This week on MeTV- it’s another Saturday matinee ‘50s offering from American International Studios- one that can be counted as part of the teenage monster series of films with “I Was A Teenage Frankenstein” and “I Was a Teenage Werewolf”- but tonight’s film puts a twist on the formula by making the terror a female! Our teenage vampire is out for blood in “Blood of Dracula”!
In this 1957 chiller, we meet the unhappy Nancy being forced to go to a distant girls’ school, so her father and his rather nasty new bride can begin their lives together without her. The fact that dear old Dad married again only six weeks after Nancy’s mom died does not sit will with the troubled teen. Her first night at the Sherwood School for Girls is no picnic, either- a clique of popular girls, the “Birds of Paradise” invade her room and give her a hard time.
She actually passes their “test” by not ratting on them to the housemother! Myra, the head “bird”, introduces her to the only boy on campus, a groundskeeper that the girls take turns dating. Nancy is unimpressed by the lawn-mowing Lothario- she has a much better specimen of a boyfriend back home.
Myra heads to the office of chemistry teacher Miss Branding, to whom she is an assistant, who tells her about her thesis- claiming there is a terrifying power within us all, just waiting to be unleashed. When she tells Myra about wanting to find a student to “experiment” with regarding her theory- someone with anger issues- Myra suggests Nancy.
Miss Branding plans a mishap in chemistry class that will allow her to have a one-on-one meeting with Nancy. She works on gaining Nancy’s confidence, then asks to hypnotize her- all to help her work out her problems, of course. Nancy agrees, and Branding puts on an ornate amulet, which Nancy jokes is costume jewelry- only to be told that it is actually an ancient artifact from the Carpathian Mountains ( home of Dracula, as we saw in last week’s movie), capable of great and unusual power. Branding puts her subject into a hypnotic trance- and places the poor unaware girl under her control!
This control becomes evident the night of a “Birds of Paradise” party with some uninvited male guests sneaking in and almost getting caught! Miss Branding has sent word that, even at this late hour, Myra should go down to a storeroom to get the things needed for tomorrow’s chemistry lesson. As she does, Branding clutches the amulet and exerts her control over Nancy. The result- Myra ends up being fatally attacked by –well, something -that has left two puncture marks on her throat- and her blood drained! When a coroner’s assistant brings up tales he was told by an exchange student from a village in the Carpathian Mountains about vampires, investigators will not even consider that theory.
Perhaps soon they will have to- when there are more murders! Nancy begins to suspect that she is involved- can she get released from Branding’s “experiment” before there is more mayhem?
As I said, this movie has similarities to the other AIP teenage monster films, especially “Teenage Werewolf”- with both the main characters being troubled teens who undergo hypnosis to supposedly “help” them. We’ll run down the cast list, with some faces you’ll recognize from other films of this era, give some production background, inflict upon you another round of our “Too Drawn Out” game, give you yet another alternative for further education, plus the sequel to a bloodsucker bit we ran recently, and, of course, a new song.
“Blood of Dracula” runs tonight ( ooh, that’s nasty!) at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central time. If you need help in finding the time and station in your area, you can consult your local listings or check at www.metv.com . Last week, we were in the Twitter top ten trending topics nationally for the entire two hours of the show, thanks to viewers live-Tweeting using the hashtag #svengoolie – and you are welcome to join in during the program again this week. Chicago area viewers can catch an encore of Bela Lugosi in “Dracula” this morning on CW26 at 11 am.
We recently were made aware that Ricou Browning- a legendary performer who was in the Gill Man costume for the underwater scenes of the “Creature from the Black Lagoon” and its sequels, was a director, created the TV show “Flipper”, and much more- is in declining health. His daughter has asked that fans send mail to him to cheer him up, so please, join us in doing so- the address is –
5221 SW 196 Lane
Tell him that Svengoolie and all his fans send their love and appreciation for his immortal work in movies and television.
For those who keep asking-the new Sven zip-up hoodies WILL be restocked soon! Just check the Sven store, or watch for the announcement that they are back in stick.
And- join us tonight on MeTV for a school of higher education- with a higher fatality rate!