Oct 23, 2020

Dracula: Dead and Homophobic


Dracula (2020), on Netflix, is advertised as a tv series, but it's actually three feature-length films revising the Bram Stoker classic.

Film #1:  At a convent in Transylvania, the extremely elderly, grotesque, fly-eating, and dead Jonathan Harker (John Heffernan) is being interviewed by Sister Agatha Van Helsing (Dolly Wells).  Six months ago, a young, strong, handsome lawyer, he came to Transylvania to help Count Dracula (Claes Bang, left) sell off his properties in preparation for a move to England. 

I'm sorry, I know they don't realize who he is, but everytime he says "I am...Count Dracula," I laugh.

Count Dracula is extremely elderly and grotesque, but as the two spend time together, he becomes younger, stronger, and more handsome, while Harker grows older and weaker.  Obviously draining his life essence.

"Did you have sexual intercourse?" Sister Agatha asks.

Yes.  And when Harker finally turns into a vampire, Dracula asks him to stay on as "one of my brides."  But it wasn't consensual.  This was an abusive, predaotry gay relationship, a stark contrast to the  heterosexual "true love" of Harker and his fiancee Mina.

Surprise!  Mina is in the interview room -- she came looking for him.  And she still loves him, in spite of his grotesque looks and being undead, yada yada yada.

Film 2: 
Dracula and  his slave/lover.nemesis Sister Agatha book passage on a Russian ship headed for England.  The other passengers are a microcosm of diversity:

1.-2. Dr. Sharma (Sacha Dhawan), who is traveling with a deaf-and-mute girl.

3.-5. Lord Ruthven (Patrick Walse-McBride) is gay, newly married as a screen, and travenling with his lover (Nathan Stewart-Jarrett), who is pretending to be his valet.  It's all done very subtly; a "blink and you'll miss it" half-scene here and there.

6. The elderly Duchess Valeria, whom Dracula danced with on her  18th birthday 60 years ago.

Dracula seduces and kills or just kills them all, and most of the crew as well.  The same-sex seduction/murders are handled cautiously, a hand on the knee, an off-camera neck-bite, whereas the heterosexual seduction/murders are done in full-fledged "We are meant to be together!" mode.

In the end the only survivors are comic relief pair Olgaren (Youssef Kerkour) and Piotr (Samuel Blenkin), a young man who defrauded his way onto the ship.  They have a gay-subtext buddy bond.

Sister Agatha and the Captain manage to sink the ship so Dracula can't "infect" England.  He ends up on the bottom of the ocean, but being undead, he just start walking toward the shore.

Film 3:
Apparently Dracula took a wrong turn.  When he emerges from the surf, 123 years have passed: it's 2020.  He seduces/kills a couple, moves into their house, and starts adjusting to life in the future.  

He gets a new slave/lover, Frank Renfield (Mark Gatiss), who works for the same law firm that sent Jonathan Harker over years ago.  And he meets Dr. Zoe Von Helsing, Sister Agatha's grand-niece, who is studying the undead, financed by the foundation set up by Harker's fiancee  Mina years ago.  

See how neatly everything works out?

Meanwhile Mina's descendant Lucy is a party girl, dating around, leading on lovestruck Jack (Matthew Beard), who is working for the Harker Institute (see how neatly everything works out?), and then rich playboy Quincey (Phil Dunster, left).  

That all changes when she meets  Dracula. The two begin a consensual vampiric relationship.  When she dies from a botched feeding, he eagerly awaits her returning as his bride, only to discover that Jack had the  body has been cremated!

That leaves Zoe, who for some reason has all of the memories of Sister Agatha, the only woman who was ever strong, powerful, and intelligent enough to be Dracula's equal.  They  fall in lo-oo-oove, deep, everlasting, soul-changing.  Heterosexual.

Moral: Same-sex desire is always destructve, predatory, downright wrong.  Only true, real, "normal" heterosexual romance can lead you to salvation.


The writer, by the way, is the gay homophobic Mark Gatiss, the Uncle Tom who kept the gay content out of Sherlock and swears up and down that there is no same-sex desire or behavior in "Dracula."


  1. Just FYI, the writer is the very gay Mark Gatiss.

  2. Gay writers often produce homophobic content. Either they are dealing with internalized homophobia, or they are trying to do what sells. He's the guy who kept the gay content out of "Sherlock," and he swears up and down that there "Dracula" is completely gay-free.

    1. Kinda inevitable with a modern interpretation of Dracula. This is sex is bad, guard your purity girls.

      Since Dracula is a literal sexual predator, the logic that he'll seduce anyone (because he's hungry and I've never given a thought to if my steak had been male or female because the onion, potato, and mushroom aren't) leads into some dangerous places. It can be done, but you have to have a significant number of hunters be bi for it to work.

  3. In his Bram Stoker biography "Something in the Blood" author David J Skall tries to suggest that the man who wrote Dracula might have been bi-curious.

  4. I had mixed feelings about this one- it's a great looking show and Claes Bang makes an impressive Dracula. I liked that he hypnotized some of the straight male victims to think he was a female until it was too late. Dracula is pure evil so he will bite and use everyone. This is a very loose version of the novel which has no people of color or nuns.

    1. I never read the original Bram Stocker novel. It's all epistolary, which is rather a turn-off. But I understand that the Murnau "Nosferatu" comes closest in its representation of Dracula as repellant rather than seductive.


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