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SYFY WIRE Renfield

Renfield Director Really Wanted a Quick Montage of Dracula & Renfield "Through the Ages"

"I wish we could have done a fast version of seeing Dracula and Renfield through the ages," Chris McKay mused. 

By Josh Weiss
Nicolas Cage and Nicholas Hoult in Renfield (2023)

Genres and character archetypes go in and out of fashion, but there's one thing Hollywood has seemingly never grown tired of: vampires.

Ever since the release of Nosferatu a century ago, filmmakers have presented the mythical bloodsuckers in almost every conceivable iteration, with the most famous fanged foe of them all — Count Dracula — leading the undead charge. 

The most iconic take on the notorious Transylvania native is, of course, 1931's Dracula — the official start of Universal Pictures' reputation as a one-stop shop for silver screen monsters.

RELATED: 'Renfield' stunt coordinator on building the film's 'super over-the-top' action world

Director Chris McKay (The LEGO Batman Movie, The Tomorrow War) pays loving homage to the seminal black and white classic in his horror-action-comedy Renfield (now streaming on Peacock!), which takes a deep dive into the co-dependent relationship between Drac (Nicolas Cage) and his longtime assistant, Renfield (Nicholas Hoult). 

"You had to match the angles and the lenses and the lighting," the filmmaker told Empire (pick up a copy of the August 2023 issue for yourself right here) while on the topic of how he placed his leads into the grainy and monochromatic shoes of Bela Lugosi and Dwight Frye.

The retro flashback to how the characters first met looks awesome and if McKay had been gifted with more time and money, he would've gone a little further by tipping his hat to the evolution of the Dracula format since the '30s.

"I wish we could have done a fast version of seeing Dracula and Renfield through the ages," he continued. "I wanted to see them in the '40s and '50s and '70s and '80s. Every decade there's a Dracula movie, and I would have loved to have been able to go through the history of their relationship via these other movies, but the studio didn't get behind that."

Ryan Ridley (an alumnus of Community and Rick and Morty) wrote the movie, working off an original screen story from producer Robert Kirkman (co-creator of fan favorite comics like The Walking Dead and Invincible).

McKay also served as producer alongside David Alpert (CEO of Kirkman's Skybound Entertainment), Bryan Furst, and Sean Furst. The Furst siblings are no strangers to the concept of placing novel twists on the vampire genre, having produced 2009's Daybreakers. Samantha Nisenboim, who has been involved with all of McKay's directorial efforts so far, occupied the role of executive producer.

"This is a very unique movie," Kirkman told ScreenRant back in April. "It's got all kinds of action, it's got comedy, it's got drama, and it's got horror. It's got all of these elements that can be pulling themselves apart. That can be not necessarily gelling. It's hard to make that work. And so as a creative team, between myself, Ryan, Chris, our great producing team with David Alpert, Samantha Nisenboim, and the pool of actors that we're working with, everyone has to make this story believable."

Renfield is now streaming on Peacock and available to purchase on Digital, 4K Ultra HD, Blu-ray, and DVD.