It seems like these days, Sherlock Holmes has absolutely never been more popular. Not only have there been to high profile films starring Robert Downey, Jr. as the titular detective, but there’s also hit the hit show Elementary on CBS, and most notably, the exceptional and massively popular Sherlock on BBC (and PBS in the United States). It seems like the perfect time to get in on the whole Sherlock fad, doesn’t it?
Unfortunately despite his insane popularity, you’ll probably never get to see the most awesome sounding Sherlock movie ever written. The script is Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula, and it’s been floating around Hollywood for over a decade. It’s been considered one of the best unproduced scripts of the last several decades, and actually almost got off the ground with Chris Columbus set to direct and, reportedly, Jude Law as Holmes.
As I’ve mentioned before, Sherlock and Dracula are both in the public domain, which is why the script’s author Michael Valle was able to take two of the most famous characters in history and create what would have been a simply tremendous genre mash-up. The script tells the story of Dracula returning to London seeking vengeance (hence the title) against Van Helsing’s family, and Moriarty unwittingly unleashes him after disturbing his coffin.
Once Moriarty (yeah, he’s in this too, because again – public domain) discovers who and what Dracula is, he sets out to have the Count turn him into a vampire so that he can be an immortal archvillain. Meanwhile, Holmes has been investigating the murders Dracula has been committing and is set on stopping him.
When Moriarty’s plan doesn’t work out, what you’re left with is Moriarty reluctantly teaming up with his nemesis, the one and only Sherlock Holmes, to stop Dracula from destroying the city. Oh, and along the way? Dr. Watson gets bitten by a vampire. So Holmes has that to contend with, too. The script was so good that it sold for $700k, which is pretty astonishing considering Valle had virtually zero experience in the field.
So why the hell did this movie never get made? After all, it sounds like something that would absolutely clean up at the box office given the recent popularity of both Holmes and vampires. Well, sadly Valle died in 2001, and on top of that, right when Columbus was about to start preparing the project, he was offered the directing job on a little film called Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. Obviously, he went with the behemoth fantasy franchise rather than the off kilter but awesome and violent Victorian era horror/mystery.
And because of that, Sherlock Holmes and the Vengeance of Dracula remains mired in the dreaded Development Hell. If you search around the internet enough, you can find a copy of the script to give it a read through yourself. Of course that might just make you more depressed that you’ll probably never see it hit the big screen.