Gore-struck: Dracula creators defend the series’ gruesome trailer

Is Dracula already too gory? Sherlock's Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss lift the (coffin) lid on their terrifying new three-part BBC series

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The first trailer for Sherlock creators Mark Gatiss and Steven Moffat’s upcoming Dracula series has arrived, and it’s fair to say that some viewers were shocked by the chilling footage.

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The 46-second teaser features horrors including an eyeball-burrowing fly, terrifying monsters appearing from the shadows, torn-out fingernails as well as an unsettling look at Bram Stoker’s iconic vampire himself, and many took to social media to enthuse and complain about the trailer’s gruesome visuals.

And surprisingly, the team behind the series has admitted that the first-look teaser went a bit further than they might have expected, with co-creator Gatiss revealing that he was pleasantly shocked by just how gory the footage was.

“It’s really much more graphic than I thought they’d want from a teaser,” he told RadioTimes.com at MCM Comic-con in London.”There’s a lot of good gore in it.”

But Dracula’s creative team are also adamant that the gore was essential in telling their version of the seminal vampire myth.

“It’s Dracula. You can’t watch it and think ‘I’m scared! There was some blood in it!’” executive producer Sue Vertue said.

And Claes Bang, (the Danish actor who plays the Count), said the gore was a big reason he accepted the role. “They want this to be funny, sexy, but they really want it to be scary. I said ‘ok, good’. It should have those elements of true terror and horror and shock.”

“Of course it’s not just gore,” Gatiss added. “People mistakenly think that horror is synonymous with that. Obviously, it can be, but psychological shocks and psychological horror – a lot of this really gets under your skin in quite an interesting way.

“It’s not just about tonnes of blood splashing over him.”

And in any case, it turns out that any particularly gore-averse viewers might have gotten off lightly with this version of the story. You see, even with Dracula set to air in the evenings, the BBC had to be slightly more cautious about the extremity of any content they broadcast – especially when they’re still not quite sure how close Dracula will be to the watershed.

“Even if you don’t know when it’s going out, you always have to make it as though it could go out [right] after 9 o’clock,” said Vertue.

“If it’s only going out at 10.28pm, you can push it a lot further,” added Gatiss.

Given the disturbing monsters and frights glimpsed in the first short trailer, it’s hard to imagine what horrors could have proved too bloody for the BBC – but perhaps when the Count rises again this winter, we’ll find out…

Interviews by Jo Berry

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Dracula is coming soon to BBC One