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Oct 292014

This Halloween I thought I would cover the most famous vampire in pop culture, Count Dracula. There’s no doubt that this vampire is so iconic because there have been so many versions. Whether it’s about his own story, or if he’s part of a group of other monsters, the role of Count Dracula has been played by more actors than any other vampire. Here are the versions I remember best in chronological order, even though most of them are highly obscure.

Dracula (1932): Frankly, who doesn’t remember the original movie with Bela Lagosi as the Count. This may be a classic horror feature, but it’s not one I was hugely into compared to the following films and TV appearances, even though he was the inspiration behind the Count from Sesame Street.

Mad Monster Party (1967): Normally when the classic movie monsters are together, Dracula is the one in charge because he’s the toughest in the bunch. Although he’s quick on the attack, Dracula tends to fumble especially since Frankenstein’s monster is stronger than he is.

Electric Company (1970s): Believe it or not, one of Morgan Freeman’s reoccurring characters was Dracula. He has a mysterious presence that can scare people, but isn’t dangerous. It seems that this Dracula’s favorite pastimes include drinking vanilla malts and taking a bath in a casket.

Ghostbusters (1975): This version of Count Dracula, played by Billy Holms, is very goofy and as a bat he tends to bump into walls. What really stands out are his fangs since they look so fake. Luckily his wife Countess Dracula is with him to keep him in line.

Ghostbusters (1986): Although this version of Count Dracula looks a lot like the Dracula from Groovy Ghoulies, he’s actually a lot tougher than many of the evil spirits the Ghostbusters ever faced. His ambition is to take over Transylvania by taking human slaves with his hypnotic power instead of a bite. He also hates mirrors as well as garlic. A little strange, don’t you think?

Castlevania Games (1987-1991): Dracula has appeared on video games before, but the best known is in the Castlevania franchise as the main villain. Instead of the Van Helsings fighting Dracula, it’s the Belmont family. It goes to show that the Count always returns no matter how many times he’s been defeated.

Captain N: The Game Master (1989): The animated version that’s based on the video games is a warlord trying to take over the world of Castlevania. Though I must admit that the Count has a creepier look.

Monster Force (1994): As the main villain in this series, Dracula prefers to be called Dracule. Even though he has a charming persona, don’t be fooled. Dracule is very powerful with his metamorphosis, hypnotic spells, and other magical abilities, which gives the Prince of Darkness an edge over humans and monsters alike.

Leslie Neilson as Count Dracula

Dracula: Dead and Loving it (1995): I remember when I first heard about this comedy classic. After discovering that Leslie Nielsen was going to star as Dracula, I knew from the start that it was going to be a good one. This Dracula is clumsy and his shadow has a mind of its own, but don’t take him too lightly. He’s powerful in the ways of mind control, sometimes even more than he realizes.

Buffy the Vampire Slayer (2000): Dracula’s only appearance on this show was in the season five episode Buffy vs. Dracula, where Rudolf Martin played the role, but he did leave his mark during his time in Sunnydale. He seduced Buffy, made Xander his Renfield, even Spike remembers Dracula as an old rival before he got famous. This certainly covers a lot of ground on how Dracula stands out from other vampires and it’s hilarious when Buffy slays him… twice.

Van Helsing (2004): Richard Roxborough plays the role in this movie. As the main villain once again, he introduces a new skill that vampires have and that’s the ability to walk up walls and on the ceiling like it was nothing. Though Dracula is both strong and deadly, it’s really his three wives that stand out as big favorites to me.

Hotel Transylvania (2012): Adam Sandler voiced the most recent animated version of Count Dracula. Unlike other Draculas, this one is actually one of the good guys. After losing his wife to a group of angry villagers, Dracula created a hotel resort as a safe haven for monsters. However, he also became an overprotective father and control freak. Dracula is also funny, especially when he tries to tell humans that he never did say, “Bleh, bleh, bleh”.

Apr 132012

From the creators of the classic Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer Christmas special is a stop motion animated film called Mad Monster Party. Every classic movie monster is featured in this adventurous comedy from the 60s.

Dr. Boris Von Frankenstein (voice of Boris Karloff) holds a monster convention at his private island, the Isle of Evil, to announce his retirement as a mad scientist. No, it’s not a convention like Spooky Empire, but there are famous monster guests of many sorts.

The Bride of Frankenstein, known in this movie as the Monster’s Mate, is voiced by Phyllis Diller. I recognize her brand of humor from when I saw her on The Muppet Show.

Another interesting character is Yetch. He’s a zombie that tends to fall apart, literally, and has a voice like Igor. It’s especially noticeable when Yetch shows his obsession for Dr. Frankenstein’s secretary Francesca (voice of Gale Garnett). As pretty as she is, who wouldn’t be obsessed?

I recognize Gale Garnett as a singer on this movie because I used to have one of her old records, which had some great folk songs on it.

Dr. Frankenstein confides in Francesca that his successor is his nephew Felix Flanken. Francesca becomes jealous and tells Count Dracula. The two of them plot to get rid of Felix and keep Dr. Frankenstein’s secret formulas for themselves. Luckily, Felix isn’t intimidated because he’s mostly in the dark about the monsters and his uncle’s business.

After a wild dinner party, the monsters have an unusual restless night. The Creature from the Black Lagoon sprays water as he sleeps. The Wolfman howls in his sleep because of the full moon. The Mummy snores when he’s not sleeping in his tomb. Even the Monster’s Mate snores, which causes Fang (Frankenstein’s monster) to sit in his electric chair just to get some peace and quiet. I guess Dr. Frankenstein had yet to invent a formula for monster sized snoring.

Once Felix realizes what he’s a successor of, he has serious doubts about accepting the offer. Meanwhile, the other monsters double-cross Francesca and she ends up in the mote, which is filled with crocodiles. Felix rescues her, then suddenly Francesca falls in love with him. It’s amazing how she had that sudden change of heart.

It soon becomes more exciting as Felix and Francesca try to escape the island with all of the monsters in pursuit, which even includes a giant ape. Is that what they call “It”?

This was a very interesting movie. I admit, it’s not exactly Van Helsing, but has a creative way of featuring all of those old movie monsters together. I even read in the booklet, which comes with the DVD, that this film inspired The Nightmare Before Christmas. Personally, I think it’s more along the lines of Coraline.