Tonight on MeTV- we follow up last week’s presentation of Hammer Studios’ version of the Frankenstein origin -with their take on the beginnings of the king of the vampires- portrayed for the first (and certainly not last) time by the great Christopher Lee! It’s his first face off against his archenemy Van Helsing (played by the other half of Hammer’s dynamic duo- Peter Cushing!) in the full-color tale of the “Horror of Dracula”!
This version of the story opens much like Bram Stoker’s novel- with one Jonathan Harker (not Renfield) arriving at the castle of Count Dracula-except, in this story, he’s arriving not to provide him with a real estate contract- but to take the job of – librarian! Upon arrival, he encounters a young woman who claims to be held prisoner there- but she disappears before the Count comes to greet his new employee. When shown his private room, once Harker is alone, he reveals his real purpose in coming to the castle-but he then is again asked for help by the frantic woman- who is not just the damsel in distress that she seems! The Count reveals his true nature, with bared fangs- and, after collapsing, Harker awakens in daylight- and realizes he must put an end to the Count immediately. Unfortunately, upon heading down to the castle’s basement crypt- he discovers Dracula’s coffin is empty- and the Count is right behind him!
We go forward in time, to the arrival of the legendary Dr. Van Helsing in the area, in search of Harker. With the help of the locals, he learns Harker’s fate- and returns home to relate the sad information to Harker’s fiancée and her brother and sister-in-law. Unknown to them- Dracula, having spotted fiancée Lucy’s photo among Harker’s belongings, is already in the area- and making nocturnal visits to the young woman!
When Lucy’s health deteriorates, sister-in-law Mina asks Van Helsing to examine her- and, from experience, he immediately knows what the cause is! Though he prescribes the use of bouquets of garlic all around her sealed room, Lucy thwarts this preventative- and is found dead! Before long, it becomes apparent that Lucy is now among the UNdead- and Van Helsing must stop her- as well as the vampire count-before Dracula add new members to his brood- and take Mina as yet another of his brides!
This 1958 film does- and doesn’t- follow parts of the Stoker novel, and even goes against some of the traditional vampire lore (which we will point out)- but it’s a terrific film that brought Christopher Lee undying fame as the undying Count. We’ll discuss the cast and the production, and present some aid for those requiring dental help- as well as a song.
“Horror of Dracula” begins tonight at 8 pm eastern/pacific, 7 central- and, as always, MeTV invites you to live-Tweet during the show on Twitter- using the hashtag # svengoolie . There is a good chance that live-tweeting will again land us in the top trending subjects! In Chicago, viewers can get a second helping of our other Hammer origin film “Curse of Frankenstein” on CW26 at 11 am.
Thank you to everyone who helped make Svengoolie Day in Berwyn such a great event this past week! I am very honored by the kindness of the Mayor and people of Berwyn, and everyone who came to join in. I now have my own key to the city- so I will never be locked out!
Make sure you check out our store here on our website- with an ever-widening array of Sven items for you to choose from! And- yes, I know I say this a lot, but it’s true- there will be more to come!
Come sink your teeth into another piece of Hammer horror history tonight-and witness Christopher Lee in one of his most enduring roles! ( Hey- no matter how many times Van Helsing stopped him- he always rose again!)