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Tag Archives: Dracula

Sorry, Mr. Lee

Alas, I did not participate in Shop Small Saturday, so I cannot do a post plugging local businesses. I went running this morning, so I could have done Saturday Running Commentary.  And I am going to cook something for dinner, so I could yet do a cooking post.  But here I sit, wanting to get my post done and over with, and I’m just watching, in the most desultory fashion imaginable, a Hammer Horror film I DVR’d in October.

He looks so horrified by the cross. Do you suppose he went to Catholic school?

Who doesn’t love a Hammer Horror film with Christopher Lee as Count Dracula?  Well, Lee himself, as I learned in Ben Mankiewicz’s pre-movie commentary.  As it happens, I am not paying a great deal of attention to it myself, even less so than usual, which regular readers know is very little indeed.  I’m just not in the mood.  So obviously I cannot do a real write-up as I enjoy doing, necessitating a spoiler alert. I did a quick search of Facebook for public pictures, though, to punch up what I do post.

He looks as if he is rather relishing the role in this shot.

 

Dracula must look after his health, after all.

 

What a double bill!

I would not have thought of putting Trog with Taste the Blood of Dracula.  Steven and I watched Trog some years ago, back in the days of video stores.   It was Joan Crawford’s final picture, so we watched it to show respect.  There isn’t really much other reason to watch it, if I recall correctly.  Still, if it shows up on TCM I will DVR it.  Maybe I’ll let it play while I type a blog post.

 

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Inspired to Run

When I was at work, I realized I was looking forward to running later.  That felt good; usually I must psyche myself into it and hope to enjoy it once I’ve started. Full disclosure:  the run did not feel as good as the anticipation, but you’ll have that.  I confess, now I am more in the mood to write a silly post with monster movie pictures than a Running Commentary.  Then I thought, it’s Non-Sequitur Thursday.  Maybe I can combine the two.

A dramatic conclusion to a scary movie.

This is a scene from Horror Hotel, which I was reminded of on a recent run.  I was coming out of Brookfield Park and saw a t-bar in a neighboring back yard, possibly part of a clothesline or a holder for a bird feeder.  To me it looked like a cross, and if it was only crooked, it would look like the cross wielded by a character in the movie as he uses it to break up a satanic ritual.

After I downloaded that photo this evening, I wondered what other pictures I could find that had to do with running. Some people say they only run if something is chasing them, so I looked for one of the villagers chasing Frankenstein’s monster.  The only ones I saw showed the villagers moseying along, carrying torches.  That is actually a pace I might be able to outrun.  Unfortunately, my computer would not let me download any of those photos.  I am so unadept at these things!

“Now you have everything…”

OK, this lady does not run.  She foolishly backs away, screaming loudly, like a typical useless movie female of that era.  But I just couldn’t resist using a photo from House on Haunted Hill, the original William Castle production starring Vincent Price, OF COURSE.  It is one of our favorites.

He is bad, yes.

I close with a picture that could certainly inspire one to run and run fast.  I imagine I would.  This, of course, is the great Christopher Lee, a definitive Dracula to many.  I confess Bela Lugosi is the real Dracula to me, but there is room in my heart for many vampires.  I admire that Lee’s interpretation is so different from Lugosi’s.  There is probably a great scholarly article to be written comparing the two Counts, relating the characterizations to the respective decades in which the movies were made.  I’m not saying I intend to write it.  I write a silly blog.  Happy Thursday, everyone.

 

Short on Excuses, Long on Monsters: It’s Lame Post Friday!

If ever there was a day I needed Lame Post Friday, this is it.  Fortunately, it is in fact Friday, the day I have decreed that I am allowed to make a really lame post.  I know, what is my excuse the rest of the time?  Well, regular readers know, I have different excuses on different days.  However, my purpose today is not to muddle around with excuses but to make a short, reasonably entertaining post and get back to enjoying my Friday.

Sons of bitchin’ graboids! Pardon my french.

This may be worthy of Non-Sequitur Thursday, but we can’t always have these things exactly when we would like to.  I went into Downloads on our laptop, looking for something to pep up my post a little.  I could not see what this was a picture of, so I inserted it in the post, thinking I could always delete it if I didn’t like it.  But how could I delete a scene from Tremors, one of our favorite movies!  We never saw any of the sequels nor yet the television show.  I felt they might taint my memory of the beloved original.

When in doubt, there is always Nosferatu.

I recently found this picture of one of my all-time favorite guys.  I shared it on Facebook, just because, and now I share it with you, for a similar reason.

