…That a handful of characters have become overused TV brands, like Sherlock Holmes and Dracula, and every year delivers another crate of old wine in new bottles (See ‘How Crime Novels Took To The Straight And Narrow’, below) Sam Mendes has announced that he’ll direct a “psychosexual” horror TV series featuring Dracula and Dr Frankenstein, set in Victorian London.
The series, Penny Dreadful, will be screened by Showtime, and is described as a ‘very psychological and highly erotic’ horror detective drama featuring various fictional characters investigating supernatural events in turn-of-the-century Victorian London. Mendes will use Dr Frankenstein and his creature, characters from Bram Stoker’sDracula, Oscar Wilde’s creation Dorian Gray and possibly Jack the Ripper. Perhaps he could chuck in Tarzan, Batman and Mickey Mouse while he’s at it.
Meanwhile, it turns out that ‘Ripper Street’, which actually hinges on an interesting premise, is directed by Tom Shankland, the director I’ve been working with on a London-based horror anthology. I think it’s rather good even though the whores look like catwalk models instead of poor people with no teeth. I hate the name of the series, though, which, apart from being distasteful, once again shows how desperate commissioners are to lock into a brand. The series plays out more like ‘The Rivals of Sherlock Holmes’ – if anyone’s old enough to remember that. There are also two volumes of stories that go with that older series.
As a matter of interest, the Ten Bells pub (which of course is still there) was briefly renamed the Jack the Ripper until public outcry forced it back to its original name. I can’t imagine they’d rename the Golden Lion ‘The Dennis Nielsen’ (it was where he met his victims) and I don’t approve of lionising murderers.