Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966)

The third Hammer Dracula film, but only the second with Christopher Lee. Having dispensed with (what they used of) the story of the original novel, but again rejoined by the count himself, Hammer seemed push to make a more creative Dracula film. It’s a proper genuine sequel, set ten years after Dracula’s previous demise. The…

Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1990)

The word ‘sumptuouss’ gets thrown around a lot when it comes to this film. Is the film sumptuous, does it look expensive, does it look splendid? I suppose it’s hard to deny. The sets are ornate, the costumes are inventive, there’s a real sense of grandeur and wealth to the whole thing. The script alters…

The Collectors (2014) by Philip Pullman

A more interesting prequel exercise than the character-focused ones; an efficient little supernatural story with new bit characters. Perhaps the point of it was to confirm a wibbly-wobbly timing issue between the many universes of the series, but the shortness and speed of the story make it feel more like a proper little almost horror…

Once Upon a Time in the North (2008) by Philip Pullman

A nice enough prequel story, more plot-heavy than LYRA’S OXFORD, and less charming as well. It initially feels like a sort of standalone episodic adventure not too tied into the main HIS DARK MATERIALS serious, but of course contrives ways to prequelise. It’s not a bad story, and the characters are enjoyable, but there’s that…

Little Women (2019)

An absolutely brilliant adaptation, update, rearrangement of the 1860s novel. By massively restructuring the novel (I was blindsided by the film opening around 60% into the novel’s story!), Greta Gerwig enhances the story so much, finding parallel moments to accentuate across the characters’ lives, finding writerly tricks to make aspects of the story work better…

Little Women (1868-1869) by Louisa May Alcott

Lovely sense of character, especially with Jo March, who instantly feels so fully-formed and real, like she could spring off the page. The other characters all receive some powerful and striking moments (Meg and her husband’s struggles with loving each other but not loving their financial solution were particularly well-realised), but it’s Jo who consistently…

The Brides of Dracula (1960)

A Van Helsing sequel, with Dracula only appearing in the film’s title. Recontextualising the 1958 film as basically just another day in the life of Van Helsing as he goes about stamping evil, that was an interesting idea, but the individual story of this film isn’t of huge interest. A mother hiding her vampire son,…