That’s the thing about undead movie characters; you can’t kill their franchises for very long either.

Just a few years after the last reinvention of Universal’s classic Dracula franchise — that was 2014’s Dracula Untold, starring Luke Evans in an origin story for the bloodsucking count — the studio is totally revamping the character again. This time Chloe Zhao will write, direct, and produce a Dracula that’s described as a “sci-fi Western.”

That is certainly a different take on the material. The Hollywood Reporter says it will be in keeping with Zhao’s previous work, including the critically acclaimed The Rider and Nomadland. Both of those movies are eclectic westerns. This sounds like... a very eclectic western:

This new Dracula project, however, will be a far cry from the more traditional or even modern incarnations made over the years. Details are being kept in the coffin, but Zhao’s version is described as an original, futuristic, sci-fi Western. Themes of being on society’s fringes, something Zhao has tackled in her previous work, will course through the project’s veins.

The news comes as Universal has shifted their philosophy from trying to turn their classic monsters into an interconnected “Dark Universe,” into standalone films from talented directors. The first of this latest batch, The Invisible Man from Leigh Whannell, was one of the last hits in movie theaters before they closed due to the pandemic. (Whannell is now working on a new version of The Wolf Man with Ryan Gosling.)

Although her first couple movies were more arthouse fare, Zhao clearly has an interest in genre movies. It’s been delayed several times, but Zhao already shot a film for Marvel, Eternals, which stars Angelina Jolie, Richard Madden, and Kumail Nanjiani as the members of a race of immortal alien beings. Based on the description, her Dracula project is basically Mad Drac: Fury Road which ... sounds pretty excellent when you put it that way.

Zhao’s Eternals is currently expected in theaters on November 5, 2021.

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