Castlevania is a supremely satisfying video game adaptation that pulls no punches and is not for the faint of heart.
Any gamer can tell you that Castlevania is a beloved classic. My favorite was definitely Symphony of the Night. So when Netflix said they would take this deep intriguing tale of Dracula and Belmont I squealed like a 15 year old girl watching Twilight.
The pilot episode, as an entry point into this medieval world, thrusted us inside the castle of the legendary mythical figure Dracula Vlad Tepes. Following the curiosities of Lisa, a human interested in scientific discovery, showed us an origin story of an intellectual partnership between immortal being and a human that could sustain the entire franchise.
Fast Forward 20 years later, Lisa is burning at the stake amidst cries of witchcraft and heresy from Church elders. Which begs the question about the christian faith in those days. Where they killed in the name of Christ to push their hidden agenda further. This sounds familiar….
Lisa’s death incurs Dracula’s wrath and sets a cycle of sorrow, blame and manipulation into motion. We only see Dracula and Lisa share one conversation, but as we’re reminded many times over the course of the first season, theirs was a love worth inciting a supernatural holocaust over. Dracula taking revenge on the city for the burning of his beloved is a sweeping sequence of destruction, marked by columns of hellfire and hoards of beastly demons.
We see the introduction of Trevor Belmont. The last living Belmont that no longer hunt the demons and monsters of the day. It seem that the church once again shifted the blame of their actions which caused the hell on earth in the first place to the Belmont’s. This was further established with the bar fight that ensued once they found out who he was. The bleak atmosphere that smothers most of the city’s human inhabitants is only offset by the tiny thrills of expanding out this universe’s relationship to magic and mythology. Speaking of mythology the mythical creatures that made the game so iconic also made an appearance.
One particular of the species, with glowing teeth and a wicked sense of logic, even delivers a philosophical treatise on the nature of truth before consuming his prey. Which I must add was masterfully done.
We are soon introduced to both Sypha and Alucard in fantastic ways that show off their personalities and unique designs as well as their particular abilities. Trevor gets the lion’s share of the spotlight, but the chemistry among the three bring to us an incredibly rich storytelling area that I can’t wait to see more of their adventures in Season 2. The second season has been given the green light and good news! They increased the episode count to 8. I inhaled those four episodes so fast I had to make sure none was hiding under a coffin somewhere. Although short it was specifically sweet and to the point. Through all manners of involuntary bodily functions, “Castlevania” indulges a very specific kind of grotesque norm that ensures that no character is safe from the ugliness of a world where a loving God is nowhere to be found.