Tonight on MeTV- you’ve been asking for some movies from England’s Hammer Studios- and we are happy to bring you one of the cornerstones that established Hammer’s reputation as a noted producer of horror films! It’s their version of the origin story of the king of the vampires- portrayed for the first (and certainly not last) time by the great Christopher Lee- facing 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”!
The story opens much like Bram Stoker’s novel- with one Jonathan Harker arriving at the castle of Count Dracula- but, in this story, he’s arriving to take the job of –librarian! 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 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 what must be done. 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 jump to the arrival of 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 give 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 he immediately knows what the cause is! He prescribes the use of bouquets of garlic all around her sealed room- but 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 can increase the number of his brood- and add Mina as yet another bride!
This 1958 film does- and doesn’t- follow parts of the Stoker novel, and even goes against some of the traditional vampire lore- 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 new 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 .Chances are that live-tweeting will again land us in the top trending subjects! In Chicago, viewers can look for “4-D Man” on the U, scheduled currently for the 9 am time, whether there are sports or not.