Time for You to Awaken, Master. Time for You to Go Out: The Return of the Vampire (1943)

“Time for you to awaken, Master. Time for you to go out.”

So last year I was lamenting that I couldn’t think of any films I wanted to open Horrofest with from the 1950s as that was the year I was going to start with. I mentioned some films I really wanted to do, but both came out in the 1940s.

So as this year it is time to start off with a 1940s film, I was like why not do one of the ones I mentioned in last year’s post? I already reviewed Rebecca last year, so I chose The Return of the Vampire. 

I loooove this movie!

I saw it year ago on TCM and it has stayed with me my whole life. You know a movie is good when it hooks you years ago and you stay hooked.

The film was just so engaging and has beautiful cinematography. Plus it also has Bela Lugosi! You cannot go wrong with him in anything, let alone in a Vampire flick. I just love him.

So this film was actually supposed to be a Dracula sequel, but Universal threatened to sue Columbia Studios so they changed it to The Return of the Vampire and instead of Count Dracula, we have Armand Tesla.

We start this film during WWI with a vampire Armand Tesla (Bela Lugosi) stalking the streets of London and using the war as a cover-who cares about people suffering from anemia and a few deaths when there is a war on?!

But someone does, Lady Jane Ainsley (Frieda Inescort) and her colleague Professor Walter Saunders (Gilbert Emery) run a clinic and are baffled by the anemia.

Hmm…

Tesla is furious and uses his slave, a werewolf formally known as Andreas Obry, and the two break into the clinic. When he can’t finish his off his former victim he decides to make Saunders pay and goes after his granddaughter.

Professor Saunders, meanwhile, has concluded that the victim was attacked by a vampire. The victim dies and when Saunders goes home he sees a man feasting on his granddaughter. The vampire flees and Saunders saves his granddaughter Nikki (Nina Foch) by giving her a blood transfusion. While her life is saved for now, she will always be in danger. The vampire will continue to search for her to finish the job, and he will also be able to control her.

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane search for the Vampire in order to stake it and kill it.

They search out the local cemetery in order to search out the Vampire. They are both attacked by a werewolf who is being controlled by the Vampire-but once they stake the vampire the werewolf returns to his normal form of Andreas Obry.

Wow!

Professor Saunders and Lady Jane know that the only way to keep a vampire dead is make sure the stake isn’t removed from the heart-remove the stake revive the vampire. They bury the coffin and make sure it is well hidden.

Time moves forward and the year is now 1942. Nikki has fully recovered from her experience, having no knowledge of the attack and is engaged to Lady Jane’s son John (Roland Varno). Andreas Obry has recovered from his experience and has become an assistant to Lady Jane.

You know thinking about this movie in 2020 it is really cool that the Vampire hunter/Doctor is a woman. I mean you wouldn’t expect it in the 1940s, and you certainly don’t see it in modern vampire stories (except Buffy the Vampire Slayer), but she basically is Van Helsing. Not the Hugh Jackman version, but the original one from the 1930s.

Of course what comes to mind is Jane the Vampire Hunter:

So Professor Saunders has passed way and Lady Jane decides to share about the vampire with Scotland Yard detective Sir Fredrick Fleet (Miles Mander) . He doesn’t take her seriously, but he does take the murder of a man seriously. He wanted to arrest Lady Jane, but she convinces him to check the body. If it is a regular man, he will be decomposed. If a vampire-his body will not have aged a day.

Stay the same age forever…

Lady Jane is going to show Sir Fleet but then a bombing raid occurs. One of the bombs hits the cemetery and a lot of bodies are dug up and two gravediggers are set to put all to right. When they come across Tesla’s body they find the stake in the heart and feel bad for the man. They pull it out and the Vampire returns!

The first thing Tesla does is contact his slave telepathically as he will need his help in moving the coffin and such. He calls to his former slave and werewolf Andreas.

Armand Tesla: [Offscreen, as Andreas walks in the woods] Andreas! [Andreas can’t locate the sourceAndreas!

Andreas Obry: [Suddenly seeing Tesla] You! You have no power over me! That was ended many years ago! I’m no longer your slave! Dr. Ainsley has cleansed me of all the evil you forced upon me! You can’t bring it back! You can’t! I won’t let you! I won’t!

Armand Tesla: You’re a fool, Andreas! A complete, utter fool! Your fate is to be what you are – as mine is to be what I am… your Master! [In a commanding toneCome here!

Andreas Obry: I won’t! [He moans]

Armand Tesla: [Commandingly] Look at me, Andreas! [There is a closeup of Tesla’s eyesLook at me!

Andreas Obry: [after Andreas undergoes a metamorphosis into a werewolf] Andreas, come here! [Subserviently] Master, you have returned.

