Alan Jones – one time London correspondent for Cinefantastique – revealed on his Twitter account today that Italian filmmaker Dario Argento is planning to remake DRACULA in 3D. Filming, which will retain the original novel’s period setting, is supposed to start in January.
So, is this good news or bad news? After a dull patch in the ’90s, Argento has been doing reasonably good work in the new millennium, even if it’s not up to his glory days of the ’70s and early ’80s. Personally, I found SLEEPLESS, THE CARD PLAYER, DO YOU LIKE HITCHCOCK, and MOTHER OF TEARS all to be entertaining, especially the latter (which was vilified by Argento’s fan-base for not hewing close enough to its predecessors, SUSPIRIA and INFERNO).
However, I am leery of seeing Argento take on Bram Stoker’s immortal Count Dracula. The last time Argento got his hands on a classic movie monster, he made what could arguably be the worst movie of his career, 1998’s PHANTOM OF THE OPERA, which is a poorly considered mish-mash of Goth, gore, and goofy ideas (including a handsome Phantom played by Julian Sands and a ridiculous rat-catching vehicle that looks like a 50-cent ride you’d see in front of a supermarket).
Argento has done wonderful work in his chosen field, the violent Italian mystery-horror films known as giallos. And he managed the supernatural elements in the Three Mothers trilogy with style. But traditional Gothic Horror -and in 3D, no less? I imagine he will have some over-the-top fun with the visuals, but it will take more bloody stakes and vampire fangs comin’ at ya from the screen to justify another remake of this oft told story.