"Most of you are wondering who the heck I am": Carmilla (2014-2016, online) as Digital Reimagining of LeFanu’s "Carmilla."

Research output: Contribution to Book/ReportChapterpeer-review


The Canadian webseries Carmilla (2014-) is both an adaptation of Sheridan LeFanu’s 1872 novella and—with three 36-episode seasons (and a season zero), inter-seasonal content, over 35 million YouTube views, and a movie on the horizon—a successful transmedia production in its own right. This chapter will examine various aspects of Carmilla and its operation as a digital reimagining for the twenty-first century, arguing that its success demonstrates the flexibility of Gothic tropes, characters and narratives. Dracula is often seen as the ‘sire’ of vampire fictions across most popular media, though aficionados might observe that it was predated by several other vampire tales, most notably ‘Carmilla’ and its female vampire and ‘victim’. The updated setting (a university campus) and mode (straight to camera pieces ‘filmed’ on journalism student Laura’s webcam) make the characters and their situation familiar for viewers who might never have read ‘Carmilla’ by drawing on teen genres and found footage horror. Adapting the novella as a single frame vlog-style webseries clearly involves various negotiations of the ‘original’, not least, as creator Hall notes, that ‘everything happens in Laura’s dorm room’ (in O’Reagan 2014). All the regular characters are female and ‘somewhere on the LGBT spectrum’ (Hall in O’Reagan 2014), a call back to the way LeFanu’s novella has frequently been adapted or used as inspiration for lesbian vampire stories. Undoubtedly this also helps the webseries find its audiences: despite entrenched assumptions about horror and who it is ‘for’, women have long been horror fans and Carmilla has a loyal fan following of ‘creampuffs.’ By analysing the various creative decisions in adapting ‘Carmilla,’ this chapter argues that the webseries is a key site challenging all kinds of outmoded assumptions about Gothic and horror, from its target audience to its use of spectacle and gore.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationGothic Afterlives
Subtitle of host publicationReincarnations of Horror in Film and Popular Media
EditorsLorna Piatti-Farnell
Place of PublicationLanham, Maryland
PublisherLexington Books
Number of pages15
ISBN (Electronic)9781498578233
ISBN (Print)9781498578226
Publication statusPublished - 13 Sept 2019

Publication series

NameRemakes, Reboots, and Adaptions
PublisherLexington Books


  • Vampire
  • adaptation
  • Gothic Fiction
  • online television
  • queer


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