This is a fantastic scene, as you see Andreas really trying! He really, really wants to believe it is true that has overcome this. Looking at this as an adult it resonates so well as you have met people trying to overcome things, thinking they have, but then something happens and they are right back at the bottom again-addiction, toxic relationships, etc. It is extremely well done and poor, poor Andreas.

Now that Andreas is controlled by Tesla he sets him out for his first mission protect the coffin and find him a new identity. Andreas comes across a scientist recently escaped from a concentration camp, Hugo Bruckner. Dr. Hugo Bruckner was freed by help of the Resistance, something Lady Jane is a part of, and will be working with her. Man this vampire is extremely evil to murder a concentration camp survivor.

Tesla takes on the identity and slips into the Ainsleys’ and Nikki’s life. Some of you might wonder why Lady Jane doesn’t recognize him, but she only fought him that one time over twenty years ago, and at night in a foggy cemetery.

Lady Jane is throwing Nikki and her son an engagement party. Sir Fleet shows up and Lady Jane takes the Professor Saunder’s manuscript and locks it up, not wanting Nikki to ever find out about what happened. Tesla/Bruckner shows up, is introduced, and given free reign of Lady Jane’s office and laboratory. He uses this time to steal Saunders’ manuscript, the one Sir Fleet read. All are charmed by him except Sir Fleet, as he feels something is not quite right.

The next night the manuscript is somehow left in Nikki’s room and she reads it and finds out the truth. The Tesla calls to her…and the next day she has been drained of blood! Oh no!

Then they… then my mom made me stop watching it.

I know I was soooooo invested. What happens next? Will Nikki be alright? How will they defeat Tesla? I don’t recall exactly how old I was but this was well before google and we didn’t have TiVo or any blank tapes I could use to record, although my mother wouldn’t have let me as we were leaving the house and they weren’t going to leave the TV on with no one home. So I had to scan the newspaper and TV guide until it was on TV again.

So after she was drained of blood they transfused her. She survives but as we saw in The Horror of Dracula last year, that can only last so long. They need to find this vampire and kill it!

Stake through the heart.

Lady Jane starts to investigate and questions the grave robbers when the body cannot be found. She and Fleet also search Bruckner’s room and discovers the mirrors are all set down and a ring that she recalls from Tesla.

Fleet had had Andreas followed ad he was seen trying to change into a werewolf and found with Bruckner’s effects, his real effects.

Meanwhile, Nikki and John are attacked and Nikki starts to believe she has been transformed into a vampire. She pleads with John to stay away as she doesn’t want to hurt him. But you know these men in this old classic horror films-it doesn’t matter they are staying in this relationship and with the girl. How guys aren’t like that now? Most guys I know would be out in no time at all.

In reality, Tesla has been feeding. Tesla attacks Lady Jane, but she carries a cross and uses it to deflect him.

Wow!

So there are two amazing things I noticed about this scene. First can we just stop and appreciate that Lady Jane has a giant organ. Man, you are a girl after my own heart. I can’t play the organ but if I had money I would want a giant one and learn how to play it. Then I could be my own version of The Phantom of the Opera. 

Second-I love how in this scene she seems so meek and mild-and then bam-she’s got the cross and she flings it out at him. Lady Jane is awesome!

That’s awesome

Later that night Tesla calls Nikki to him again and she and Andreas answer the call. Meanwhile, Lady Jane ad Sir Fleet have decided to follow them. They come upon them in the cemetery but a raid interrupts their pursuit, although Fleet shoots Andreas, mortally wounding him. Andreas begs his master to save him, but Tesla coldly refuses.

Andreas Obry: Heal me, Master. I am hurt!

Armand Tesla: What is that to me?

This was so exciting when I watched it. First of all I really wanted to know what happened after waiting so long. Secondly this scene has the vampire, the damsel, bombs, a gun-you just didn’t know what would happen next!

Tesla leaving Andreas to die is the wake to reality he needs. He grabs a nearby cross and thrusts it at Tesla, coming between him and his victim-Nikki. A bomb hits and the sun comes up, melting Tesla to nothing.

Wow!

This is one of the first films to show a vampire disintegrating like this. It was actually censored in England for being too graphic. Oh, 1940s-if you saw the stuff we have today, although I have to say it was pretty yuck.

Of course Nikki and John get their happy ending, and Lady Jane stays awesome.

It was fantastic! I just loved it and you know who else would have if she existed-Catherine Morland.

You know it.

Please note that this is being said sarcastically.

So that’s our start with Horrorfest IX what else will it bring? Who knows! I start every year off with a plan but you know how that goes-anything can happen! Stay Spooky people!

