Archive for Dracula

AWESOME-tober-fest 2016: The Ghost Busters episode 10 – The Vampire’s Apprentice (1975)

Posted in Dracula, Halloween, holiday, horror, monsters, pop culture, TV shows, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2016 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Today, I finally get to talk about the old live action TV show, The Ghost Busters, from 1975.  I talked a bit before about this show back in 2007 when I discussed the difference between The Real Ghostbusters cartoon and the Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon.  As I said earlier, I actually like the old Filmation Ghostbusters cartoon so I was excited to finally go back and check out the TV show that spawned the cartoon.

The show first aired in 1975.  It lasted for one season of 15 episodes.  It starred Forrest Tucker, Larry Storch and Bob Burns as bumbling paranormal detectives who use a “ghost dematerializer” gadget to send said ghosts back to the netherworld.

ghost-busters

The show made use of several famous monters in its 15 episodes including Jeckyll & Hyde, Dr Frankenstein and his monster, the Red Baron, Billy the Kid and, in the episode I’m about to look at, Dracula and his wife.

Here’s Dracula and his wife.  Since this show is a comedy, the duo are characterized as very slaptick and goofy.

img_1858

It’s interesting, the episode several times mentions that they are the GHOSTS of Dracula and his wife, which doesn’t really make a whole hell of a lot of sense.  They interact as if they are corporeal vampires, but in the beginning and the way they are dispatched in the end seems to suggest that they are ghosts.  Weird.

img_1865

The whole episode is weird and the humor is…eh.  At one point, Larry Storch’s Spencer is turned into a vampire. To ward all the vampires off, Forrest Tucker’s Kong hands them a “wooden steak” (Haha! Get it?).  Of course the vampires look at it oddly at first and then they theatrically recoil in horror when they realize it’s a “wooden steak”.  That’s the level of hilarity throughout this episode. Plus, there are constant jokes about how Dracula can’t remember anything because he’s getting old and he’s constantly running into walls when he turns into a bat.

img_1863

When it’s finally time to dispatch the vampire “ghosts” Kong grabs the “ghost dematerializer” and disintegrates Dracula and his wife back to wherever the hell they came from.

So I’ve finally watched this show.  It’s not great.  Definitely a product of the time, but the concept is solid.  I’ll check out a few of the other episodes with other more famous monsters.  I’m really interested in checking out the episode with Billy the Kid’s ghost!


2012 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Advertisements

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: Scarlet in Gaslight (1987)

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Genres, horror, monsters, nostalgia, pop culture with tags , , , , , , , on October 29, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

This week, instead of the Invisible Man, I am revisting some of my earlier AWESOME-tober-fest themes. Today I’m looking back at Dracula, whom I covered back in 2011.

The comic Scarlet in Gaslight was released by Eternity Comics in 1987-1988.

Sherlock Holmes SIG01

This comic is a Sherlock Holmes mystery where the detective meets the Prince of Darkness, Dracula. It was written by Martin Powell and drawn by Seppo Makinen.  If they sound familiar these are the guys who did the Sherlock Holmes vs Invisible Man comic I talked about earlier, A Case of Blind Fear.  They actually did this Dracula comic a few years before they did the invisible man mystery.

Sherlock Holmes SIG03

In style and execution this comic is very similar to A Case of Blind Fear.  Only, sadly, it isn’t quite as successful.  The story tries to incorporate Sherlock Holmes into the events of the Bram Stoker novel which, like in A Case of Blind Fear, would cause changes to the novel’s events as well as the outcome.  In the comic you see Lucy suffering in her room where Dracula has been visiting her.  You see Van Helsing trying to help her by covering the room in garlic.  We also see Dracula has the look from Stoker’s novel with the mustache, but it just isn’t working as well for me as it would a few years later with A Case of Blind Fear.

