We’re mad for the literary mash-up genre, whereby classic works are rewritten as trashy horror tales. A trailer for Pride And Prejudice And Zombies, the upcoming adaptation of Seth Grahame-Smith’s bestselling 2009 novel of the same name, just hit the internet and looks brilliantly blood-splattered, but how did anyone convince Matt Smith, Douglas Booth and Charles Dance to star in a movie that reimagines Jane Austen’s romance as a camp zombie flick?
However it came about, the film is due for released February, though the influence of Grahame-Smith’s tale is already undeniable. Its unexpected success (admirers claim it offers genuine insights into the world Austen created) inspired a rush of literary mash-ups, which are often credited as having been co-written by the canonical writers who penned the originals and the chancers who ransacked them. Here are 10 of the weirdest Frankenstein’s monsters of the literary world…
Android Karenina by Leo Tolstoy and Ben H Winters
This author has worked backwards from the title, hasn’t he? Anna Karenina, Tolstoy’s epic tale of a Russian socialite engaged in a torrid affair with a charismatic Count, gets mashed up real good here, with 19th Century Russian reimagined as a steam-punk society where everyone has a robot butler.
William Shakespeare’s Tragedy Of The Sith’s Revenge: Star Wars Part The Third by Ian Doescher
Everyone loves Star Wars. Everyone also loves The Bard. So Doescher has rewritten George Lucas’ early-‘00s sci-fi prequels as Shakespearean masterworks, with the final instalment published just last month. The Force is strong with this one.
The Meowmorphosis by Frank Kafka and Coleridge Cook
Ever read The Metamorphosis, Franz Kafka’s surreal, existential 1915 novella – about a man who one day awakes find he’s become an insect – and thought: “Yeah, quite good, but where’s the cats at?” Think that no longer, reader, for this version does away with the insect and has our protagonist become a fluffy kitty. Internet catnip.
Alice In Zombieland by Gena Showalter
Not content with falling through the rabbithole, here Lewis Carol’s heroine becomes a zombie slayer too. Curioser and curioser indeed.
Pinocchio, Vampire Slayer by Van Jensen and Dusty Higgins
Yeah, the whole ‘nose growing when you lie’ thing is quite annoying on a day-to-day basis, but not when you’re a wooden toy hell-bent on avenging your creator’s death at the fangs of bloodsuckers and that nose happens to double-up as a vampire-slaying stake. As this graphic novel explains, it’s quite handy in that admittedly rather niche situation.
Abraham, Lincoln: Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
This one became a Tim Burton-produced film back in 2012. Mash-up king Grahame-Smith penned the original novel and published a sequel, The Last American Vampire, earlier this year. When the gravy train’s a-rolling, you cling on for dear life.
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Snow White And The Seven Dead Dwarves by Bob McLain
If that title sounds brutally literal, it’s actually not, because – at the start, at least – it’s Snow White who’s (un)dead, having become a zombie who craves the flesh of her diminutive pals, who, for copyright reasons, are renamed Grouchy, Sawbones, Gesundheit, Reticent, Dippy, Sluggish, and Grinny. That’s right, one of the Seven Dwarves has been renamed ‘Reticent’.
Jane Slayre by Charlotte Bronte and Sherri Browning Erwin
Why are so many mash-ups based on 19th century novels? Well, the collision of stuffy social niceties and nauseating, troubling violence is sort of delicious, isn’t it? And this one has it all: vampires, zombies and a complex romantic situation wherein in the love interest is sort of still married to a werewolf that lives in the attic.
Little Vampire Women by Louisa May Alcott and Lynn Messina
Navigating the tricky journey from childhood to adulthood is tricky enough – just ask Justin Bieber – but it’s another thing entirely when you’re a group of young, benevolent vampires abstaining from human blood while being hunted by well-meaning vampire hunters. Still, if Biebs can claw his way to a career revival, this lot should do fine.
Gossip Girl, Psycho Killer by Cecily Von Ziegesar
The tale of an anonymous blogger documenting the lives and loves of New York poshos, Gossip Girl was a hit literary series before it was a hit TV series starring Ed Westwick and Taylor Momsen. And now it’s a slasher movie-style tale of violence and carnage penned by original Gossip Girl author Cecily Von Ziegesa, clearly not one to miss a brand extension. Westwick sadly doesn’t cameo to carve someone up real good with his razor-sharp cheekbones. Save that for the sequel, eh?