We thought it would be appropriate to bring back one of the original classics of Universal horror-the movie that firmly affixed Bela Lugosi into our consciousness as Bram Stoker’s vampire count! Conducting the children of the night in the music they make, Bela stakes (sorry) his claim to his most memorable role in the 1931 original "Dracula"- augmented by a special musical soundtrack!
We join real estate solicitor Renfield on a bumpy journey to Transylvania ( one of his travelling companions is , in actuality, Carla Laemmle, daughter of Carl Laemmle, founder and head of Universal studios). Renfield is on his way to the castle of a certain Count Dracula to get him to sign the lease for Carfax Abbey in London. The locals get nervous just hearing where he is headed, and try to talk him out of it- but he continues on to meet with the Count- unaware of what is in his future !
Renfield meets the Count, and his overnight stay in the castle results in him falling under the spell of the Count. Completely under his control, out of his mind, and living only to do his bidding, he helps his master make his way to London- only to end up in Dr. Seward's sanitarium, while Dracula takes up residence in the abbey. He soon walks among the city’s people, from whom he claims some as his prey. On a night out on the town, the Count meets Dr Seward, along with his daughter Mina and her friend Lucy- both of whom will be victimized by the mysterious gentleman.
Renfield's strange behavior prompts the sanitarium staff to call in Professor Van Helsing to consult on his case- and the shrewd and learned man realizes that a vampire plays a part in the proceedings- and soon discovers just who that vampire is, and who else is endangered by his presence! Fearing that Mina is next in line, he enlists her fiancé, Jonathan Harker, in the battle to defeat this undead menace!
Bela Lugosi truly owns this movie, ably supported by Dwight Frye’s incredible performance as the deranged Renfield, joined by David Manners, Helen Chandler- and a man who appears in Universal’s original core of horror films- Edward Van Sloan. We'll talk all about the cast and the production, and, of course, provide Sven shtick- and, once again, we will be showing the version of the film we ran before, featuring the musical soundtrack that first accompanied the film on its French dvd version. The score, composed with stock library music, offsets some of the usual “film hiss” the original movie soundtrack featured with its lack of background music. The last time we ran the movie with this added soundtrack, the response was mostly positive, which is why we are repeating it. Honestly , at times, the added sound effects seem a bit overbearing, but we think this version provides an interesting viewing experience- especially for those of us who have seen the film in its original state so many times.
"Dracula" rises from his coffin tonight on MeTV-8pm eastern/pacific, 7 central, and, if you’re unsure about channel and time in your area, check your local listings or at www.metv.com . (Please be aware that MeTV has changed to a different channel in a few locations). Don’t forget that many fans are live-Tweeting during the show on Twitter, using the hashtag #svengoolie ! Meanwhile, in Chicago, viewers get one more “ghost viewer” look at William Castle’s original “13 Ghosts” at 11 am on the U- at its new channel location ( what was previously the UToo)!
Today, I’ll be appearing at the Elk Grove Village Library Comic Con ( very fitting since I’ll be in the pages of DC Comics in just a few weeks with our “Svengoolie Meets the DC Universe” chapters)- you’ll find information under the “appearances” tab here on our site. And- coming up next weekend- I appear at the New York Comic Con to promote the DC Sven adventure on Friday- then wing my way back to appear at the Saturday “Haunting in Hammond”! More Halloween season appearances are on the way- including a special event at Chicago’s Museum of Broadcast Communications honoring my 40 years as Sven anniversary- more info to come soon! Also- the final limited edition Sven anniversary shirt should drop on October 1st!
A brief salute to the late actor Sid Haig- known to many for his roles in Rob Zombie’s horror films, but actually, with a huge resume in films and TV shows. My brother, who lives near L.A., says he would often run into Sid at their local grocery store-and that he was always friendly and happy to chat with fans. I regret never having met him. May he rest in peace.
Please join us tonight on MeTV for what many consider the definitive “Dracula”- with special musical accompaniment!