One of the all time classic horror films- a cornerstone of the Universal monster movies- and the role that brings Bela Lugosi to most people’s minds when they hear the name- is brought back tonight, with the special musical soundtrack that fascinated so many of our viewers the last time we showed this film- the 1931 “Dracula”!
Again, we thrill to this captivating film- joining real estate solicitor Renfield on a bumpy carriage ride through Transylvania- headed to the castle of new client Count Dracula to present him with the lease to Carfax Abbey in London. When the carriage stops at a local inn, Renfield is warned NOT to proceed to the castle- especially at night! He at least is taken as far as the Borgo Pass – where eerie events begin when he is picked up by Dracula’s carriage!
Entering the somewhat disheveled castle, Renfield is greeted by the Count himself (as well as spiders, rats, etc) – and brought up to a slightly more inviting bedroom. Before long, Renfield has fallen under the spell of the Count, who travels overseas to his new London residence- as Renfield’s association with the Count brings HIM to a new residence-Dr. Seward’s sanitarium! Roaming London, the aristocratic Count heads to the opera- and meets Dr Seward, his daughter Mina, along with her fiance Jonathan Harker, and her friend Lucy. Both women are entranced by Dracula- and on their way to becoming victims of the mysterious count. Renfield’s strange behavior prompts the sanitarium to bring in an expert- Dr. Van Helsing- who begins to suspect that a vampire may be involved- and makes the shocking discovery of who the vampire is! It’s up to Van Helsing and Harker to save Lucy from the powers of the Count – but are they strong enough- and clever enough-to defeat the undead?
Bela Lugosi appears in the role that became forever linked to him- with Edward Van Sloan, David Manners, Helen Chandler- and Dwight Frye in his unforgettable portrayal of Renfield- a man driven beyond sanity by supernatural forces. We’ll have information regarding the cast and the film’s production- and , as mentioned, again present this version with the special musical soundtrack ! Since the original version of the film, of course, was devoid of any music, other than the opening credits “Swan Lake” theme and incidental music in the opera house scene, the music makes a noticeable difference. This music track was originally added to the French DVD release, using stock music from the studio’s library. (When we first showed this version, we were mistakenly informed that it was another soundtrack, created by Philip Glass and The Kronos Quartet. Glass was commissioned in the late 90s by Universal to create the score, to provide a new dimension to this film- and others- but Universal was not happy with Glass’ work, and shelved any further soundtrack additions by him to other films.) The soundtrack you’ll hear tonight is most definitely the one made up of selections from the Universal music and effects library. Certainly, many prefer the original version of the film, sans music- but we got such a positive reaction to this version when we aired it a couple years ago- we thought we’d give it a second airing.
“Dracula” runs tonight on MeTV- at 10 pm eastern/pacific, 9 central, or-check your local listings or www.metv.com to find out the time and channel in your area. Chicago area viewers are invited to take another look at the classic ‘The Uninvited” at 11 am on our sister station, WCIU, the U. If you’re in that area, or near it, don’t forget that this upcoming Friday night, I’ll again be meeting attendees at the Brookfield Zoo AAZK spaghetti dinner! We do this event every year, to help support the Vital Ground organization, protecting land for wildlife. You’ll find details here on our site under the “appearances” tab.
Thanks to all who voted for me in the Me Madness brackets- I did indeed lose out to the Robot from “Lost in Space”- I should have heeded his cries of “Danger! Danger!” If you’d care to vote for me in a different endeavor, remember that I’m up for “favorite horror host” in the annual national Rondo Awards. You’ll find the ballot at www.rondoaward.com – please follow ALL the instructions so your vote will count- and vote for whoever your favorite host is.
Coming up in early April- I will be making a special Milwaukee appearance- we’ll post that information in the monthly newsletter coming out April 1st- and soon after here on our website.
The children of the night- what music they make! And, tonight, there will be added music- so, tune in for the classic performance of Bela in his signature role!