I would SO buy this book if I ever found it!

For the sake of using three pictures (it’s kind of a thing with me), I include a beautiful pulp fiction paperback cover.  Now that I am looking at it, I see it is a novelization of a movie.  Interesting.  I would still buy the book, even though I do not care for novelizations.  I have a minor collection of pulp fiction paperbacks which I purchased purely because I find the covers so delicious.

So this is my Friday Lame Post for the week. It entertained me to write it.  I hope at least some of my readers are likewise entertained.

 

Monsters on Monday

My brain does not feel up to any Middle-aged Musings nor yet Mental Meanderings, so I went to Facebook and looked around for some pictures to share.  Eventually I found my way to a page I like called Famous Monsters of Filmland.  Who doesn’t like monsters?  Oh, I know there are some that don’t, but I just imagine they were put off by today’s headline.  I amused myself my downloading a few classics.

“I bid you welcome.”

One of the most debonair of monsters is Bela Lugosi as Count Dracula.  I’m thinking Dracula reached his height point of sexiness with Frank Langella in the 1970’s, but I never saw that movie.  I’m just going by what I heard.

The new spokesmodel for Norelco?

We go from sexy to shaggy with the Wolfman.  I don’t know what movie or actor this is (I suppose real bloggers research these things and here we come to the ugly truth about me), but I liked him.

Ranking high in the annals of bad first dates…

I can’t help by notice there is a dearth of good female monsters.  The Bride of Frankenstein, despite being the title character, had an embarrassingly small part in a sequel.  I find that a little sad, especially given that she was portrayed by the wonderful Elsa Lanchester.

Oh, Julie, your date is here!

And here is the Creature of the Black Lagoon.  I think his body is scarier than his face, but that is one scary body.  Official Julie Adams (who played the object of the Creature’s desire) is another page I like on Facebook.  She seems to be a very gracious, classy lady.

The scariest one!

I think I have used this photo before, but I wanted to close with Nosferatu, which gets my vote for the scariest movie ever.  And I see I am approaching 300 words.  I don’t think that is bad for a brain-dead Monday.  I hope to see you all on Tired Tuesday.

 

Halloween Pictures on Tired Tuesday

My hair is actually a little shorter than this.

This is my new profile picture on Facebook.  I open today’s Tired Tuesday post with it, because, what a surprise:  I got nuthin’ else.  Of course I like having the Bride of Frankenstein as my profile pic, I’ve had it before, but I really liked this one for the saying.  I like to embrace my own imperfections.  They are what make me, me.

I don’t suppose it is October yet.

This picture has nothing to do with the preceding paragraph, but it is Halloween-ish and I have not used it before.  Also, it is Bela Lugosi.  There could be no possible objection.

My hair is more grey than this kid’s.

This must be a picture Steven downloaded at some point.  He finds the coolest stuff.  This is an appropriate picture to include here, because as soon as I hit “Publish,” I am going upstairs to read in bed before going to sleep.  I am actually not reading a ghost story.  I am quite absorbed in a biography of John Barrymore.  I am a huge fan of his brother, Lionel, and I also admire their sister, Ethel.   However, John was pretty cool too.  The next time I run in place on the mini-tramp, I may watch the silent movie, “Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde,” starring John.

At last I am over 200 words.  I’ll call that respectable for a Tired Tuesday.  I hope to see you all on Wuss-out Wednesday.

 

A Mod Vampire?

Here, at long last, is the post I began some time ago about the cheesy horror movie I saw.  Full disclosure:  some people do not consider Hammer Studios films to be cheesy, but I have made bold to so categorize it for the purposes of this blog post.

Spoiler Alert!  I am probably going to give away most of the salient plot points of Dracula A.D. 1972, so if you have not seen it and like to be surprised at developments, read no further.  Also, if you have seen the movie and liked it, you also might like to read no further, because I not only did not like it, I did not pay a great deal of attention to it, so my write-up is likely to annoy you.

I DVR’d Dracula A.D. 1972 from TCM some time ago and finally got around to watching it on my recent birthday.  I had hopes of getting a blog post out of it, but, well, we’ll see.

I could tell by the title that the movie takes place in what were then modern times (I guess during the ’70s it would have been Mod Times, but that’s neither here nor there), not the pseudo past we often see in horror movies, which usually means the ladies wear long dresses and everybody gets around in horse and carriage.  I like the pseudo past better for a cheesy horror movie.  Perhaps I’ll try to analyze why one of these Lame Post Fridays.

