WHAT IT’S ABOUT: After vampires claim the life of his father Geppetto, Pinocchio takes up arms (and wooden stakes replenished every time he tells a lie) against the undead in his kooky little corner of Tuscany and beyond.
WHY IT WORKS: Van Jensen’s Pinocchio is a brooding man-child forced to confront the darkness that lurks in the corners of his fairytale-like existence. Tragedy pushes him to come to terms with the bizarre Carlo Collodian world he inhabits, meaning his former selfish mischief—and current personal quest for revenge—must take a backseat to mowing down monsters and fighting for those closest to him.
Sometimes dark, sometimes silly, but always fun, Pinocchio coming of age Batman-style is just the thing for fantasy and horror fans looking to kick back and soak up the action. Plus, vampires are kind of hotter than the sun right now.
WHY IT DOESN’T: Given the average viewer’s limited experience with Pinocchio lore beyond cheesy family fare and Disney’s sizable departure from PVS’ source material, Jensen and Higgins’ version on the wooden boy might take audiences off guard if studios aren’t careful. The PVS graphic novel addresses this issue with a brief introduction that brings readers up to speed with tact and efficiency, which any adaptation will want to replicate one way or another.
HOW TO DO IT: PVS’ subject matter lends itself to the best of both cinematic options—live action and animation. Juxtapose the tale’s live-action central plot with the backstory bits animated in Higgins’ signature style. Slap a PG-13 rating on the final package to let viewers know the wooden boy means business, but warm character interaction is key to giving the supernatural brawls the gravitas they deserve.
Also, don’t cast an annoying kid as the protagonist. Remember Jonathan Taylor Thomas’ super creepy “The Adventures of Pinocchio”? Make a list of everything that movie did. Then do none of it.
Closing Argument: After years of improper treatment, it’s time Pinocchio gets his due as a badass with a nose for trouble. The puppet’s learning from his mistakes and winning the hearts of readers everywhere by working for a bloodsucker-free tomorrow. If Pinocchio can grow up a bit, why shouldn’t his movies be able to?
How would you prefer to view a live action version of “Pinocchio: Vampire Slayer?” Let us know what you think in the comment section or on Twitter!