Either your browser's javascript has been disabled or it needs an update! Please re-enable your javascript program or update your browser to view this page as designed.

PCR Archives 2002
PCR Archives 2001
PCR Archives 2000
Crazed Fanboy homepage

La Floridiana
The Enlightenment
Movie Review
Matt's Rail
Mike's Rant

(Links listed above indicate "final edition" status.)

Michael A. Smith's
The Omnipresent M. Smith homepage and Email                    

Matt Drinnenberg's
The Masters of Horror

Terence Nuzum's
Viddywell Productions

William Moriaty's
T.R.E.E., Inc.

Established A.D. 2000, March 19.  Now in our third calendar year!
  Number 135  (Vol. 3, No. 43). This edition is for the week of October 21--27, 2002.
Happy Halloween!



Will Moriaty's final decree about the new Fall TV schedule

Is it me, or does there seem to be a dearth of good Halloween movie product out this season? Where are all the good slasher flicks, Blair Witch knock-offs, remakes of old horror movies, or hell, another good/shitty Halloween sequel? Yes, even any of them would be acceptable in this desert of horrific cinema.

Was "Red Dragon" it for the season? OK, "The Ring" is out this week, and I do plan to see it (even tho it's gotten mixed reviews)---and "Ghost Ship" looms large near the weekend, although the plot sounds rather derivative. This season, I swear the major theme parks and all the live haunted houses seem to be doing all the bang-up business, because it sure isn't obvious the box-office wants your scare-dollar.

Busch Gardens of Florida's Howl-O-Scream is a major success, and Universal's Horror Nights is always a hoot.

I do have one more thing to plug; a rather quaint but terribly attractive event coming to Clearwater's Royalty Theater: A live-stage SPOOK SHOW of the traditional Grand Guignol variety. This, I do plan to attend. See the full story below, in "Announcements".

Now then, before I turn over the reins to this week's Top 10 Vampire Flicks of All Time, La Floridiana-meister William Moriaty sent his final verdict on the new shows he's been following this Fall season...

Fall TV Preview Summary      by William Moriaty

Four weeks into the new season, here are my personal favorites on a scale of 1 to 5:

#1- "Birds of Prey": Its second episode was as good or better than the first. We meet a man named "Waters" who can change into water and drown his victims in the driest of places. The Huntress is the slickest, hippest personality to hit the one eyed orb since Julie Newmar brilliantly portrayed Catwoman in the 1966 Batman TV series. A true creature of the night! 4 Stars.
#2- The Twilight Zone": This second television incarnation is brilliantly done, but sadly, it's on opposite "Birds of Prey". As I stated, this is going to be a real horse race. 3.75 Stars.
#3- "Smallville": Okay, this is not a new show, but since "Haunted" left me channel surfing, I discovered this gem of a show two weeks ago and have been hooked ever since. 3.75 Stars.
#4- "Good Morning Miami": I have not generally watched a sit-com since the Silver Age of Television ("M*A*S*H", "Mary Tyler Moore", etc.)-Okay, occasionally I watched "Night Court" and "Cheers", but feeling dirty and ashamed, I'm growing to like this show. I sincerely enjoy the interaction between Jake and Dylan in this South Florida sit-com. 3.5 Stars.
#5- "CSI Miami": I never know from one week to the next what to make of this show. Too often, leads David Caruso and Kim Delaney act as lifeless as the cadavers they're investigating. Some episodes are pretty gripping, while others are as stiff and dead as the poor victims. This may end up in the same TV wastebasket as "Haunted". 2.5 stars.

The Top 10 Vampire Movies of All Time by Patty G. Henderson

Last week, we introduced Patty G. Henderson's new Halloween challenge for 2002: "The Top Ten Vampire Flicks of All Time", with her choices, and a follow-up by Rick Sousa. This week, we continue with many more responses we received afterwards. We'll start with mine, delayed from last week.

