this project. If he can’t get it made, no one will.
It remains to be seen how much the script has evolved throughout the years. The original version portrayed Dracula as a despicable monster, as opposed to the sexy bloodsucker that can be found in some of his more popular cinematic interpretations. Schut’s Dracula was envisioned to resemble the monstrous fiend from 1922’s Nosferatu. That said, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hollywood executives want the creature in this movie to be a thirst magnet.
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