All-around creative juggernaut Guillermo del Toro is about to hit our television screens this July with the new series The Strain, based on the book he wrote with author Chuck Hogan, that was also adapted into a comic..
A series of new teasers and TV spots showcase the overall tone of del Toro’s The Strain. Offering a brief glimpse of what’s to come in the show, including the very first stages of the viral outbreak and a glimpse of ‘the Master’ – one of the oldest vampires in existence who is the cause of the disease…The father of the ‘the strain.’
The first book in the trilogy opens with a Boeing 777 landing at JFK airport in New York, and stopping dead on the tarmac – with no communications, and no signs of life. An alert goes out to the Center for Disease Control who board the plane and discover inexplicable horrors. Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his team are called upon to investigate the mysterious viral outbreak with hallmarks of an ancient and evil strain of vampirism. So begins a battle against an infection that creates parasitic vampires, whose physiology is laid out in extensive detail and horrific glee in the book.
A full trailer was released recently; playing-up the emphasis on contagion and the viral fear that this new form of ‘vampirism’ may cause to a large population such as New York City:
Guillermo del Toro’s cast includes Sean Astin, Corey Stoll, David Bradley, Kevin Durand, and Natalie Brown – and del Toro is directing the pilot episode himself. Much like del Toro’s other projects, there will be considerable emphasis on the monster(s). With their shock-white skin, bald heads, tendrils and nightmarish stinger, these are not the romantic vampires of gothic literature, but more closely resemble something like del Toro’s own film Blade II, or the German expressionist versions of Nosferatu by F.W. Murnau or Werner Herzog.
The $9 million pilot for The Strain was shot last year in Toronto working from a script he co-wrote with Hogan, and the series will have a first season run of 13 episodes come July. He personally spoke about making a monster believable and in particular, the use of the vampires in the new series:
“It’s very hard to make people believe in the supernatural, including vampires, but if you ask anyone about a pandemic, they get almost superstitious about it. You can scare people by saying there’s a viral threat, they put paper masks on — it’s almost like a spiritual fear of contagion. So it was a good way to treat the vampires.”
In anticipation of the show’s premiere, there have been a slew of teasers and TV spots. Here are but a few of the most memorable (and creepy). By all means, check out as many as you can. In particular, this teaser gives us a sense of the aftermath of a viral contagion in such a large population:
Many of the teasers emphasize the similarities between the virus-like nature of a vampire to that of a Biblical plague. Rooting many of our present day fears into history, mythology and fable is one of del Toro’s defining traits:
Probably the most advertised teaser spot – next to the image below – where we get a bird’s eye view of the supernatural apocalypse the Master, and his virus, will bring upon humanity: