From 1938: Orson Welles and The Mercury Theater Present Dracula!


Did you know that in 1938, the same year that they horrified America with their production of The War Of The Worlds, Orson Welles and the Mercury Theater did a radio version of Dracula?

Check out this amazing cast list:

Orson Welles – Dracula/Dr. Arthur Seward
George Coulouris- Jonathan Harker
Ray Collins – Russian Captain
Karl Swenson – The Mate
Elizabeth Fuller – Lucy Westenra
Martin Gabel – Professor Van Helsing
Agnes Moorehead – Mina Harker

Coulouris, Collins, and Moorehead would, of course, all go one to appear with Orson Welles in Citizen Kane.

And now, we are proud to present, for your listening pleasure …. DRACULA!

Dracula Part 2 (Netflix), Review by Case Wright


Happy Horrorthon! Dracula is saaaaaaailing, sailing takes me away to where I’ve always heard it could be and he’s eating every one the boaaaat. This episode was almost a bottle episode. Dracula REALLY wants to go to England. I love meat pies too; I can relate! Drac spends the episode eating …. EVERYONE!!! Dracula, Food does not equal love!

Mmmmm Talking Fudge!!!

I enjoyed the episode, but it was kinda rediculous. Dracula was eating everyone and NO ONE really suspected him until the end? Really? Nah, couldn’t be the weird Eastern European guy whose cabin smells like rotting flesh. Really, just look at the guy! No suspicions?!

Dramatization:

SEE WHAT I MEAN!!!!

There are some interesting people on board, but really I just felt like they were kind of a distraction from the much more Frost/Nixon style debate between Dracula and Agatha. Their dialogue was masterful. It pulled you in and it was SUNDAY SUNDAY SUNDAY – Enlightenment Vs Reason! We’ll sell you the whole seat, but you’ll only need the EDGE!!!!

It turns out that Agatha is Dinner. When Agatha awakens, she and the remaining snacks manage to blow up the ship and Dracula is off the coast of England. He’s next to a hole, a hole, a hole at the bottom of the sea! When he wakes, he walks ashore and it’s MODERN DAY with helicopters! I didn’t see that coming, but why not? This was fun!

Dracula (Netflix) Review By Case Wright


Happy Horrorthon fellow travelers. It’s been a awhile. I’ve been struggling with engineering classes and it’s been hard to set time aside for this essential part of my life. How does this relate to Dracula? Dracula at its core is an unrequited love story. It drips with sanguine hopes and failed dreams (pun intended). Really, we’ve all that relationship that we really wanted, but it was always doomed, doomed, doomed.

I got to enjoy this mini-series the best way possible: a live tweet with the TSL staff. Back to Dracula, this series was originally broadcast on the BBC. It took Dracula from the past to the present. I have read most of Bram Stoker’s Dracula. It’s kinda boring, which is why the first episode was uneven in terms of excitement because it held close to the book, which was b o r i n g. Part I established Dracula at home. As in the book, he wanted to see the World, meet new and interesting people in England, and eat them.

To whet his appetite and get waaaaay younger, he decided to feast on a lawyer- Jonathan Harker. This Dracula gets all the memories and knowledge from the people he feeds on, which begs the question: Why travel anywhere? Just hang out at a train station and snack on people. Come on, Drac! I did like how the first episode set up the Courtly Love Interest – Agatha Van Helsing; she’s a Nun with ice water in her veins.

Sister Agatha (Van Helsing) gets a visitor at her convent – Jonathan Harker. He looks dead…well undead. He even has a fly crawl across his eyeball without him noticing. Flies buzzing and crawling about eyeballs is a big theme in this mini-series; you just have to get used to it.

Jonathan describes meeting the Count under the presumption of a land holding trans… sorry I dozed off there. The book was a lot like that too. It would have exciting moments and then BAM… Back to the real estate transactions! As Jonathan stays at the Count’s castle, the Count gets younger and he gets older. His lifeforce is drained away. In fact, all of his memories get drained away as well to the Count after one feeding ah ah ah and then two feedings ah ah ah.. Jonathan appears to succumb to the Count and feel nothing, but his resignation is all an act. DUN DUN DUN!