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Nolan B. Canova

1. The Night Stalker. (1972) The original TV-Movie, the title is sometimes confused with "Kolchak: The Night Stalker" which was the later TV series based on it. Darrin McGavin stars as investigative reporter Carl Kolchak, with Simon Oakland as a perfect foil in the character of harried and blustery publisher Tony Vincenzo. Locations in Las Vegas provide a very contemporary backdrop as Kolchak becomes obsessed with a recent series of murders that seem to have been commited by a vampire. Barry Atwater is brilliant as the mute-but-animalistic vampire Janos Skorzeny. Story and teleplay by Richard Matheson and Jeff Rice assured quality from the outset. Directed by John Llewellyn Moxey, who directed several of the era's high-octane TV thrillers. This movie inspired a sequel of sorts, "The Night Strangler."
2. Fright Night. (1985) Jerry Dandridge (Chris Sarandon) and his buddy move in next door to Charlie Brewster (William Ragsdale) and things are never quite the same. Charlie seems to be the only one who notices strange goings-on next door and quickly suspects the new neighbor is a vampire, but no one believes him including his girlfriend Amy (Amanda Bearse, later of "Married With Children" and even later, a lesbian activist). Charlie eventually employs the "skills" of the local TV Horror-Host Peter Vincent (Roddy McDowall in a terrific performance) to help cure the problem. Another stand-out performer is Stephen Geoffreys as "Evil Ed" Thompson, Charlie's best friend and early victim of Jerry Dandridge. Written and Directed by Tom Holland. Highly recommended, but frequently overlooked because of comic elements.
3. From Dusk Till Dawn (1996) Director Robert Rodriguez, who made history by filming "El Mariachi" on $7000, turns his attention to Quentin Tarantino and Robert Kurtzman's loony script about criminals and vampires. George Clooney is the mastermind and with his brother (Tarantino) in tow, break out of prison determined to make it to Mexico with a load of cash. Harvey Keitel plays a nervous father whose family is abducted to help accomplish this (Juliette Lewis is his daughter). The funny thing is, this film starts as a manic crime caper, but ends up as one of the most violent and surreal vampire movies ever commited to film. Throw in extended cameos by Tom Savini (bar patron/biker "Sex Machine") and Cheech Marin (border guard/drug dealer/Mexican contact) and how can you lose?
4. Dracula (Lugosi version) (1931) Nobody ever says this, but we owe our knowledge of Dracula, not to Bela Lugosi or even to director Tod Browning, but to a man named Hamilton Deane. Who is Hamilton Deane? Hamilton Deane wrote the original stage play of "Dracula", based very loosely on Bram Stoker's book, that Browning's picture and virtually ever one after it is based on. That said, Bela Lugosi, initally rejected for the lead role because of his thick Hungarian accent, was chosen as the lead and the image of Dracula was in stone forever. In one of those weird Hollywood ironies, Lugosi had already been playing Dracula on stage for years beforehand. The radient Helen Chandler co-starred as Mina. Dwight Frye gives an exceptional performance as the ultimate madman, Renfield. (Interestingly, the script substituted many of Jonathan Harker's early scenes with the Renfield character. Later adaptations abandoned this concept.) The Spanish version of 1931's Dracula, shot at the same time using the same sets, is generally regarded as a technically superior movie. Lugosi's screen presence, however, is what has withstood the test of time.
5. Nosferatu (1922). The one that basically started it all. Interestingly, the Stoker family thought it close enough to "Dracula" to issue a lawsuit against the makers of "Nosferatu", claiming copyright infringement. Eventually, Nosferatu was able to be shown again, and turned up at local art houses and independent theaters. I saw it at Tampa Theater in the late 90's, where they announced the correct film running speed was 17.2 frames a second(!) F.W. Murnau's classic with the inimitable Max Schrek in the lead role.
6. Bram Stoker's Dracula (Coppola version) (1992) Director Francis Ford Coppola's attempt at a "correct" version of Dracula. Notable for using "in-camera" effects and eschewing CGI for an "organic" look. Beautiful photography, locations and costumes. James V Hart's screenplay returns to the concept of the corrupt nobleman/aristocrat/Vlad the Impaler. Gary Oldman is brilliant as Prince "Vlad Dracula". Winona Ryder is servicable as Mina. Keanu Reeves, red-hot at the time, is unfortunately cast as Jonathan Harker, with a lame English-by-way-of-California-boy accent. Anthony Hopkins as Professor Van Helsing seems to be in a reduced role somehow, but he was great while he was on. Recommended generally on the strength of Oldman's peformance, the set design, costumes and photography, and the ground-breaking make-up by Greg Canom.
7. Lost Boys (1987) Punk vampires? I think of Lost Boys as a way of reintroducing the concept to a generation raised to think of Dracula as slow-moving. Director Joel Schumacher takes Kiefer Sutherland, Jason Patric, and Corey Haim into a hipper vampire era, complete with a revamped mythology, new fangs, and rock music. That said, many claim Lost Boys unfavorably de-railed the vampire concept forever.
8. Count Yorga, Vampire (1970) Written and directed by Bob Kelljan, starring Robert Quarry. I haven't seen this flick in a long time, but remember having a terrific time watching it when I did. Seems like it was a hipper, 60s-era take on the Vampire legend with a cool, unpredictable downbeat ending with no clear winners or losers--that itself was radical for its time. I need to see this one again.
9. Horror of Dracula (1958) The "Next Generation" vampire, post-Lugosi. Directed by Terence Fisher, and starring Christopher Lee in the lead role, with Peter Cushing as Abraham Van Helsing. Hammer Studios brought a literacy and class back to horror films that had been missing for some time due to relentless low-budget exploitation of the material. Christopher Lee's Dracula is again the corrupt aristocrat, with occasional seizures of animal-like hunger and violence. This film and its sequels reinvigorated debate over whether vampirism was an addiction, a disease or the supernatural; whether the act was sexual in nature; and how much religion was tied into it. Like Lugosi's Dracula, Lee here seems to be the head vampire, a concept that has faded since. Fellow practioners sometimes have guilt over their actions.
10. Interview With The Vampire (1994) Anne Rice screenplay based on her own novel. Neil Jordan's film serves up Tom Cruise as the 17th-century vampire Lestat and Brad Pitt as his unwilling protegé, Louis. Told from a contemporary perspective, Louis tells a reporter (Christian Slater) how he came to meet Lestat and took the fall into Vampirism. Kirsten Dunst has a stand-out role as a pre-teen vampire, Claudia, unable to mature due to her "condition". Also stars Antonio Banderas in a smaller role as a French vampire (Armand). Anne Rice created quite a stir by publicly denouncing the casting of Tom Cruise as Lestat, and that she envisioned a younger Rutger Hauer in the role. No matter, the film didn't turn out half bad.

