Fang-eyGone are the days of the vampire bat and supernaturally creepy old guy sneaking into bedrooms in the dark of night to neck with the ladies. The whole vampire genre has had a nice little post-modern renaissance, evolving into hip and suave victims of viral outbreaks. Holy water is overrated, garlic is hidden in the pantry and the undead simply hang out in clans and in-fight beneath the anonymity of the big city. Kind of like World of Warcraft fans.

Word is out that another installment in post-modern vampirism lore is on its way to splashing blood and angst across the big screen. Stealth and Ms. Potter makers Phoenix films are launching an adaptation of crime writer Charlie Huston’s satirical and gory genre mish-mash of Vampires vs. Zombies, Already Dead. In Huston’s novel, vampires are, of course, afflicted with a virus, causing them to give up Diet Coke and forcing them to drink blood to survive. They’re keeping a low profile in Manhattan, but have their own sub-societal culture, complete with cliques varying from corporate suits to biker gangs. The protagonist is private eye Joe Pitt (pictured at left with that realistic fang hanging out of his mouth- dude in that stock photo is going, WTF!?), hired to track down a high-profile daughter in the middle of a subculture at war against zombies, wraiths and the infighting vampire factions.

Intentions are to grow Already Dead into a franchise, but track records haven’t been good for franchise building in the blood-sucker genre (Blade is really the only vampire-themed film franchise I can recall in recent times that’s even made it to a trilogy). Still, with a soft spot for genre mixing, I wish it a hearty good luck anyway. Already Dead is getting a good start, however, as the project is being produced by Mike Deluca Productions, whose vampire experience with Blade was successful for New Line.

Besides writing novels, Charlie Huston is also the writer behind Marvel’s recent revamp of cool-looking but C-level hero, Moon Knight.