Jonathan is searching for a way out of the castle and it works….kinda. I mean he ends up at a convent and we learn that he’s undead and under the power of Dracula. This is gleaned from Sister Agatha who relentlessly interrogates …well everyone. I wish she were my best friend. She attracts a lot of monsters, but nobody’s perfect.

Unfortunately, Dracula can sense Jonathan and he has pursued him to the convent. This is where Dracula meets the true love of his life Sister Agatha. She’s fearless, smart, and scientific; the opposite of everyone else whom Dracula encounters. Agatha is a force of reason like Dracula is a force of nature. He represents feudalism and magic, she enlightenment and technocratic future. She is what he aspires to be, but cannot. She hopes that in solving the mystery of Dracula she will understand the mystical and develop her elusive affinity with God.

Of course, by getting close to understand Dracula, Agatha inadvertently allows Dracula to enter the convent and eat everyone, including……her and he does it by wearing a dead man’s face. That was awesome! Gotta see it again!

Two and three will post tomorrow!!!!

4 Shots From 4 Films: Special Bela Lugosi Edition


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking.

Today is the 138th anniversary of the birth of Bela Lugosi!  In honor of his legacy, here are….

4 Shots From 4 Films

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

White Zombie (1932, directed by Vincent Halperin)

Island of Lost Souls (1932, directed by Erle C. Kenton)

Bride of the Monster (1955, dir by Edward D. Wood, Jr.)

AMV Of The Day: Dracula (Diabolik Lovers)


To help to continue to promote the holiday spirit, here’s an AMV of the Day.

Anime: Diabolik Lovers

Song: Dracula by Ghost Town

Creator: Amy Surname

(As always, please consider subscribing to this creator’s YouTube channel!)

Past AMVs of the Day

4 Shots From 4 Tod Browning Films: West of Zanzibar, Dracula, Freaks, Mark of the Vampire


4 Shots From 4 Films is just what it says it is, 4 shots from 4 of our favorite films. As opposed to the reviews and recaps that we usually post, 4 Shots From 4 Films lets the visuals do the talking!

This October, we’ve been using 4 Shots From 4 Films to pay tribute to some of our favorite horror directors!  Today, we honor the legacy of the great Tod Browning!

4 Shots From 4 Films

West of Zanzibar (1928, dir by Tod Browning)

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

Freaks (1932, dir by Tod Browning)

Mark of the Vampire (1935; dir by Tod Browning)

 

Scenes That I Love: Vampire Lucy Makes Her Presence Known In Horror of Dracula


Today is the 116th anniversary of the birth of the British director, Terence Fisher.

Though Fisher had a long career as both an editor and a director and he worked in almost every genre, he achieved immortality with the horror films that he directed for Hammer Films.  Fisher’s horror films took the monsters that had previously been made famous by Universal Studios and resurrected them with a pop art spin.  Regardless of whether the subject matter was Frankenstein, the Mummy, Dracula, or some other fearsome creature, Fisher brought a vibrant splash of color to their stories.  (Often that color was blood red.)  At a time when American horror films were still hobbled by the production code and tended to hide their themes under several heavy layers of subtext, Terence Fisher brought Hammer’s stories to life with explicit violence and unapologetic sexuality.  When Christopher Lee’s Dracula stared at a victim with lustful eyes, there was little doubt about what was actually happening.  Once Fisher started working for Hammer, he never left the horror genre.  Personally, I would have liked to have seen what he could have done with a Bond film.