Honorable Mention: The Spanish version of 1931's Dracula, starring Carlos Villarias, The 1973 TV-Movie "Dracula", starring Jack Palance, who I thought miscast at the time, has withstood the test OF time. Very moody and atmospheric; re-introduced the concept of the Vlad the Impaler legacy. (Anybody remember Palance's turn on "Dr Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde"?) "House of Dark Shadows" helped (you should pardon the expression) immortalize the TV series it's derived from, the vampire Barnabas Collins, and the actor who portrayed him, Jonathan Frid. Amazing make-up by Dick Smith. "Salem's Lot: the miniseries", for delivering a devastating Nosferatu-like vampire played by Nicholas Roeg, and an unnerving screenplay for the small screen, itself a rarity, especially from a Stephen King novel.

Worst: John Badham's unfortunate 1979 "Dracula" starring Frank Langella. Except for a wall-crawling scene I thought very accurate to the novel, this whole thing was too romantic and tame. Laurence Olivier is wasted as Van Helsing. "Dracula: Dead and Loving It". Leslie Nielson vehicle was unfunny and was dead and loving it soon after release. "Once Bitten" was a dreadful send-up with Lauren Hutton and Jim Carrey. The comedy "Love at First Bite", starring George Hamilton was OK I guess, but generally speaking, anything in this class of movie, i.e. low-grade horror spoofs, I find obvious and annoying. (So, I am not talking about films like "Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein", "The Rocky Horror Picture Show", or "Young Frankenstein" which are a class of movie unto themselves.)

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Gus Perez

Gus Perez here...Thanks, Patty, for one of my favorite subjects to challenge...Here's my "Top 10 Vampire films" (in no particular order):

