Genre and literary mash-ups aren’t anything new – after all, it’s been 70 years since Frankenstein’s monster first did battle with the Wolfman. However, crazy re-imaginings of classic genre tales are all the rage at the moment – one need only look at Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and the more recent, off-the-walls Sleepy Hollow for a taste of the trend.
Showtime will throw its hat into the ring of classic horror showdowns next year with Penny Dreadful, a limited series that will depict a Victorian London haunted by creatures such as Frankenstein’s creation, werewolves, and Dracula-inspired vampires. Billed as a psychological thriller (but with monsters, apparently), Penny Dreadful has released its first teaser preview.
Though Showtime has begun to crank up the hype machine for Penny Dreadful, its production is ongoing. Just last week, Coming Soon reported that Doctor Who alumnus Billie Piper signed on for a starring role in the production. The series also features the talents of Timothy Dalton (Hot Fuzz), Josh Hartnett (Bunraku), Rory Kinnear (Skyfall), Helen McCrory (Hugo), Danny Sapani (Trance), and Simon Russell Beale (My Week with Marilyn).
Like many television teaser trailers, Penny Dreadful’s first preview shows absolutely no actual content from the series – while also doing quite a good job at establishing an atmosphere of darkness and dread. Shadowed glimpses of matted fur, tattooed bodies, and whip-stitched flesh impressively complement the (perhaps over-the-top) narration. At the very least, we know what tone the show is shooting for.
Executive-produced by Sam Mendes (Skyfall) and at least partially directed by Juan Antonio Bayona (The Orphanage), Penny Dreadful certainly sports talent behind the camera. Combined with a promising cast, the series could very well transcend its potentially ridiculous premise and deliver something genuinely interesting. Until we actually see footage of its various ghouls and ghosts, the question will have to remain up to our imaginations.
Penny Dreadful will stalk onto Showtime in 2014.