Today’s scene that I love comes from one of the first of the Fisher-directed Hammer horror films, 1958’s Horror of Dracula.  (In the UK, it was simply know as Dracula.)  Christopher Lee may not appear in this scene but it’s still one of the creepiest moments in the film.  In this scene, Lucy (Carol Marsh) returns from the dead and, sporting a new set of fangs, attempts to get her former maid’s daughter, Tania, to come for a walk with her.  Thanks to both Fisher’s direction and Marsh’s unforgettable performance, this is a scene that sticks with you even after the film ends.   Whenever I see Lucy peeking out from behind that tree and calling out to little Tania, my mind flashes back to when I was in the 1st grade and a police officer stopped by the classroom to ask if we all knew what to do if an adult who we didn’t know tried to get us to go off with them.  This scene definitely gives off stranger danger vibes and it’s all the more creepy as a result.

 

6 Horror Performances That Deserved An Oscar Nomination


Despite making some inroads as of late, horror films still never quite get the respect that they deserve when it comes Oscar time.  That’s especially true of the performers who regularly appear in horror films.  If it’s rare for a horror movie to receive a best picture nomination, it’s even rarer for someone to get nominated for appearing in one of them.

And yet, it takes as much skill to make a monster compelling as it does a historical figure or a literary character.  In fact, it may take even more skill.  After all, everyone knows that Queen Elizabeth I actually ruled over England and that Atticus Finch was an attorney in the South.  However, everyone also knows that there’s no such things as vampires and that the dead cannot be reanimated or raised as a zombie.  It takes a lot of skill to make a monster seem human.

With that in mind, here are 6 horror performances that deserved, at the very least, an Oscar nomination:

1. Boris Karloff as The Monster in Frankenstein (1931) and The Bride of Frankenstein(1935)

The great Boris Karloff is perhaps the most egregious example of a deserving actor who was consistently ignored by the Academy because of the type of films in which he appeared.  In the role of Monster, Karloff was never less than brilliant and he set the standard by which all future monsters are judged.

Dracula (1931, directed by Tod Browning)

2. Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931)

When viewed today, it’s perhaps a little bit too easy to be dismissive of Lugosi’s grandly theatrical interpretation of Dracula.  But, if you can ignore all of the bad imitations that you’ve seen and heard over the years, you’ll discover that Lugosi’s performance is perfect for the film in which he’s appearing.  Indeed, Lugosi’s best moments are the silent ones, when he goes from being a courtly (if vaguely sinister) nobleman to a hungry animal.  In those moments, you see why Lugosi’s performance endures.

3. Anthony Perkins as Norman Bates in Psycho (1960)

Ah, poor Anthony Perkins.  Before he played Norman Bates, he was considered to be something an up-and-coming star and even something of a neurotic romantic lead.  As with Lugosi’s Dracula, we’ve seen so many bad imitations of Perkins’s performance that it’s easy to overlook just how good he is in the role.  He was so perfect as Norman that spent the rest of his career typecast.  And, sadly enough, he didn’t even get a much-deserved Oscar nomination out of it.

4. Christopher Lee as Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man (1973)

Christopher Lee was one of the great actors and, though he may be best remembered for his horror work, he actually appeared in almost every genre of film imaginable.  Lee was often dismissive of the Dracula films that he made for Hammer so, as much as I’d love to argue that he deserved a nomination for The Horror of Dracula, I’m instead going to suggest that Lee deserved one for the role that he often cited as his favorite, the pagan Lord Summerisle in The Wicker Man.  Lee brings the perfect mix of wit and menace to the role and, in the process, shows that not all monsters have to be undead.

5. Donald Pleasence as Dr. Sam Loomis in Halloween (1978) and Halloween II (1981)

Much as with Lugosi and Anthony Perkins, it’s important (and perhaps a little bit difficult) to separate Pleasence’s performances in these two slasher films with all of the imitations that have followed.  In both films, Pleasence does a great job of playing a man who has been driven to the verge of madness as a result of having spent too much time in the presence of evil.  As potentially dangerous as Sam Loomis sometimes appears to be, there’s no way not to sympathize with him as he continually tries to get people to understand that he wasn’t the one who left Michael escape.  If nothing else, Pleasence deserved a nomination just for his delivery of the line, “As a matter of fact, it was.”

6. Betsy Palmer as Pamela Voorhees in Friday the 13th (1980)

“I’m an old friend of the Christys.”  AGCK!  RUN!