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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”.

Oct 012012

In the year 2020, scientist Dr. Reed Crawley and his students use high tech weaponry to fight against classic monsters that threaten mankind. The students include Tripp Hansen the martial artist, Lance McGruder the weapons specialist, Shelley Frank the psychic, and Luke Talbot the werewolf. Together they are called the Monster Force (1994-1995).

The Monster Force travels all over the world to investigate strange happenings, but unlike most monster hunters, they don’t intend to destroy the various creatures. They keep them in containment to examine and study. However, there are occasions when other people are against the Monster Force’s tactics because they refuse to kill the monsters, but that doesn’t stop them from doing the right thing.

When the Monster Force is ready for action, they activate special armor called E.M.A.C.S., which stands for Energized Monster Containment Suit. It increases their normal abilities and shields them from serious harm. Luke doesn’t use an E.M.A.C. Suit, but can control his wolf power to fight against the monsters… most of the time.

The main monsters the Monster Force go up against are Count Dracula (who prefers to be called Dracule), Ho-Tep the mummy sorcerer, and the Creature from the Black Lagoon. Dracule’s assistant Renfield is always by his side and has more of a resemblance to Igor, but there is no Igor on this series.

Another major enemy is Bela the werewolf. A long time ago, Bela attacked Luke’s grandfather Lawrence Talbot and he became the Wolf Man. Luke inherited the curse and hopes to end it by slaying Bela, who is more difficult to kill than any other werewolf. One thing is for sure, this personal grudge does not keep Luke from doing what’s right as part of the Monster Force team.

The Frankenstein Monster is also featured, but as an ally to the Monster Force. He is very close with Shelley, but his love is not for her. It’s for the Bride of Frankenstein, who only wants to be left alone by everyone.

This was a good series. Oddly, I still remember it best for its original time slot, which was Saturday mornings at 6:00 AM, and this was back before DVRs were invented. Now I see Monster Force as a close relation to Van Helsing. All the better the reason to look for vampire women on this show.