One might ask, “Well, why did you DVR it if you thought you weren’t going to like it?”  That is the flip side of the yahoos that say, “How do you know you won’t like it when you haven’t seen it?” as if I have infinite time to watch every movie ever made! I gave this movie a chance because (1) Hammer Studios, (2) Peter Cushing AND Christopher Lee, (3) they just don’t show that many horror movies I think I am going to like.

I did not completely dislike this one.  I may even watch it again to clear up my confusion on the parts I missed.  In the meantime, I’ll write about what I remember.

The movie opens, as many of these movies do, with a kind of a prologue, showing something that happened long before the events of the movie proper take place.  We see Peter Cushing (Van Helsing) finish off Christopher Lee (Dracula), who almost immediately crumbles into dust or, I guess, ashes. Then we see a henchman-looking guy making off with a vial full of ashes.

I talked about this when I wrote about Dracula Prince of Darkness.  There is no way that guy got all the ashes!  When he reconstitutes that vampire, it is going to be missing something.  In Prince of Darkness it was the power of speech (oh yeah, there was a story that Lee refused to say any of the lines because the dialogue was so badly written.  I like my explanation better).  And so I repeat myself.

Back in “modern” times, the horror action grinds to a complete halt with a wild party scene that goes on and on.  Its purpose, I suppose, it to introduce the group of young people who will fall afoul of Dracula.  A worthy purpose, a very dull scene.  I learned that the kids are wild and their leader is a thoroughgoing jerkface.  If there were any subtleties or further character traits, I missed them.

After fleeing the police (long story), the kids repair to the pub in search of further thrills.  Jerkface proposes a Black Mass.  The kids are down with this, but Satan will have to bring “his own booze, his own bird, and his own pot” (I may have that quote wrong.  Oh well).

As the Main Girl rides home with her Boyfriend, we learn that her grandfather is Van Helsing, presumably offspring or descendant of the guy in the first scene (following the movie tradition that descendants look EXACTLY like their forbears) (really I don’t mind this tradition; it is kind of like movie shorthand) (and makes casting easier).  Boyfriend wants to consult the grandfather about Black Masses and calling up Satan and stuff, but Main Girl demurs.

We meet Peter Cushing briefly in the next scene, but it mainly shows that he has a good relationship with his granddaughter and she is not as wild as the crowd she runs with.  There is no hint of any other family members, another handy arrangement common in fictional settings (oh, I’m sure it happens in real life as well.  Just because I’ve never seen it).

Jerkface goes home and grabs the vial of ashes we saw in the prologue. I never saw any explanation of how he came by the ashes.  A descendant of Henchman?  The same guy, immortal but not as powerful as Dracula?  These are the things I hope to pay more attention to if I ever watch this flick again.

So Dracula gets re-constituted at the Black Mass about 45 minutes into the movie. I made a note of it in the TV Journal but neglected to note when the prologue ended, so I don’t know how long we had to wait for him to return.  I was happy to see him, because I was tired of this gang of miscreants and was ready to see them get picked off as vampire food.

Now here is a question I must look up sometime in Vampires for Dummies:  When does a vampire victim become another vampire and when are they merely a bloodless corpse?  Is it up to the vampire that bites them?  I just mention it in passing.  I have no real problem with bloodless corpses in a movie of this kind.  For one reason, I don’t like to keep track of too many characters.

Speaking of keeping track of characters, have any of you been wondering whatever happened to Peter Cushing?  I was, but no, he doesn’t come back yet.  First we have the rather lengthy Black Mass where Jerkface adds blood and stirs well.  He’s all excited to see Christopher Lee and wants congratulations on a job well done.

“It was my will,” Christopher Lee intones.

I was like, “YOUR will?  How could you will any anything?  Hello, you were ashes!  Get over yourself!”

Well, I heard Christopher Lee had an ego and I’m sure Count Dracula did, too.  I guess that immortal, blood-sucking thing could go to anybody’s head.  And the fact that you CAN be re-constituted from ashes, whether or not you willed it from that state (or were completely there when re-constituted), is a pretty unusual talent.  So I guess I should cut a newly un-dead vampire a break.

Anyways, I had really lost track of the plot by this time, but the police get involved when the first bloodless corpse is discovered.  then Peter Cushing gets involved, because, you know, vampires and his granddaughter being friends with the corpse (before she was a corpse).  The police do not tiresomely dismiss Van Helseing (Cushing) as a crackpot, that hoary cliche, but they don’t jump on board with crucifixes and wooden stakes, either.