For more Vampire films, go to Count Dracula the Propagator of This Unspeakable Evil Has Disappeared. He Must Be Found and Destroyed!: Horror of Dracula (1958)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more WWII, go to Catherine Morland’s Reading List: The Distant Hours

Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.

A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.

Why did it end?

Why did it end?

This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.

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My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.

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Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like

No thank youhowaboutno

She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…

Uhhhhhhh

Uhhhhhhh

But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.

Where

Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.

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I HATED IT!

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I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)

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Synopsis:

The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.

But something terrible lurks inside.

But something terrible lurks inside.

When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.

The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: "Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!" Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done!
[giggles sinisterly]

He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.

Dracula

Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing. [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula] Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country. Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy. Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived. Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life. Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night. Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart. Count Dracula: Come here. [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing] Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing. [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him] Count Dracula: More wolfbane? Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count. Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.

And run fast

Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.

Dracula

Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.

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I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.

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So What Was Good?

There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.

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Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.

Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.

Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.

The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.

I like it!

I like it!

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So What Was Bad?

Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.

1) Too Many Stars

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Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.

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2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.

Dracula

Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on, DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.

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3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!

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4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire

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In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.

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5) Dracula is Judas

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Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.

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Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.

I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.

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So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.

And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response:

You as in the film

You as in the film

So there you go, not just me.

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

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For more Dracula, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more on Judas Iscariot, go to The Arrest

For more modern remakes, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For more sucky remakes, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For more Gerald Butler, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes

We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

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And another thing Mr. Chick Young! The next time I tell you that I saw something when I saw it, you believe me that I saw it!

I had never seen this movie before and decided to rent it after looking over my Wolf Man (1941) review. I thought it was hilarious!

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I highly recommend it to anyone.

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So this film was done during a time of a series of monster films, along with Abbott and Costello films. I’m not sure who came up with the “meeting” idea, but it was a fantastic one.

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It’s funny, the other day I was watching the Nostalgia Critic‘s review of Freddy Vs. Jason, and he cited that that film created the Versus series we see today. I would have to disagree with him and say this is probably the first “versus” film, with Dracula versus the Wolf Man. It was a great comedy, horror film, parody, a multi-genre crossover.

AMAZING!

AMAZING!

I’m actually not going to do a big review as it is really something you have to watch. The script is hilarious:

Chick Young: People pay McDougal cash to come in here and get scared.

Wilbur Grey: I’m cheatin’ him. I’m gettin’ scared for nothin’.

The sight gags are perfect:

And you have both Bela Lugosi reprising his role as Dracula and Lon Chaney Jr. reprising the Wolf Man.

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The only thing I don’t like is the title. I mean they meet Frankenstein’s monster but he is hardly even in the film. It really should be Abbott and Costello Meet Dracula or Abbott and Costello Meet the Wolf Man as both of those characters play a much larger role.

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So the film starts off with Wilbur Gray (Lou Costello) and Chick Young (Bud Abbott) working as package delivery men. Wilbur is currently dating a beautiful woman, Sondra and has plans the next night to go to a masquerade ball.

Erik: [at the Bal Masque as "The Red Death"] Beneath your dancing feet are the tombs of tortured men! Thus does The Red Death rebuke your merriment!

Too bad they didn’t put the Phantom in here too.

Later that day he gets a call from Lawrence Talbot (Lon Chaney Jr.), AKA the Wolf Man, warning him not to deliver packages to Dr McDougol’s House of Horrors. But the full moon comes out,  turning him into a werewolf and Wilbur doesn’t get the full message.

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That night Wilbur and Chick are delivering the packages, and it turns out to be Dracula (Bela Lugosi)

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and Frankenstein’s monster (Glenn Strange).

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They are freed; both taking off as Dracula wants to give the monster a new brain, a dumber one, to control it better. He has enlisted the help of Dr. Sondra Mornay, the same Sondra who is dating Wilbur. Yes, it turns out she is only with him as his brain is the one she wants to use in the operation.

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Meanwhile, Wilbur and Chick have been put in jail as McDougal holds them responsible for the missing exhibits, believing they stole them. They are bailed out by Joan Raymond, private investigator, who doesn’t believe they are responsible. She has also fallen in love with Wilbur.

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So now Wilbur has two beautiful girls after him, Frankenstein’s monster, Dracula trying to get his brain, and the Wolf Man trying to get his help/also attack them when Lawrence turns into the beast.

Not good

Not good

It is hilarious fun and there is a great scene at the ends when Dracula and the Wolf Man duke it out.

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And don’t forget to keep your ears peeled for a Vincent Price cameo!

