Well the new adaptation of DRACULA has drawn much attention and caused a certain amount of division between old school Dracula fans and followers of the Count in this series of three episodes. Watching all three episodes was something of a task as I became uneasy with the dialogue and the mannerisms that the writers had come up with to update the Stoker novel. Yes there were a number of references to Hammer films and their take on the Vampire Count, and these did not go unnoticed and were appreciated by Hammer devotees. The musical score is by composers David Arnold and Michael Price who collaborated so successfully of SHERLOCK which was a series also penned by Mark Gatiss and Stephen Moffat. After watching the first two episodes I really could not decide if the music worked or fell short of the mark, and in fact I was hard pressed to even notice the music, but was this because I was focused on the imperfections of the series as it unfolded or was it because the music was just so good in enhancing the various situations on screen that I just did not realise it was there, which is a good thing I suppose because it is film music or TV music in this case and that’s what its there for. So I was pleased when Silva Screen sent out the promo of the score for review, it gave me a chance to actually listen to the score without any images, and I realise this is probably not the best way to hear music for film but in this case it worked for me. Arnold and Price have created a score that is in the main quite lush with romantic properties throughout, and in the music I can hear maybe little nods of acknowledgement to composer Wojciech Kilar as in his haunting love theme from his DRACULA score, which I still hold in high esteem. There is in this new score a sense of fragility and also an underlying atmosphere of apprehension and foreboding. It also contains cues that have a near celestial persona, the melodies being haunting and delicate. In the cue HELLO JOHNNY there is a short phrase which took me back to the Kilar score, as it evoked the theme or at least a fleeting moment from Minas theme from that soundtrack. Arnold and Price have fashioned a grand sounding work, which for the life of me I cannot understand why I never noticed whilst watching the series, it is powerful and commanding, driving and dark, but also it has as many poignant and are romantically laced interludes. The track YOU ARE JOHNATHAN HARKER too is effective, with driving low strings acting as a foundation for more sinewy sounding strings and percussive elements, that are punctuated and further embellished by sharp brass stabs, add to this voices and a disturbing half heard solo violin and you have something that is gripping and just a tad frightening.




I would say that this score is on a par with the music this composing duo created for SHERLOCK and at times it is probably more of a developed and inventive work, even the atonal material that raises its head at times is thematic in part. So, an entertaining soundtrack, but one that you might not notice when watching the series. It is a combination of conventional instrumentation, musique concrete and also the duo use an array of samples which they utilise imaginatively to create sounds that are perfect for this tale of horror. The music oozes menace and has a fearsome and unsettling aura to it. Certainly, for your collection, with highlight tracks being, THAT IS EVERYTHING, OUTGROWN BEAUTY and THE FEAR, the latter for me evoking James Bernard’s SCARS OF DRACULA at times. Out digitally on January 10th 2020.




What you have to do is look at this final episode with a mind that is open. and free from all other versions of DRACULA.


Well after watching part three of the BBC/NETFLIX production of an adaptation of Bram Stoker’s DRACULA I am even more confused. But it does not take a lot to do that. I was born confused, so they tell me. This series has kind of turned the Stoker novel and the Hammer and other incarnations about the vampire lord on their head literally. The final part of the series brought Dracula into the present day, as I said previously Hammer tried this with SATANIC RITES and DRACULA AD 1972, and in my opinion this did not go well. However, vampires were brought into the present day in other movies such as COUNT YORGA, LOVE AT FIRST BITE and of course BLADE. And I have to say the BBC version as realised by Gatiss and Moffat for me did evoke the Blade concept within the last episode as in modern day and slightly seedy that packs a bit of a punch, with some of its scenes set in bars and clubs which have a pulsating dance music soundtrack. But and there is always a but isn’t there, I also began to find it a little silly, especially when Gatiss entered as Dracula’s lawyer Rheinfield.

This was I thought taking it too far, and the Van Helsing thing and the Johnathan Harker foundation, what the hell was this all about. Sorry but this was just too much for me. I know we must develop and maybe add things to established stories and this is all well and good if the situations, characters and scenarios that are added improve or make things slightly interesting. This adaptation did neither in fact it become a laughingstock by around the forty-minute mark. It’s all very well bringing this iconic gothic character into the 21st century, but where do you go from here, you can’t take him back in time can you? Well hang on maybe if Dr Who is not using his oops sorry her Tardis this could come to fruition. And whilst on the subject of the Doctor, you know THE DOCTOR, how about Dolly Wells as a contender for the next time lord, just putting it out there.



Ok back to the lawyer bit, if you have Count Dracula locked up and are keeping him that way so that the world is a safer place, would you, I mean would you really let him go because a solicitor says you have to, really? I know the laws in the UK are slightly antiquated and barmy but, think about it. And if Dracula were here in this modern world would he really want to stay? I am really in a bit of a confused state now, not because of the elements of the last episode, but because I am actually enjoying watching it, it may be silly, it may not be Hammer but there are Hammer references definitely, and in this last episode too, the musical score came into its own, it was emotive and wonderfully melodic in places, especially in the closing minutes when Dracula finally walks into the sun light without disintegrating into a pile of dust, and realising finally that it was a beautiful thing.

I think the music as penned by composers David Arnold and Michael Price managed to bring out or at least show us that the Count maybe was not such a monster, adding a greater emotional atmosphere to the proceedings and showing us that this dark lord, was vulnerable and fragile like the humans he had been praying on for centuries. In fact, by the time the last episode reached its conclusion I felt a little sorry for him. There is very little doubt that there were some inventive ideas thrown in here by the writers and also ideas that led to scenarios that were thought provoking. Maybe I gave the first two episodes rather harsh and negative reviews, but with the last episode, I did warm to the Count, even if he did at times look a little like James Bond. So whats next for Gatiss and Moffat, FRANKENSTEIN? Or maybe the League of the Undead?