Lucy gets a bigger part and you see Sherlock having lots of issues with all of the supernatural things going on.  He even has sort of a breakdown in the middle of the comic because his precise mind can’t process what it sees.  This stuff is interesting but also, in the full run of the comic I was mostly bored reading.  I just couldn’t connect to this comic the same way I connected with the later invisible man story.  A lot of that may be my issues I have with the Bram Stoker novel itself, but I can’t be sure.  Taken at face value, some of this comic is pretty cool, it just has trouble keeping that coolness flowing throughout the four issue story.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2015: The Dell Comics Monster Squad

Posted in comic books, Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, pop culture, werewolf with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2015 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Yesterday, with my review of Dell’s Frankenstein, I finally completed all three infamous 60s Dell superhero monster comics reviews (Here’s Dracula and Werewolf).  I love all three of these zany re-imagining of the classic monsters.  And as I mentioned in my reviews, the only thing that was missing was a team up.  We did see Frankenstein pop up briefly in a one panel cameo in Dracula, but other than that, no other crossover ever happened.  It’s time I rectify this situation.

So, issue #10 of Cavalcade Comics features the debut of the Dell monster super heroes in a team up.  Finally we get the Dell Comics Monster Squad.

Cavalcade Comics 10

How did this never happen? I’ll tell you how, the comics never sold. It’s why we only got three issues of each title. I would love to see these characters come back in a cool retro reboot. I don’t even know who owns the license to them anymore, but with the right writer and tone, they could be fantastic.

I had only three covers of each of the three heroes to try to make work, but I luckily found Marvel’s Where Monsters Dwell #3 (1970) which works as a really nice base image for this cover.

where-monsters-dwell

I love all those 70s horror comics from Marvel. Such good cover artwork and great to use as a base for these types of Photoshop projects.

The Dell Monster Squad logo was going to be a re-interpretation of some awesome original art by Nathan Milliner.

nathanmilliner

Nathan created these awesome EC-style vintage comic covers I just love.  I really wanted to use that logo, but no matter how I manipulated it, it didn’t fit in the 60-70s vintage comic cover I was trying to create, so I sadly had to abandon it. I then went back to the original Where Monsters Dwell logo and just created the new logo off those letters and I think it turned out pretty good. I’m happy with it.

As for the monster heroes themselves; Dracula comes from Dell Dracula #4, Frankenstein comes from Dell Frankenstein #2 and Werewolf from Dell Werewolf #1.  

I also had to change the background a bit and add the night sky with the full moon which I believe I got from Marvel’s Werewolf by Night #11.


2015 banner
Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

Movie Man-a-thon: Dracula, secret agents and a time traveling Ethan Hawke

Posted in Dracula, Genres, horror, monsters, time travel with tags , , , , , , on March 19, 2015 by Paxton

Steph took the kids to her parents for the week so I was left to my own bachelor devices. So, as usual, I programmed a viewing schedule of movies and TV shows that Steph would not ever want to watch. I’ve done this before, time to do it again.


Dracula Untold (2014) – The Universal monster rally movies can now begin!  I didn’t hear a lot about this movie beforehand but I look forward to any movie utilizing the classic monsters, especially Universal who says they want to plan a “monsterverse” set of movies.  This actually wasn’t that bad and a pretty good re-interpretation of the legend of Vlad the Impaler.  It makes him a more sympathetic character and places the inhuman bloodthirsty killer on another character from which Vlad will get his vampiric status.  The cast is great and the effects are pretty awesome.  Recommend.  However, to be honest, I was a bit disappointed we didn’t get a glimpse or hint of another monster in a post credit sequence.  But that’s a relatively small gripe.


Kingsman: The Secret Service (2015) – Until very recently I had no idea this was based on a Mark Millar comic.  Honestly, I think Millar had the screenplay written, no one bought it, and so he made it into a comic.  Then when the comic did pretty well, he was able to sell it to Matthew Vaughn.  And this is a pretty spectacular movie.  I love Colin Firth and he’s brilliant in this.  On one hand he plays directly into your expectations of him while simultaneously doing something completely different that you would never expect him to be doing.  Michael Caine is also great.  The new kid is pretty good.  My only gripe would be Sam Jackson as the villain.  We’re to the point now where Sam Jackson will immediately take me out of a movie.  He’s no longer Sam Jackson the actor, he’s Sam Jackson the character.  He transcends whatever he’s trying to do.  And I appreciate he’s trying to do something a little different with the lisp, but I never saw anything other than SAM JACKSON playing the villain.  That being said, he’s remarkably entertaining to watch in this movie.  I highly recommend it.  I hope there are more Kingsman movies to come.