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

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For more on Count Draculago to I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

For more Wolf Man, go to Beast or Man: The Wolfman (2010)

For more of Frankenstein’s Monster, go to Monster Mash 

For more Bela Lugosi, go to Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

For more Lon Chaney Jr., go to Even a Man Pure of Heart: The Wolf Man (1941)

For more Vincent Price, go to No Mere Mortal Can Resist the Evil of the Thriller: Thriller (1983)

For more horror-parody, go to A Modern Mummy: Under Wraps (1997)

For more horror-comedy, go to Someone Very Special: The Addam’s Family Values (1993)

Those Aren’t Men They Are the Living Dead: White Zombie (1932)

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We could have been killed. Worse than that we could have been caught. 

By those men?  Those aren’t men they are the living dead!

So zombie films have been extremely popular the last few years, they have encountered many changes; but they all owe it to this movie. Yes this is the first full length feature film about Zombies. Instead of biting or disease; this man makes Zombies through Voodoo, poison, drugs, and his eyes!

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I first became aware of this film when I watched 50 Greatest Horror Classics Collection. I know that I have been reviewing films I didn’t like these past few days, so here we go with one I do.

Now one things that this film doesn’t really do, is explain exactly how he does the zombie-fying and mind control. This was explained in the sequel, Revolt of the Zombies (1936)

This film has a very interesting background. The film was thought lost until found in the 1960s, there it went a serious court battle as multiple people fought for ownership.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

It only took eleven days to film but it was such a hit when it premiered. It did so well, that Lugosi regretted taking a salary instead of a percentage.

Vat have I done?

Vat have I done?

Well I think that is enough talking about it, shall we move on to the review?

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So the film starts off with a young couple, Neil Parker and his fiancé Madeline Short. They have just arrived in the West Indies. Neil has a job out there and went for Madeline. They planned to marry as soon as they touched the port, but they meet Charles Beaumont who presented them with a better job offer, and they are headed to his house and to be married tonight.

If only they knew what was coming.

If only they knew what was coming.

As they are driving in the buggy, they come upon a funeral in the middle of the road.

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It sounds strange, but they do that so people don’t dig them up and use them with voodoo, or turn them into zombies, the living dead.

TheDead

Then “Murder” Legendre, Bela Lugosi, come upon them with his group of Zombies. He steals Madeline’s scarf, and stares at her with his creepy eyes.

WhiteZombie

The driver, fearful, takes off at the speed of light.

“Neil Parker: We could have been killed.

Driver: Worse than that we could have been caught!

Madeline Short: By those men?

Driver: Those aren’t men they are the living dead. Zombies!

The driver warns them they should leave, but the couple are suspicious of zombies actually existing. Yet at the at the same time:

Gilmore girls creep

They are startled when they come upon the minister, having arrived at the Beaumont mansion for their wedding. They ask about zombies, and the minister, Dr. Bruner,  says he has been a missionary there for over thirty years and he has seen a lot of strange things occur.

Hmm...

Hmm…

 

They tell Dr. Bruner about what happened, meeting Beaumont on the boat, the job, etc. The Dr. thinks this is very odd.

Something strange is going on

Something strange is going on

This Beaumont they describe is nothing like the selfish, pushy, take over man that he knows. Everything about their situation smells bad, and he warns the couple to leave as soon as possible.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

 

That makes TWO warnings! They need to leave!

And run fast

And run fast

When the couple arrives, Mr. Beaumont doesn’t want to see them.

What! Mark Wahlberg that's weird

But then he changes his mind.

Okay this behavior means that there is something else going on here with Beaumont.

Certified Creepo Ribbon

The butler agrees it is for the best to approach them as the minister is questioning why Beaumont is being so kind. He greets them but then has to leave while everyone prepares for the upcoming wedding.

Madeline is getting ready when she looks out the window and sees Beaumont get into a buggy with a man. When we zoom there, the man is emotionless, glazed over, dead eyes, a zombie!

Night of the living dead zombie

Mr. Beaumont reaches a work area and sees 20 or 30 of these same walking dead. All empty eyed, slaves, and ZOMBIES!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Legendre greets Mr. Beaumont and puts out his hand, but is ignored as Beaumont sees him as “beneath” him. Legendre then explains about his little operation: about how the dead don’t care about long hours, breaks, food, money, etc. He tries to sell the idea to Beaumont, but business is not on his mind. Instead his mind is on Madeleine.

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He desperate to have her and is trying to get Legendre to stop the wedding. He thinks that if he took her away for a while she would change her mind. But Legendre does not think that will work, women will not forget so soon.

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Beaumont pleads with him to do something, anything!

Martin: Aren't you ashamed now? Aren't you? Spiders now, is it? Flies ain't good enough! Renfield: Flies? Flies? Poor puny things! Who wants to eat flies? Martin: You do, you loony! Renfield: Not when I can get nice fat spiders! Martin: All right, have it your own way

I must have her!

