Tonight on MeTV- since it is “back to school” time, we decided it is also “back to Drac” time as well! We are happy to again present one of the cornerstones of Universal horror-the movie that placed Bela Lugosi into most people’s minds as the embodiment of Bram Stoker’s vampire count! It’s one of the most atmospheric and captivating legends of all time- as Lugosi leaves his Transylvanian home to bring terror to London in 1931’s original version of "Dracula”!
It starts out almost whimsically, with real estate solicitor Renfield in a crowded carriage 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 all business- he is on his way to the castle of a certain Count Dracula to get him to sign the lease for Carfax Abbey in London. When the carriage stops at an inn, and Renfield insists he must continue to Castle Dracula, locals get nervous just hearing where he is headed, and try to talk him out of it. Ignoring their warnings, he continues on to meet with the Count- totally unaware of what the future holds!
Renfield meets Dracula, and his overnight stay in the castle results in him falling under the spell of the Count. Completely under his control, driven 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 nearby abbey. The count soon walks among the city’s people, from whom he claims some prey. The Count meets Dr Seward, on a night out on the town, along with his daughter Mina and her friend Lucy- both of whom are fascinated by the mysterious gentleman.
Meanwhile, Renfield's strange behavior prompts the sanitarium staff to call in Professor Van Helsing to consult on his case- a shrewd and learned man who realizes that it is a vampire that plays a part in the proceedings. He soon discovers just who that vampire is, and just who 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 shows such amazing presence in this movie, followed closely by Dwight Frye’s incredible performance as the deranged Renfield. Also in the cast- David Manners, Helen Chandler- and a man who appears in several of Universal’s original core of horror films- Edward Van Sloan. We'll talk about the cast and the production, and, of course, provide Sven shtick- and, once again this time, since we have gotten a great reaction to it, we will be showing the version of the film 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” on the original movie soundtrack, which often seems amplified by the original’s lack of background music. Honestly, at times, some added sound effects seem a bit overbearing, but overall,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.
A side note- our good friend David Dastmalchian, who played Polka Dot Man in the “Suicide Squad” movie, and will also be in the upcoming version of “Dune”, is actually in Europe working on a film about the treacherous ship journey that brought Dracula to London!
The classic "Dracula" rises from his coffin tonight on MeTV-8 pm 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 . Don’t forget that many fans are live-Tweeting during the show on Twitter, using the hashtag #svengoolie – and again, thanks for putting us among the top ten trending topics during last week’s show! Meanwhile, in Chicago, viewers get one more look at “Abbott and Costello Meet Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde”- featuring Boris Karloff- ( whom you will be seeing more of next month- hint-hint!) at 11 am on our main local station, CW26.
It appears that the Sven zip-up hoodie is a huge hit- so much so, that all but the smallest sizes have sold out! Our store is in the process of restocking- please be patient, and keep an eye out here and in the store ( yes, I have a store!) – we will let you know when they are available again!
Please join us tonight on MeTV for“Dracula”- with special musical accompaniment! Those children of the night- they actually DO make some real music in this version!