Predestination (2015) – On the surface, it looks to take the same basic idea of agents policing the time stream as Time Cop. But quickly you find out it’s a completely different movie.  It’s a more intimate story involving one time agent on one mission that seems to have some huge importance to history, but also some very personal importance as well.  It’s not really what I wanted out of the movie but I’m not going to lie, the way the story wraps up has a few surprising reveals that I didn’t see coming.  I saw one of them coming pretty early, but not the other.  It’s mostly well acted and interesting, but definitely quirky and a bit weird.  The story focuses more on Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook’s characters and their interactions with each other more than the actual time travel or the agency that is policing the time stream and how it works.  But it’s still a good movie.  I’d give it a soft recommend.


Game of Thrones: Season 2 – My wife and I started watching Season 2 a few weeks ago but she bowed out after two episodes.  By contrast, I was hooked after the same two episodes.  I went ahead and finished the season while Steph was away.  THIS SHOW IS SO GOOD.  Great characters, great drama.  Everything in this world is so f**king filthy.  Dirt and mud is EVERYWHERE.  And I feel sorry for the actor who plays Joffrey.  He plays the most despicable person in a TV show EVER.  I want to punch him in the face.  With a crowbar.  SO GOOD.  But far and above everyone else is Peter Dinklage kicking so much f**king ass as Tyrion Lannister.  He gets better every episode.  I’m two seasons behind right now so I’m trying to stay as spoiler free as possible, but I’m already aware that there is this thing called a “Red Wedding” and it happens at the end of season 3.  But that’s all I know.  SO SHUT UP ABOUT IT ALREADY.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Dracula Dead and Loving It (1995)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 28, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

This is it. The final day of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week I looked at lots of Dracula movies. I usually end these things with “Freaky Friday” in which I’ll review a particularly silly or spoof movie about the subject at hand. I did this with Billy the Kid last year. I also did it with last years’ werewolves AWESOME-tober-fest. So it goes this year. Today I’m going to look at a Mel Brooks spoof of Dracula from 1995.

Dracula Dead and Loving It

That movie was Dracula Dead and Loving It. I originally saw this movie in the theater. I am a HUGE fan of Brooks’ Young Frankenstein which spoofs the first three Universal Frankenstein movies.  So I was excited to see what Brooks had in store for Dracula.  This movie not only spoofs the 1931 Universal Dracula, it also pokes fun at the 1992 Coppola Dracula and the 1958 Hammer Dracula.

So overall, this movie isn’t that funny. It’s more along the lines of a modern spoof movie like Date Movie or Disaster Movie. It’s nowhere near as satisfying as a Young Frankenstein. And it’s tough that Brooks had to live up to Young Frankenstein which is a nearly perfect spoof comedy, but that’s how I watched it.  I enjoyed parts of it, though.  Leslie Nielsen is okay as Count Dracula.  The standout performance in the movie, however, is Peter MacNicol as Renfield.  He really gets his crazy on and models his insanity on the original 1931 Renfield, Dwight Frye.  He is a joy to watch.  It looks like he had so much fun.

Dracula Dead and Loving It 2

Steven Weber as Jonathan Harker isn’t bad either. Unfortunately, however, I’m not a huge fan of Weber’s Wings costar, Amy Yasbeck. I just don’t think she’s funny nor a good actress. She similarly tanked another Brooks movie, Robin Hood Men in Tights, which I thought was funny despite Yasbeck’s performance.  And she was terrible in The Mask.  How does she keep getting work?

This movie is all about the sight gags, so I’m not going to sit here and describe that to you. There are some genuinely funny moments onscreen, unfortunately, they come too infrequently. I really think the problem here is the script. Dracula is ripe for some parody, yet the material seemed thin and less a parody of Dracula and had more situational comedy. Maybe the movie would have been better with better actors. I don’t know.  I just wish it would have worked more as a whole because I really like the idea of this movie. Like I said, these horror movies are ripe for a good parody (not looking at you Scary Movie 2-4).


