CARMILLA REVAMPED is a modern, queer update to Sheridan Le Fanu’s vampire classic Carmilla, published serially on carmillarevamped.com. Sheridan Le Fanu’s 1872 Carmilla is in the public domain. CARMILLA REVAMPED is a derivative work copyrighted to me, Alex Kaine, 2018.

Starting with the first three chapters going live in August 2020, a new chapter was published each week for 15 weeks, concluding on Halloween 2020. Each chapter features artwork illustrated by various artists.

Additionally, CARMILLA REVAMPED is now available on Kindle or Paperback for a few bucks. It does not include illustrations. The full text will remain up for free on this website indefinitely.

Why this project? I read Carmilla in my early twenties, when I was just coming to terms with my queer identity. While I loved the novel’s gothic elements and the beauty of Laura and Carmilla’s romance, I found its conclusion disappointing, abrupt, and patriarchal: the men destroy Carmilla to “save” the protagonist. I couldn’t stop imagining how the story could go if written without the constraints of Victorian principles, so I embarked on an unconventional project: I reworked Le Fanu’s text into a lesbian love story with simmering romance that culminates in a passionate, original ending.

Le Fanu’s Carmilla is a touchstone of gothic fiction; CARMILLA REVAMPED builds upon that foundation by elaborating on Carmilla’s supernatural transformation into a vampire and exploring Laura’s romantic coming-of-age.

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First, I revamped the frame of the story, shifting it tonally from regret and horror to self-discovery and adventure. While Le Fanu’s 1872 novella is ostensibly a case study by a “Dr. Hesselius,” where Laura’s first-person narrative is prefaced by the doctor’s assistant, Laura herself prefaces CARMILLA REVAMPED. After years of letting literary critics analyze her story, she’s ready to tell the real version to our modern audience, albeit in her own Victorian voice.

With added plotlines and scenes from the beginning, in CARMILLA REVAMPED I also develop richer motivations and backstory for both Laura, who constantly longs for a loving female presence after losing her mother, and Carmilla, who was turned into a vampire by her “Mamma” and the beast Matska—characters only briefly mentioned in Le Fanu’s version, but fully fleshed out as antagonists in CARMILLA REVAMPED.

While I significantly rewrote, expanded, and tonally revised Le Fanu’s text to support the new ending and narrative frame, I sought to preserve as many of his words as possible. I composed all additions in Le Fanu’s style and integrated them into the 1872 text.

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