On the tails of 2020’s Shirley — which follows horror author Shirley Jackson surrounding the time she wrote Hangsaman, starring Elisabeth Moss (The Invisible Man) — it feels only appropriate that we get to see a dark, brooding, gorgeous cinematic vision of Frankenstein author Mary Shelley’s tale. Coming soon to Shudder, A Nightmare Wakes will fill that void.
The feature film debut from writer/director Nora Unkel, A Nightmare Wakes appears to be a biographical period piece by way of a psychological thriller. It’s said to dive into the novel’s deep connection with Shelley’s own personal trauma, and — from the looks of the trailer — seethes with stunning visuals.
Frankenstein — which Shelley wrote following a miscarriage — is about more than just a monster. As Unkel states, it’s a metaphor for motherhood; a cry for the death of her child. This dramatic tale will be beautifully told through modern sensibilities and visuals.
The official synopsis follows:
While composing her famous novel Frankenstein, Mary Shelley descends into an opium-fueled fever dream while carrying on a torrid love affair with Percy Shelley. As she writes, the characters of her novel come to life and begin to plague her relationship with Percy. Before long, she must choose between true love and her literary masterpiece.
An unsettlingly intimate portrayal of a brilliant artist at her most troubled, A NIGHTMARE WAKES traces the tortured birth of a timeless masterwork and the rightful ascension of its creator to stand alongside her creation.
Unkel took pains to be as historically accurate as possible with the film’s design and lighting. With a majority female production crew and racially diverse cast, A Nightmare Wakes is just the kind of exciting, forward feature we can expect from Shudder’s exemplary programming. You can check it out for yourself when it lands on Feb 4th, which (coincidentally?) is just days after the 170th anniversary of Shelley’s death.
Check out the trailer below!