Archive for October, 2011

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Universal’s Dracula (1931)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 25, 2011 by Paxton

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Continuing the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week contains all Dracula movies. Next up is one of the most famous Dracula movies, the one that defined the image of Dracula today. Universal’s 1931 Dracula.

Universal Dracula

Universal’s Dracula was directed by Tod Browning and starred Bela Lugosi in the title role. The movie wasn’t based directly on Bram Stoker’s novel, it was actually based on a 1927 theater production of Stoker’s book.  Bela had played the Count in that production and actively lobbied to get the movie role as well.  However, Universal, after acquiring the rights to the play, wanted Lon Chaney to play Dracula.  Unfortunately, Chaney passed away in 1930 before production could begin, so Universal agreed to let Lugosi play Dracula.

The stage play changed much of the detail to Stoker’s novel, but left much of its structure intact. The beginning of the movie is much the same as the novel, however it is Renfield that visits Castle Dracula, not Jonathan Harker, to attend to the Count’s real estate dealings. Renfield is at first attacked by Dracula’s brides, but is then bitten by Dracula himself. Dracula uses Renfield to get himself and his coffins to London safely. When the ship crashes in London, an insane Renfield is found to be the only living person on board. Renfield is sent to Dr Seward’s sanitarium (where he is in the novel). Dr Van Helsing studies Renfield’s blood and talks to him about his obession with eating insects and, of course, vampires.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Nosferatu (1922)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 24, 2011 by Paxton

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This is it. The final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week I’ll be looking at lots of Dracula movies. Let’s get this Dracula party started with one of the first filmed adaptations of Bram Stoker’s novel. Nosferatu 2 Nosferatu is a silent film from 1922 written by Henrik Galeen and directed by FW Murnau.  Galeen originally wanted to do an adaptation of the Stoker novel, but the movie studio couldn’t secure the rights.  So Galeen wrote the adaptation anyway and changed some of the character names and details of the story.  He kept the main characters, like Jonathan and Mina Harker but changed their names to Hutter.  And Count Dracula was changed to Count Orlock, which is a pretty bad ass name itself.  This movie was the first time sunlight was said to be lethal to vampires.  Stoker’s Dracula was not physically harmed by sunlight, only weakened.  In order to make Orlock a little different, Murnau made sunlight lethal to Orlock, even using it to kill him at the end of the movie in order to avoid being sued by the Stoker estate.  All instances of sunlight being lethal to vampires after this are based on Nosferatu.Nosferatu 1

Count Orlock was played by Max Schreck. Schreck was a popular stage actor at the time he was cast as Orlock. Many legends have been built up around Schreck. Some rumors say this was his only movie and he mysteriously disappeared afterwards.  There are even rumors of his being an actual vampire which is why he played the part so well. Urban legends like this were examined in the 2000 movie Shadow of the Vampire starring John Malkovich and Willem Dafoe as Schreck.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Vintage vampire movie posters and ads

Posted in advertising, Dracula, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 21, 2011 by Paxton

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This is the end of vampire TV week. Next week begins movie week. In celebration, I’m forgoing looking at a TV show today and I’m just going to present you with a potpourri of scary vintage movie ads featuring vampires. You can see more of these ads on my other blog Held Over.

First lets see some newspaper ads.

Dracula ad
This is a 1952 ad for a revival of the Dracula stage play. This was an adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel that originally ran in 1927 and starred Bela Lugosi. It was this adaptation that Universal remade for the 1931 film in which Bela reprized his stage role as the Count.

Bram Stoker's Dracula
This is a 1992 ad for Francis Ford Coppola’s rather indulgent adaptation of the Bram Stoker novel.

Love at First Bite
This ad is for Love at First Bite starring George Hamilton. It’s a 1979 spoof of Dracula that has the Count getting kicked out of his Transylvanian castle and having to move to America and blend in with the people of 70s New York.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: The Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone (1980)

Posted in cartoons, Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 20, 2011 by Paxton

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Here we are on Day 4 of Dracula TV week. Today we are looking at one of my favorite Halloween cartoon specials.  Today we are looking at the special, The Flintstones Meet Rockula & Frankenstone.

Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone VHS

The special was produced in 1979 but aired for the first time in Oct 1980. It featured the voices of Henry Corden as Fred, Mel Blanc as Barney, Ted Cassidy (Lurch from Adams Family) as Frankenstone and John Stephenson as Count Rockula.

The special starts with the Flintstones and Rubbles visiting the game show Make a Deal or Don’t. They win a trip to Rocksylvania to stay the weekend in Castle Rockula.

Flintstones Meet Rockula and Frankenstone titles

The ancient Castle Rockula has been turned in to a fancy hotel. The Flintstones and Rubbles attend a Halloween party dressed as Rockula and Frankenstone. They accidentally discover a trap door into a secret laboratory underneath the castle. While in this laboratory, a random bolt of lightning awakens the real Frankenstone monster. The real monster goes into another secret passage and awakens the real Count Rockula who has been asleep for the last 500 years.

Flintstones and Rubbles Rockula and Frankenstone

Count Rockula immediately orders everyone out of the castle. While herding everyone out the doors, he meets Wilma, mistakes her for his bride, then, when he realizes his error, he decides to take her as his bride anyway even if it means killing Fred.

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AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dracula and Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Posted in Dracula, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 19, 2011 by Paxton

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Here we are again at hump day. Hump day in the middle of Dracula TV show week. Today we are going to look at Dracula’s appearance in one of my favorite shows, Buffy the Vampire Slayer.

Buffy Season 5 box

Dracula would make his Buffy-verse debut in the first episode of Season 5 in Fall 2000. Why it took Whedon 5 seasons to get Dracula in this series is beyond me, but here he finally is.  To me, having Dracula as the “big bad” for a season makes perfect sense.  You make him evil like Angelus, but calculating and cold.  AWESOME.  In spades.

Anyway, Dracula travels to Sunnydale to meet the famous Buffy and make her one of his concubines (you and me both, Drac).  After a nice battle in the cemetery between Buffy and a nameless vamp, we get a misty reveal of the Buffy-verse Dracula.  And he looks like the living embodiment of nerd rage.


F**K. YOU.

THAT’S Dracula. WHAT. THE. F**K, Whedon?  He looks more like a douchey street magician than he does Dracula. Oh, Whedon, you sonova—-.  Why?  Why do this?  It’s like you are mocking the entire idea…….wait, hold on, just…..(calm blue ocean, calm blue ocean) let’s talk about the episode, shall we?

Like I said, “Dracula” comes to Sunnydale to make the famous Buffy Summers one of his concubines.  And to go along with that ridiculous outer appearance he also has a douchey Euro-trash accent.  So, the writers are checking off ALL the boxes under Dracula Cliches.  Vaguely European accent?  Check.  Long hair? Check.  Red lined cloak? Check.  Incite murderous rage in Pax for the lazy Dracula portrayal by the writers/producers of a show I love?  Double check.  But I digress.  AGAIN.

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