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‘Renfield’ Is Flipping the Script on Dracula’s Familiar

It's Renfield's time to shine.

Dracula standing next to an exhausted Renfield and smiling like a total weirdo

The name Dracula often sparks fear in the hearts of many and that’s been true for decades. There have been many explorations of Dracula’s story in horror media. Some creators have taken their own liberties with the material—like Buffy the Vampire Slayer or Syfy’s Van Helsing, which reimagines Dracula as a very queer woman. But we don’t talk enough about Renfield and the part he plays in both Bram Stoker’s classic novel and the 1931 film adaptation of Dracula.

In 1931’s Dracula, Renfield quite literally lost his mind while being a lackey for Dracula (Bela Lugosi) and was killed before the film ended. But the new movie Renfield ignores this history and will instead explore Dracula and Renfield in a modern day setting.

What is the plot of Renfield?

The official plot for Renfield is as follows:

“Dracula’s lackey, R. M. Renfield, finds a new lease on life in modern-day New Orleans when he falls in love with Rebecca Quincy, a traffic cop, and decides to finally stand up to his creator in hopes of finally breaking free of his servitude.”

– Universal Pictures

Renfield is depicted as a maniac, for lack of a better word, in 1931’s Dracula, but this soft reboot/direct sequel is giving him a new kind of story. At its core, the plot is about Renfield (Nicholas Hoult) trying to escape a very toxic relationship with Dracula when he falls for a woman named Rebecca (Awkwafina). But Dracula (Nicolas Cage) is as an incredibly relentless old vampire, so that’s not going to be all that easy.

Renfield is set in modern New Orleans, which definitely lends a specific vibe to the story. New Orleans is full of interesting folks and history, and Renfield is without a doubt in for some wild interactions. All in all, the plot is the exact opposite of the classic Dracula story because Renfield doesn’t want to tend to his vampire master any longer.

(featured image: Universal Pictures)

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Vanessa Maki (she/her) is a queer Blerd and contributing writer for The Mary Sue. She first started writing for digital magazines in 2018 and her articles have appeared in Pink Advocate (defunct), The Gay Gaze (defunct), Dread Central and more. She primarily writes about movies, TV, and anime. Efforts to make her stop loving complex/villainous characters or horror as a genre will be futile.