I waited a few years to go to college because I wasn’t sure that I wanted to go at first and I needed to save money for it so I didn’t go until I was 22. Anyways I started in the Fall of 1992 and by Halloween I had just begun to make friends. However Halloween was a Friday night and all the people I met were going out drinking. I just wasn’t into that and I knew that if I was going to make through college I had to try hard. I am no goodie goodie it’s just that I was a horrible student in high school and knew I needed to focus to not get kicked out of college. Anyways back to the Holiday- I had been working hard studying but decided to take the night off for the holiday yet I had to go it alone since everyone else I knew had fled the small college town for the bigger party town up the road. I went to a haunted house put on by the band and choir at the music department building. For a non professional haunted house it was pretty cool. They had like six rooms dedicated to it complete with zombies, vampires, ghouls and slashers. On Friday nights at my college they showed a movie at the lecture hall normally something that had just come out on video. Being Halloween they were showing a double feature although whoever picked out the movies must have been in more of a sci-fi mood than horror because they were putting on Planet of the apes and Fantastic Voyage. Now I had seen Fantastic Voyage at least ten times on TV but had never seen Planet of the apes. So I picked a spot way up in the balcony to view it. From the spaceship crash on the movie drew me in and it still remains one of my top ten films today. The visuals, the struggles, the music and everything about it was right on target. I have to admit to falling asleep during Fantastic Voyage, but that was me not the movie. So after sleeping through a long stretch I got up and went back to the dorm and called it a night. That may have very dull to some, but I enjoyed it and remember that Halloween pretty well because it was maybe the only one where I did something at college. I think all my other college Halloweens were spent with me studying in my room with a horror movie playing in the background.
Halloween leftovers week rolls on.
Let’s rewind back to the day before Halloween in 1982 so that was Saturday 10-30-1982. I think I may seen Lugosi’s Dracula before this, but only remember small bits. My mother said hey the old Dracula is on tonight on channel 20, you should see it. i had liked monsters when I was younger, but by this time I was 12 and big into sci-fi like Trek and Star Wars. However I was fine with watching it and I really got into it. Lugosi and his eyes and that voices plus Renfeld and his crazy bug eating antics. I loved it from then on and hey Halloween hadn’t even come yet. The next morning I discovered that a local channel was showing monster films all day and the one I remember the most from the few I got to see was the Incredible shrinking man. Silly title? Perhaps, but a classic for sure that did a lot with the effects of the day. This is a favorite to this day as well. So that was a great Halloween weekend for my horror and sci-fi education plus it pulled me further in to enjoying those kind of films.
Who’s in this?
Francis Ledderer as Count Dracula posing as Bellac Gordal. He was born in what is now the Czech Republic. He came to America and began working in acting in the 1930’s. Worked fairly steady for several decades. He made quite a bit of money in real estate in California and continued to teach drama for years. He passed away in 2000 at the age of 101 (!). That means he was almost 60 when he did this film, he looks younger.
Norma Eberhardt as Rachel who the count becomes interested. She had a handful of roles around the 50’s and 60’s.
Ray Stricklyn as Tim boyfriend of Rachel. He had over 70 credits spread over five decades. He was in everything from Perry Mason to Seinfeld.
Laying down on the job huh?
What’s this about? A group of would be vampire hunters show up and hey the coffin is empty so no vampire to slay-how unfair. Well, the count is on a train reading the funny pages or something until he decides to kill another dude, throw his body off the train, assume his identity and take his tickets to leave Europe and go over to the states. Meanwhile a young woman named Rachel and her family are excited about picking up their relative is coming from Europe. Little do they it’s really Count Dracula-you blood sucking fiend! So Rachel is infatuated with him because he has been to places overseas. Silly girl, silly girl. The Count sets up his coffin in a nearby cave that looks awful clean and well lit for a cave. Meanwhile he’s sucking the blood from Rachel’s blind friend. The friend dies but not before giving Rachel a warning and a cross to use. An investigator show wanting to talk to “the relative” about a body they found thrown from the train. Boyfriend Tim doesn’t trust Rachel’s relative and he shouldn’t. The vampire lures Rachel to his cave where he tries to drain her of all her fluids-ewwww. Tim shows up to fight for his girl and gets Rachel to fight the trance and use her cross. She does and the count falls back off a ledge and gets impaled by a pieceof wood. Eeyoweeyoeeyowee! Then he turns to bones and roll the credits.
The negatives-This film has a very low budget and it shows. The acting varies from good down to slightly wooden. The film doesn’t do a lot to advance the legend of Dracula but rather they just change the setting.
The positives-Francis Ledderer does a good job like Lugosi before him and maybe even Chris Sarandon a few decades later of playing the interesting yet attractive older man who lures woman in with smooth methods before trying to put the bit on them. I thought the visuals were generally good enough given the budget and time. The film began a voiceover and some stock footage and I was bracing myself for a rough time, but it turned out to a pleasant surprise. The black and white looks great and even the “oh, golly gee whiz” attitude of Rachel works good for a Hollywood version of the 50’s.
Overall I liked it and will definitely watch it again.
Sorry for the smoke, but I just had to take my shoes off and rest my tootsies.