See, the Icelandic version of Dracula, what is called “Makt Myrkranna” or “Powers of Darkness”, isn’t a little different from the English version. It’s a LOT different. I’m not talking about the difference between the comic book Spider-Man and the movie Spider-Man; I’m talking about the difference between the comic book Spider-Man and Nelson Mandela. Somewhere along the line, the story we think we know got crossbred, vivisected, electroshocked, reanimated, and taught karate.
And it’s awesome.
First, the Count now has a clear motivation. Remember that in the past, filmmakers who struggled to find Dracula’s motivation in the book would reinterpret that motivation as a quest to be reunited with his lost love, who looked a lot like Mina Harker. Which was always a stretch — how many people would you murder to be with someone who looks a little like your high school sweetheart? I doubt it’s more than three. But in Makt Myrkranna, the Count’s battle plans are clear: he’s going to London because England is the center of the world and it’s from there he will take over EVERYTHING. It’s no longer about seducing Lucy or Mina or Winona Ryder, it’s about global domination.
Second, Makt Myrkranna adds some 15,000 words to the Romanian sections of the story — a 63% increase in pages. And it deletes or abridges most of the story taking place in England — cutting over 125,000 words or 93% of the Whitby/London pages. The balls on this Icelandic translator, you say?
But come on, the best stuff happens in Romania, amiright? When you hear about Dracula, the first images that come to your mind — I’m betting all the profits from this blog — are in Romania. Tell me I’m wrong.
. . .
The sexual desire on full display. The clear, sinister motives. The monstrous humanoids in the bowels Castle Dracula who partake in a murderous Eyes-Wide-Shut party. I’m saying — Makt Myrkranna turns the creepiness up to Thomas Harris* levels.
Yes, I flipping said it: the Icelandic Dracula is better.
Okay okay, it’s not without issues. The last 1/3 of the book is written like a Wikipedia plot synopsis. It doesn’t read anything like the first 2/3 which are eerie and wonderful and written in the first-person in the form of Harker’s journal (some thoughts on this below). But the skeleton of the plot — it’s strong. Stronger than the original — I say blasphemously — even if it’s told in a dull manner absent any poetry. There’s so much cool stuff outlined that, if fleshed out, would creep you out like a bachelor who watches Daniel Tiger episodes all alone.
Let’s get those movie rights to the Icelandic Makt Myrkranna optioned because this is way more adaptable than Dracula. I’ve already lined up Bjork for the soundtrack. Someone tell Netflix I’m available to showrun.
There’s more at the link. Recommended reading, and a lot of fun.
I can already see possibilities here. Let’s take a couple of Cajun children’s tales – say, those involving a loup garou, originating in Canada and “imported” to Louisiana when the Acadians were deported by the British back in the eighteenth century – and spice them up with some Zulu folk tales, perhaps those of Lumukanda, the cannibalistic ‘Blind Immortal’. After that, we’ll transpose them to a Old West setting, perhaps involving my protagonist Walt Ames, and mix in a few Navajo beliefs about their four Sacred Mountains. Hey presto! A potential bestseller to rival Dracula in Iceland!