My apologies to the legion of Blacula fans out there. I just couldn’t resist borrowing the name to tie Ernest Dickerson and the new Dracula film together.
To be fair, this isn’t a Dracula film, exactly. It’s all a little bit confusing. A few weeks back, word arrived that Jan de Bont was producing a new Dracula film titled The Un-Dead, which was actually the original title of Bram Stoker’s novel and also the subtitle of a stageplay version he once put together. To muck things further, this film, based on the novel from Ian Holt and Dacre Stoker, is a sequel to the original book, but not any of the films, which is probably how most casual fans are familiar with the character. In the sequel novel, the story picks up with the surviving characters 25 years later, and it adds new characters such as Jack the Ripper (err....ok). I haven’t read it, so I’m not even sure if it’s still really a vampire tale, but it’s still fair to call it a Dracula book, I believe.
Anyway, De Bont’s attached to a number of projects, including a certain giant shark tale, and so he’s been searching for someone else to helm this baby, and now he’s found the man. It’s Ernest Dickerson, who after making a solid debut with Juice and the underrated Tales from the Crypt: Demon Knight went on to bottom out with the underhated Snoop Dogg horror flick Bones and the surprisingly watchable DMX street epic Never Die Alone. The latter was 2004, and he’s been directing a lot of TV since then including episodes of Heroes, The Wire, ER, and a vampire-themed installment of Showtime’s Masters of Horror. But damn if it aint good to see a talented black director back to working in his preferred environment.
I’ve always maintained that more black writers and directors should get into horror – and I mean real horror, not hood-themed debacles heavy on the comedy, intentional and unintentional. It’s a profitable genre perfect for the low budgets we’re accustomed to working with, it’s very accepting of new talent, and indie-financed films can stand up in the marketplace with the best of the studios. All in all, there’s simply a lot more opportunity there than in most other segments in the industry. I think it’s just going to take one guy to really make a mark here and the other cats will follow. Dickerson’s had some solid marks, but no home runs as of yet. Maybe this one’s the charm. Here’s hoping.