It’s really not a bad movie.  I might try to see it again if I get a chance.  I don’t promise to pay more attention, but if I do perhaps I could write a better blog post about it.  In the meantime, I hope at least some of you are pleased that I did not publish yet another post about Why I Can’t Write a Post.

 

Actors Have Bills to Pay, Too

Spoiler Alert! I intend to pretty much recount the plot of the following movie. I will not give away the ending, however, because by that point I had almost entirely ceased paying attention.

I had DVR’d Dracula Rises from the Grave (1968) when I DRV’d the other Christopher Lee Dracula movie whose name escapes me. Saturday I watched it while Steven was at work. I would have waited and watched it with him, but Steven is pretty much All Christmas All The Time these days (with the occasional DVR’d Castle episode or true crime show thrown in).

In pre-movie commentary, Ben Mankiewicz says that Lee did not want to play the role a third time, but the studio talked him into it, probably with a fat check. It must have been, because they sure didn’t tempt him with a great script that offered acting challenges and Oscar talk. Well, I’m not judging. Actors have bills to pay, too.

The movie opens with a cheerful young man whistling as he rides his bike to the church, where he works. When he goes to ring the bell, blood is running down the rope. Eek! I like a movie that doesn’t waste any time. In a creepy shot, we see a slaughtered young lady hanging upside down inside the bell (cue jokes about her face ringing a bell).

The young man spends the rest of the movie saying, “Ah-uh-ah!” instead of actual lines, apparently shocked into imbecility, because he seemed pretty normal before. These movies love to have a character that can only say, “Ah-uh-ah!” I’m sure it makes it easier to write dialogue.

As the movie progresses, the lady in the bell takes on a real “Waaait a minute” quality, because Dracula actually has not yet risen from the grave at this point. It’s never explained. I guess it’s just a set piece to start us off creepy and get the kid out of having to learn any lines.

There’s this fairly wimpy parish priest with the oddest pattern of baldness I’ve ever seen, a narrow strip down the middle of his head. All he wants to do after the bell lady incident is sit in the pub and drink. This is where the Monsignor finds him. The Monsignor is told that nobody will go to church because they fear the evil Dracula. Yes, we thought he was dead, but the shadow of his castle falls on the church, obviously a bad sign.

The Monsignor decides that he and Wimpy Priest will go to the castle to prove the evil has been destroyed. Stand by for the next “Waaaait a minute” development. The two holy men leave before dawn, carrying a really big crucifix for good measure. Finally Wimpy Priest can go no further, they must turn back, soon it will be dark.

Excuse me, what? How far away is this castle? And how big is it if from that distance it can still cast a shadow that touches the church. Perhaps it is on a mountain that goes straight up, but still.

Now, anybody who saw the previous Christopher Lee Dracula movie (whose title escapes me) knows the titular vampire went to a cold, watery end (I can’t say “grave” because that’s where he sleeps when he is undead). So right away Dracula is better off in this movie, because you may recall that he began the other movie as a box of ashes. At least now he is already reconstituted. And apparently the cold water helped him regenerate his vocal chords, because he has lines this time. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Monsignor begins some exorcism rite at the door of the castle, leaving Wimpy Priest to wait for him partway down the mountain. There is a lot of thunder and lightning. I’m not entirely clear on this, but I think what happens is that Wimpy Priest falls, hits his head and bleeds on frozen Dracula.

You may recall that blood revived Dracula when he was ashes, and so it is now that he is frozen. And it doesn’t take a whole person’s worth of blood to do it this time, so bonus for Wimpy Priest: he gets to be in the rest of the movie.

Monsignor, meantime, has completed his exorcism (or whatever it was) and sealed the door to the castle with the big crucifix. I had thought that in cases like this you burned the castle (or house or mansion, as the case may be) and scattered the ashes. Apparently not always.

Boy, is Dracula ticked off when he arrives home to find the locks have been changed.

And we’re off on a vampire revenge caper. We meet a beautiful blonde, a tawdry redhead and a stalwart hero, among others. “Ah-uh-ah” boy makes another appearance, and Wimpy Priest gets to be Dracula’s henchman.

I have to admit, I pretty much stopped paying attention after a while. I only let the recording play out so I could write this blog post. And I see I am over 800 words, so I guess it’s a good idea to stop my plot summary now anyways. It actually isn’t too bad of a movie. I may DVR the other Christopher Lee Dracula movies if they turn up on TCM. I’ll let you know.

(NOTE: The movie title that escaped me earlier was Dracula: Prince of Darkness (1966); I wrote a blog post about it.)