Legendre says that he has one way to do it..all Beaumont has to do is give her a tiny bit of this potion in her drink or on a flower and it will enable him to have what he desires.

Jekyll&Hydedrink potion

Beaumont doesn’t want to do it that way but Legendre tells him that is impossible, there is no other choice.

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That might Madeline is getting ready for her wedding, the church is all decorated. Mr. Beaumont walks her down the aisle pleading with her to marry him instead of her fiancé. Madeline kindly refuses.

See ya!

See ya!

He promises to stop, after one last thing, giving her a rose. Madeline accepts, but little does she know that rose has been tainted with poison and will bring only death!

flowerrosewedding

Madeline takes the hand of her love and the ceremony to twine them begins, but out in the courtyard Legendre lurks getting ready his magic.

OhNOthisisgonnabebad

He takes the scarf he stole from her earlier, and wraps it around a wax candle. He looks like the devil with his beard and eyebrows.

Creepy!

Creepy!

He carves the wax candle, quickly creating the figure of a woman. And then he stares with his eyes…

WhiteZombie

They all toast and are happy.

Neil Parker [Jokingly to Madeline] “Gypsy read my fortune.”

She looks into his cup and says “i see happiness, love, I see…” But then she sees Lugosi, with fiery demon eyes in her cup…

white-zombie3

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

She then says “I see death”

Immediately she falls down, and we see Lugosi’s eyes, knowing he is controlling her body and spirit.

WhiteZombie

A funeral is held and Madeline is to be buried.

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Neil goes to a bar to drink, upset, heartbroken and seeing her everywhere. All are happy while he is the one in utter misfortune.

The_Wolf_Man_4Crying sad

Her apparition appears to him, but he can’t reach her.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

That night Beaumont and Legendre are in the graveyard and they see zombies! Legendre isn’t surprised as they are his slaves. Many have fought against his spells, but Legendre overpowered them all and controls them.

Star Wars Dark side power Darth vader

The zombies remove Madeline’s casket from the tomb. Just then they hear her husband, drunk, trying to approach the tomb screaming out her name. The zombies quickly take her away to conduct the ceremony elsewhere.

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Neil finds the grave empty and is distraught.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Dr. Bruner explains that there are two ways this could happen.

  1. Her bones were taken away to be used in a ceremony by some natives on the island.
  2. Or she is not dead.

Mal_huh Whoa Wow what

Neil is in shock! Not dead? But he saw her! The doctor said!

Whattheheck

The minster agrees but he has seen so many strange things on the island, it could be possible!

suspicious Hmm

Neil thinks the idea of her being murdered so someone can steal her body is ridiculous. But then Dr. Bruner tries to explain that she isn’t really dead, but instead a type of parlor trick with drugs to make her appear dead.

WOW

WOW

But Neil doesn’t listen.

Tom-Hanks-Saying-Really

Come on, LISTEN TO THIS MAN! If you had in the beginning you never would have gotten in this mess.

Seriously

Seriously

So Dr. Bruner explains about a type of drug that produces a deathlike sleep, only to have them “awaken later” and be a zombie, one of the “living dead. I knew about this as I had seen it before in The Four Feathers, and read about how historically some witch doctors would do this. Because of that, I figured out a majority of Sherlock Holmes (2009).

I-got-this-reaction-gif

They figure out that Beaumont must be the one behind this. Neil wants to take him to the authorities, but the minister reminds him they have no proof. Besides she died. No one would believe Beaumont pretended to kill her.

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Beaumont has what he wanted and has desired or does he? He has the beautiful body of Madeline but something is missing from her. Her spirit.

She is an empty tomb, a shell of who she was, and it is driving Beaumont crazy!!!

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He gives her the finest things money can buy, all that she could desire, but nothing changes in her eyes or look. Beaumont realizes his mistake and that he made a bad decision. He thought that just having her would be enough, but in reality he has nothing.

willy-wonka-you-get-nothingyoulose

Beaumont begs Legendre to bring Madeline back. Legendre warns that Madeline won’t be happy as he just tried to control her. In fact she will most likely be furious. But Beaumont doesn’t care, he needs her. Legendre promises to bring her back and then the two have a toast. Don’t drink, it is a trap!!!!

After the drink, Lugosi reveals that he has done the same to Beaumont which he did to Madeline. He does not want to bring her back, as he has other plans for her,ones that Beaumont might not agree to.

OMG gasp

Beaumont tries to get his butler to help him, but it is too late, he is under Legendre’s control as well.

evillaugh

The zombies come and carry the butler away, tossing him off the cliff, and all that is left is Beaumont and Legendre.

Dr. Bruner takes Neil to see the witch doctor.