Mummy_banner Also, check out the blog Countdown to Halloween for more Halloween-y, bloggy AWESOMEness.

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1992)

Posted in Dracula, Frankenstein, Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 27, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Continuing the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week I’ve been reviewing all Dracula movies. Monday was Nosferatu from 1922. Tuesday was Universal’s Dracula from 1931. Yesterday I reviewed Horror of Dracula by Hammer Films. Today I’m looking at a movie that threw out these past movie versions of Dracula and went back to the source.  The director wanted to do a new, more faithful adaptation of Stoker’s novel.  That director was Francis Ford Coppola.

Coppola's Dracula

So, in 1992 we got Bram Stoker’s Dracula.  Coppola was actually given the script for this adaptation by Wynona Ryder.  She wanted a project for them to do together to help patch things up with the director after she pulled out of The Godfather Part III at the last minute. So Coppola agreed to do this and production began.

Coppola really wanted to create an ethereal almost dreamlike quality to this movie. Originally, he didn’t want to build any sets. He wanted elaborate costumes but very sparse, minimalistic backgrounds. Luckily the studio said no and forced him to do “traditional” sets. I’ve attempted to watch this movie several times since the 90s. But I hadn’t tried for a few years, so I thought this might be the year to give it a try, especially since I just read the original novel and watched a bunch of other Dracula movies.

So, what did I think this time? I didn’t like it. At all. They put Stoker’s name over the title, but that was mainly to differentiate it from Universal’s movie, not because there is that much more devotion to the novel. Coppola has created an overly indulgent arthouse flick about Dracula. It’s surreal and strange and boring. He ties the origins of Dracula to “The Impaler” Vlad III who renounces God after his beloved wife kills herself after mistakenly believing her husband was killed in battle.  Then Dracula stabs a stone cross, which starts to bleed, then he drinks the blood from the cross.  WHAT?!

Continue reading

AWESOME-tober-fest 2011: Hammer’s Horror of Dracula (1958)

Posted in Halloween, holiday, monsters, movies, pop culture, vampires with tags , , , , , , , , on October 26, 2011 by Paxton

Awesometoberfest banner

Continuing the final week of AWESOME-tober-fest. This week contains all Dracula movies.

Next up is another very famous version of Dracula.  It was by an independent movie production company known for horror movies.  That company was Hammer Films.

Hammer Films

Hammer Films garnered its first hit in 1955 with an adaptation of an old British television serial called The Quartermass Experiment.  During production of a sequel to that movie, Hammer developed a re-imagining of the Frankenstein story.  This was released in 1957 as The Curse of Frankenstein with Christopher Lee as the monster and Peter Cushing as Victor Frankenstein.  I reviewed this movie back in 2009 for my Frankenstein AWESOME-tober-fest.  Curse became a huge hit which led to Hammer wanting a Frankenstein sequel as well as investigating other horror movie icons that could be given the “Hammer treatment”.

Horror of Dracula

After beginning development on The Revenge of Frankenstein, Hammer decided to remake Dracula.  Several scripts were submitted, certain rights agreements had to be signed with Universal Pictures and production began for in 1957 for Hammer’s Dracula.  Hammer released Dracula (titled Horror of Dracula in the States) in 1958.  It starred Christopher Lee as the titular Count Dracula and Peter Cushing as Dr Van Helsing.  The movie would break box office records in the UK and America.

Christopher Lee as Dracula

Many changes were made in the Hammer movie that deviated from both the novel and Unviersal version. Jonathan Harker does visit Dracula in the beginning, but he’s there to kill him, not to help him sign some real estate documents. Dracula appears to only have one bride. Dracula only uses two supernatural powers; hypnotism and travel through fog. Other powers like shapeshifting into bats and wolves is never shown. Also, Dracula is killed by sunlight in this movie (like Nosferatu) but in the novel, the sunlight only removes the Count’s powers.

Continue reading