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SYFY WIRE Renfield

Go back to the 1930s with a new 'Renfield' flashback, fresh from his new Tumblr about his terrible boss

Renfield's latest peek at footage is a blast from the monster movie past.

By Matthew Jackson
Nicholas Hoult in Renfield (2023)

Renfield, the upcoming Universal Pictures horror-comedy starring Nicholas Hoult in the title role, is clearly doing its own thing with a familiar premise. Directed by Chris McKay and based on an idea generated by none other than The Walking Dead creator Robert Kirkman, the new film will put us in the shoes of Dracula's (Nicolas Cage) long-suffering assistant after decades of emotional and psychological abuse at the hands of the world's most famous vampire, and basically deliver the story of how Renfield works to sever a toxic relationship in his life. 

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But of course, that story wouldn't be possible without a built-in cultural understanding of who Renfield is and how he got to be this way. The film is, of course, based in part on Bram Stoker's Dracula, but it's also based on decades of pop cultural relevance for Dracula himself, starting with the original Universal Pictures adaptation of Stoker's novel. Released in 1931 and starring Bela Lugosi in the title role, that version of Dracula cemented the character and his world in the minds of audiences forever, and in a new TV spot, Renfield is paying tribute to that legacy. 

Just recently, Renfield himself launched a Tumblr account, because he needs as many public spaces to be angsty about hating his boss as possible, and in between quips about Dracula and interactions with fan accounts, he's also posted some new looks at the upcoming film. One such new look, which you can check out below, features a flashback that puts Hoult and Cage right back in the environs of the original 1931 film, when Renfield and Dracula meet for the first time. It's a neat little nod to the film's cinematic roots, and a fun chance to see Cage in Dracula's original big-screen get-up.

Check it out:

We won't know just how much Renfield plans to dig into the cinematic roots of Dracula until we see the finished film, of course, but this is still a nice reminder that the film has a place in the grand and lengthy tradition of Universal Monsters, a tradition kicked off nearly 100 years by the one-two punch of Dracula and Frankenstein. It'll be really interesting to see just how much the film plays with that legacy, and whether or not other Universal Monsters might be present in Renfield's little universe.

Renfield is in theaters Apr. 14.