Whattheheck

Weird, right? He’s a minister. Doesn’t that go against what he represents?

Anyways, there they pick up a guide to take them up the mountain and to where Beaumont is housing Madeline. But Neil won’t listen.

That guy

That guy

Neil is trying to climb up the mountain but isn’t doing too well, he’s sick from a tropical disease or hangover.

Anyways, as they continue, you hear the vulture, the pet of Legendre; looming overhead, always watching. It reminds me of Maleficent’s bird in Sleeping Beauty.

Not gulls but you understand the feeling.

Neil and Dr, Bruner argue over whether he should climb the mountain, Dr. Bruner thinking he is too sick too. Then they see Madeline looking over the balcony.

whitezombie4

Neli calls out to Madeline hoping to reach her, but she still remains in her zombie state.

Beaumont has completely had a breakdown. No longer the powerful one, he too appears in a trance, the guilt of everything weighing down on him.

1Star-Wars-Luke-NOOO-Not-my-father

Legendre gave him a special type of poison, he is awake but in a trance and can’t talk, can’t move, a slave and awake inside knowing what he is going through and feeling it.

The shots and angles of this are beautiful. From framing Lugosi in the cross architecture, the stairs, etc. There is some beautiful, early, cinematography at play here.

So Lugosi sees Neil creeping up the stairs, but he is not really looking like a threat, as he is practically unconscious. Lugosi takes his hands and tries to work his spells on him, with his eyes, the third eye.

WhiteZombie

Madeliene wakes up from her bed and in a trance begins ro walk down thestairs. Searching, searching for what?

whitezombie4

Madeline being framed in a cross architecture while wearing cross on her dress is almost a virginal sacrifice. Beaumont sees Madeline and wants to help but has no control over his body. She takes a knife from the table.

rosemary'sbabyknife

Legendre wants her to stab her husband Neil. She approaches him and is about to stab him when she stops. Something has come over her and she is unsure, but then Legendre’s eyes they call, her to do it,

WhiteZombieeyes

She is just about to stab Neil when she is stopped by a person grabbing her arm and removing the knife.

what what'shappeningSupernatural

A person dressed in black, who is it?

whatdoyouthinkTwilightzoneRealmartianpleasestandup

Legendre continues to try and control her but it does not work. She runs and Neil chases after her.

She runs to the hillside and looks over the water about to jump but stopped by Neil. He is happy to have her but Madeline remains motionless. Legendre comes followed by his zombie army.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Neil has a gun and shoots at the zombies but it doesn’t stop them or produce blood, as they are already dead.

129812860_white-zom_420546c

The minster was the man in black! He smacks Lugosi in the head stopping him. All his zombies throw themselves over the cliff, as control is momentarily lost and they wish to remain dead! Madeline wakes up, the control has ended.

Double double yay

And all is good.

TheEnd_Title_2

But no Legendre awakens, he is not one to be easily thwarted and begins to exact his control.

WhiteZombieeyes

Neil and the minster chase after  him, but are stopped when he throws some magic dust, burning their eyes.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Beaumont creeps dow the steps, and we only see his shadow. He knocks Legendre over the cliff, his vulture/spirit guide thing going too.

Madeline is awaken and reunited with her love.

flowerrosewedding

And the bride and groom get to go off and have their honeymoon.

TheEnd_Title_2

A great film. You should definitely check it out.

loveitSupernatural

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to What I Think You Will Think…You are Fully Under My Control: Jesse James Meets Frankenstein’s Daughter (1966)

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For more zombie brides, go to He’s Married to a Corpse. He Has A Corpse Bride!: Corpse Bride (2005)

For more Bela Lugosi, go to I Bid You Welcome: Dracula (1931)

For more zombie films, go to Say Something Human: Warm Bodies (2013)

For more on The 50 Greatest Horror Classics, go to A Man Without a Face: The Bat (1959)

Monster Movie: Supernatural (2008)

SupernaturalTitles405MonsterMoviecopy

“All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon’s” somebody.”

So I know that I have had quite a few TV episodes this October. I know that I went a little overboard, but I wanted to include this anyway. You see I have been wanting to review this episode for a while, but felt that I couldn’t do it until I had reviewed the original The Wolf Man film. As I finally did it this October, it allowed me to finally be able to talk about this episode. This is my all-time favorite episode because it has what I love! Monster Movies!!

