Imagine, as a film maker, having the potential opportunity to bring your favorite property/franchise to life. The honor it would be to not only have been chosen among equally yearning fans, but to have the recognition of your peers as being someone capable of pulling it off. It is here, in the case of Tiziano Sclavi's Dylan Dog comic series, that such an opportunity exists, and quite frankly I can't think of any better an artist to bring it to life than film director and mega-fan Kevin Kopacka (Hades, TLMEA).
For those unfamiliar with the original property, Dylan Dog is a horror comic that centers around the paranormal investigator (and hopeless romantic) of the same name. It's one that's infused with a macabre sense of style, striking visuals, and often times plenty of levity courtesy of Dylan's flat mate, Groucho (a sort of play on the real Groucho Marx "character"). It's an odd mix of story telling flavors that work to well to give Dylan Dog such a uniquely distinct taste and a major reason why it holds as much adoration from the community as it does.
That unique distinction as a result of it's style is exactly why Kevin Kopacka is such a great fit for a potential adaptation. If you're familiar with his work in film, you'd come to immediately understand that his penchant for bold, abstract visuals lends itself well to the world of Dylan Dog. Similarly, the horror elements of the comic only stand to benefit greatly from those same aesthetic qualities; Kevin Kopacka knows how to put an effectively disturbing picture together, which is perfect, because there is a lot of disturbing material to cover!
That takes us to the 35 minute pilot episode of Dylan. A self financed project which aims to spark interest in the form of funding, to make things a little more official. As it stands however, even with the minor changes to staple characters (Dylan Dog is now Dylan Dawn for instance), the show is very much faithful to the spirit of the comic series. We watch as a tortured woman (the fabulous Denise Ankel) seeks the help through the services offered by Dylan and company, and as per usual, the inquiry takes our favorite paranormal investigator on an adventure filled with gruesome violence, grotesque monsters (it isn't subtitled "Dream of the Living Dead" for nothing) layered intrigue, and even - tragic - romance. Ford Everett is perfectly withdrawn and disconnected, Bang Viet Pham (as Groucho's alt-version) is suitably obnoxious, yet endearing, and just wait until you see what they've done with Madame Trelkovski (I personally Like it). Everyone plays their role well and at least conversationally, don't feel far removed from their original characters (Everett and Pham specifically, have great dynamic and chemistry); Alex Bakshaev and Kopacka both really understand the source material and it comes across well in the writing.
While I have mostly nothing but praise for this tributive piece, there is one area I'd prefer a tad bit more restraint, and that's the editing. I understand that the more unconventional cutting style and rhythm of Kopacka's work is a huge reason why his films are so effective from a narrative stand point, but at the same time, HADES and TLMEA were unconventional stories to begin with. And while the stories or characters of Dylan Dog are hardly comic book typical, I think playing these potential episodes a bit more straight forward will not only help to deliver these already oddball situations as clearly as possible, but open the property to a larger audience as well.
You can view the pilot episode for yourself below, and if you're interested in supporting a potential full series adaptation, visit the link at the bottom of this review.