The Castlevania Netflix series is now available (and it’s surprisingly awesome)
Frederator Studios may be well known for their work on the Adventure Time series, but their latest showing is a dark and gory departure from the Candy Kingdom.
When this series was first announced, I was pretty skeptical as video games rarely translate well to film and tv (see the Super Mario Bros Movie, the Resident Evil series, and the complete filmography of Uwe Boll). However, what I experienced while watching the four 30-minute episodes of the series was an extremely pleasant surprise.
The series is mostly based on Castlevania: Dracula’s Curse for the NES, a brutally difficult game that returned the franchise back to its roots after the mess that was Castlevania II: Simon’s Quest, which tried (badly) to incorporate RPG elements into the series. Castlevania III set itself apart from the original by allowing the player to choose between Trevor Belmont, Grant Danasty, Sypha Belnades, and Alucard, each with unique abilities. Of these four characters, Grant is the only one who has not yet appeared in the Netflix series.
The original game featured very little dialogue and a simple plot, so deriving a full script from the 8-bit game was no easy task. The lead writer is Warren Ellis, known for writing for several Marvel comics, as well as his original works Transmetropolitan, Global Frequency, and Red. His script for the Castlevania series delves into religious themes that Nintendo never would have allowed in the game (Nintendo actually censored crosses and other religious references from the NES original). Ellis manages to create a storyline that will satiate long-time Castlevania fans while remaining accessible to those who are unfamiliar with the game series.
What initially caught my attention was the amount of blood and gore. This series has quite a bit of violence and has a level of morbidity that will make gorehounds rejoice and leave the squeamish looking for a different show to watch. A couple notable scenes include villagers removing human intestines that were draped over a palisade like a garland after an attack by a demonic hoard and a mother checking on her baby only to find a splatter of blood and organs in the bassinet.
The Castlevania series may not be for everyone, but the fact that it clocks in at under 2 hours makes it worth a watch if you are even slightly interested. I consider these four episodes to be merely an appetizer to give people a taste of the series and it has apparently done its job as Netlix announced that it will renew the series for 8 more episodes.
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