Universal Monster Movie Horror

Yep it parodies a series of Classic Horror Films: Dracula (1931)The Mummy (1932), Wolf Man (1941)In fact to further the homage to classic horror film, they even filmed the whole thing in black and white!

love it

So Supernatural is a show that like Grimm, every episode could be done for Horrorfest. The show consists of two hunter brothers, Dean and Sam Winchester, who travel all over the U.S. hunting ghosts, demons, vampires, werewolves, etc. As the seasons progress they get more focused on the battle between angels and demons and stopping the end of the world. It’s an awesome show.

supernatural

So this episode takes place in season 4. There have been a lot of angst and sadness

Supernatural

(I won’t go into detail in case you haven’t watched it and want to) and the two brothers have finally been reunited.

COMWSsamanddeanwinchesterKansas

So Dean and San are driving into Pennsylvania on the trail of vampires. Sam is worried about the apocalypse, but Dean convinces him to stop off at an Oktoberfest to relax a bit. They find the Sheriff and introduce themselves as Agent Angus and Agent Young (homage to Angus Young of AC/DC).

FBIMonster-Movie-supernatural-2654708-1280-720

There they are told to speak to the witness Ed Brewer, but the Sheriff doesn’t put much stock in his testimony. They run into the very beautiful waitress Jaimie, who points them toward Ed. There Ed describes the Vampire as being the one out of the 1931 Dracula film.

SayWhat?

Yep, Dean and Sam are shocked, but Ed insists that it is true. The guy looked just like Bela Lugosi’s Dracula.

Dracula

In fact the vampire even uses the Transylvanian accent.

Sam and Dean confer and determine that it is probably a twilight-esque fan and that it isn’t really strange enough for them to stick around.

The night however, things change.

dun-dun-duuuun

A couple is making out in a car when a werewolf comes upon them and attacks.

wolfman-strangle

The next day, Sam and Dean talk to the girl who survived the attack, Anne-Marie, and discover that the killer looked just like Lon Chaney Jr. in the 1941 Wolf Man film.

wolfman

The sheriff also finds wolf hair on the dead body. Sam and Dean are confused as real werewolves don’t have wolf hair.

confused

That night a guard discovered an Egyptian sarcophagus at the docks. As the guard is about to call to figure out what is going on, the mummy rises from its grave.

Monster Movie Supernatural Mummy

The Mummy attacks the guard, strangling him.

The Winchesters go down to investigate and try and figure out what is going on. There they discover the sarcophagus is actually a movie prop that has been laced with dry ice. Dean leaves Sam to figure out a theory, while he heads down to meet up with Jamie for their date.

Meanwhile, Jamie has been waiting for a while and decides that Dean is most likely standing her up. She starts to walk home, when she runs into Dracula.

Blood!

Blood!

He calls her his reincarted love, and tries to kidnap her, but Jamie sprays him with pepper spray and then runs away…right into Dean. Dean gets a punch into Dracula

dean_punching_supernatural

But then finds himself overpowered by the vampire

Dean-Dracula-The-Delusional-Shapeshifter-in-Monster-Movie-supernatural-24166990-700-300

The vampire calls him “Harker” (reference to Jonathan Harker the fiancé of Mina [the woman Dracula tries to take]). Dracula tries to bite Dean, but he rips his ear off and a medallion. With his ear gone, Dracula runs away and jumps on his scooter.

Say What

Nope you heard my correctly

DraculaMototrbikeSupernaturalMonstermovie

Back at the bar, Dean shows Sam the ear and medallion.

“Dean Winchester: I, uh, pulled it off during the fight. Look at the label on the ribbon.

Sam Winchester: It’s a costume rental.

Dean Winchester: All three monsters – the Dracula, Wolf Man, and the Mummy – all the same critter, which means we need to catch this freak before he “Creature from the Black Lagoon‘s” somebody.”

They determine that they are dealing with a shapeshifter obsessed with classic film. Now if you have been reading my posts posts, such as Phantom of the MegaplexScream, and An American Werewolf in London, you know probably realize another reason why I love this episode. Yep, I can relate to the shapeshifter. I love classic film (especially horror) and I can completely understand him.

screamBilly

Anyways, so Sam, being the scholar, recognizes the name Harker and figures that the shapeshifter is trying to recreate the 1931 film, Dean being Jonathan and Jamie being Mina. I guess that makes Sam, Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing.  [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula]  Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country.  Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy.  Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived.  Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life.  Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night.  Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart.  Count Dracula: Come here.  [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing]  Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing.  [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him]  Count Dracula: More wolfbane?  Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count.  Count Dracula: Indeed.  [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

The two figure that it must be someone who knows Jamie and is obsessed with her. When they question her, Jamie can’t think of a person who is strange or crazy. Lucy, her best friend and coworker, mentions that Ed recentlly moved to town and is the projectionist for the old theater. Plus he has a crush on Jamie.

suspicious

HIghly suspicious

Sam goes to investigate while Dean stays with Jamie. The two are drinking beer and having a deep conversation, when Lucy interrupts. She is on her way out the door, but Jamie invites her to stay and have a drink with them.

Back on the case, Sam has gone into the old theater and discovers Ed playing the pipe organ.

phantom-of-the-opera

He pulls on Ed’s ear, but find it fast in place.

“Sam Winchester: [tries to tear out Ed’s ear] It’s supposed to come off.

Ed Brewer: No, it’s not!”

OMG

This means Ed is not the shapeshifter!!! But if he isn’t…who is?

Teenage_werewolf

Back at the bar, Dean and Jaimie are getting groggy and falling asleep. Dean punches Lucy in the face, and discovers that Lucy is not “Lucy” but the shapeshifter.

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

AAAAAAAAHHH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

And she has drugged the two of them. Dean tries to hold on, but faints.

fainting1_3759

Dean wakes up and finds himself in lederhosen.

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

Noooooooooo!!!!!!!

In a Frankenstein-esque dungeon.

Clive, Colin (Frankenstein)_02

Now I really like what Dracula has to say here. It’s so poetic. “Life is small, meager, messy. The movies are grand, simple, elegant. I have chosen elegance.”, it’s very Movie Mason from The Phantom of the Megaplex.

MovieMagicPhantomoftheMegaplex

Anyways, Dracula is about to electrocute Dean and have a “movie” where the monster wins, when something interrupts him. The doorbell rings and the pizza delivery guy is there.

Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh, pizza delivery?

Dracula: Ah, you have brought a repast. Excellent. Continue to be of such service, and your life will be spared.

Pizza Delivery Guy: Uh-huh. That’ll be $15.50.

Dracula: Tell me…

Pizza Delivery Guy: Yeah?

Dracula: Is there garlic on this pizza?

Pizza Delivery Guy: I don’t know. Did you order garlic?

Dracula: No!

Pizza Delivery Guy: Then no. Look, mister, I’ve got four other deliveries to make. You want to just pay me the money so I can go?

Dracula: Of course. Yes. But I have a coupon.

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And why not take a pizza break? Pizza is awesome.

I love Pizza

I love Pizza

So now that Dracula has food for later, he prepares to finish Harker/Dean, but is interrupted by Jamie waking up.

Meanwhile back at the bar, Sam has figured out that with Jamie and Dean missing it must be Lucy. He sets out for her house.

Back in the dungeon, Dracula wants Jamie to dress in the gown he bought her and eat pizza with him.

Just like the Mummy, trying to dress his "reincarnated bride" in his old love's clothes.

Just like the Mummy, trying to dress his “reincarnated bride” in his old love’s clothes.

Jamie is really freaked out as she has been drugged, was betryed by her best friend (as Dracula was pretending to be “Lucy”) and is stuck with a killer. Dracula tries to apologize and tells Jamie his backstory. He was called a monster from the beginning of his life and beat by his father. He found solace in monster movies, and achieves strength and confidence when taking their form.

This part actually reminded me a lot of The Phantom of the Opera. Here is a man who is disfigured and mistreated because of it. He knows only how to hate as he has been so mistreated. It makes you wonder how things might have been different if one person had loved him.

one word kind change day

While Dracula is reminiscing, unbeknownst to him Sam has slipped into the house and is skulking around the dungeon. Dracula knocks Jamie out and turns his attention to Sam and the freed Dean. They start fighting, with Sam being thrown through a fake door. Dean and Dracula are struggling to get the gun with silver bullets along with trying to knock the other out. Dean tries a groin attack and move for the gun, but Dracula throws him back. Before he can do anything else, Jamie, who has just woken up, grabs the gun and shoots him.

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With Dracula conceding, that maybe this is how the “film” should end.

The next day Dean says good-bye to Jamie. The two brothers agree that’s it was nice doing some old-fashioned monster hunting, rather than the angels & demons stuff. They discuss what film they would want to live in as the episode ends.

TheEnd_Title_2

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To start Horrorfest III from the beginning, go to Even a Man Pure of Heart

For the previous post, go to Murder is My Favorite Crime

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For more on Supernatural, go to Keep Clear of the Moor. Beware the Moon

For more on Dean Winchester, go to I’m Batman!

For more on Sam Winchester, go to You Can’t Have Just One!

For more horror parody, go to Who’s Afraid of Cory Wolf?

For more on Dracula, go to I Bid You Welcome

For more on The Mummy, go to Part X: The Movie List That Would Not Die

For more on The Wolf Man, go to Unleash the Savage Instincts that Lie Hidden Within

For more monster movies, go to What Is This Thing?

For more on Phantom of the Megaplex, go to Friday Night Fun

For more on recreating a scene, go to Carried Away

For more on pizza, go to Food, Food, Food