"Taste the Blood of Dracula" -Christopher Lee--One of of Chris' most bloody and violent Vampire flicks.
"The Horror of Dracula" -Christopher Lee, again carries on the carnage.
"Dracula" -Bela Lugosi, the master, Conrad Brooks' buddy fom "Plan 9 From Outer Space".
"The Vampire" - From 1957, a Jeckyll and Hyde type of vampire.
"Deathmaster". This 1972 film has Robert Quarry playing Rico the hippie staying at a vampire hippie commune, who uses maritial arts to fight off the hippie vampires...The telepathic mutant from "Beneath the Planet of the Apes" (Don Pedro Colley) as the Black Vampire.
"Werewolf vs. Vampire Woman" - Great atmospheric scenes with music to set up the eerie mood. With Paul Nashey..One scene is reminiscent of "Frankenstein Meets the Wolfman".
"Blacula" -Sophisticated acting job by William Marshall.
"Scream, Blacula, Scream" -William Marshall takes a higher body count.
"Children of the Night" -With Garrett Morris and Amy Dolenz...Vampires that live in the sewer, with lungs that float above the water...Extremely scary, yet Garrett Morris does hilarious acting job as drunken preacher, trying to help teens stop evil vampires.
"From Dusk 'Till Dawn" -With George Clooney and Selma Hayek...With vampires as violent as the werewolves in "The Howling".

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Matt Drinnenberg

1. Dracula Has Risen From the Grave: Sorry, Patty. Have to strongly disagree with you on the Chris Lee Dracula. Sure, there were a couple films he was in that were, shall we say, less than palatable. But this, along with Horror of Dracula, is simply wonderful. We have a priest who falls slave, an athiest hero out to destroy the count, beautiful buxom babes with necks ripe and ready, and the count himself, with what I consider the most awesome stake-thru-the-heart scene in the history of filmdom.
2. Nosferatu: The classic first vampire film. Even by todays standards, it is spooky. Our hero more that looks the part of bloodsucker, which adds to every mermerizing moment. I'm amazed it's on dvd already, and rather affordable too.
3. Dracula: Bela Lugosi in all his glory. Intense and mesmerizing in every scene stealing moment. From smashing the mirror to the ground to killing Renfield despite his pleas for mercy. The only downside is that there isnt a good kill scene, but i guess for 1931, the mere image of driving a stake into someones heart was good enough. In the end, it's part of what makes this timeless.
4. Interview with a Vampire: Remember thinking as I watched this that this is possibly the closest thing to reality as there could be in vampire lore. Ann Rice has the vampire down pat. The story takes on a life of its own as you watch. Too bad the follow up movie (queen of the damned) had to suck. (No pun intended)
5. Fearless Vampire Killers: A little story. On my 7th birthday, my parents took some kids and me to the old Hillsboro theater to see Lady and the Tramp. The only snag was that Disney was in the theater part and showing at the drive in was Fearless Vampire Killers and another great splatter fest "2000 maniacs". Mom wanted to leave but dad, knowing of my love of monsters, let us stay for the whole movie. Which is just as wonderful and glorious now as it was then.
6. Horror of Dracula: Chris Lee's debut as the evil Count. Plays it for all it's worth, too. Hammer's retelling of the Dracula story sans Renfield and Transylvania, which led to several spin offs, including Prince of Darkness and "Risen from the Grave". Truly the first sexually seductive dracula given to the allure of eroticism. Only gripe is he should have had more screen time, but I guess they had to have a story.
7. House of Dark Shadows: Take a vampire, give him a moral compass and family compassion and what do you get? Barnabas Collins, of course. Although in the film he seemed more evil than on the TV show. Always wanted to see this movie as a kid and never got to. Wasnt until about 9 years ago, i found it on video and bought it. Great flick showing us all that Barnabus rules.
8. Mark of the Vampire: I thought for sure I'd be the only one putting this on the list. Kudos to the Rickster and his wifey for tabbing this great classic. And it is very strong on atmosphere and suspense.
9. Dracula: Originally aired on PBS and now available on dvd, this version gave us Jack Palance as the fames Count. And I must say, he did an extremely excellent job. Watched this when I was a kid and was blown away by his portrayal, which was ultra sinister. the dvd is packaged with Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde, that also featured Palance. Easily worth the purchase price.
10. The Lost Boys: How can you not love rock and roll vampires. Especially ones that fly in out of nowhere and feast on unsuspecting humans enjoying a campfire. Gotta love it. Moody, spooky, and funny. And above all, fun to watch.

I'm sure I'll be kicking myself as I recall other vampire films I love that missed the list, but you gotta start somewhere. First Honorable Mentions go to "John Carpenter's Vampires" and "Salem's Lot: The miniseries" starring David Soul. Have not seen "The Hunger", but definitely will now with such strong recommendation.

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Terence Nuzum

Here is my highly-anticipated and eagerly-awaited list of my favorite vampire films. It's distressing though that the other lists contain some of the films that I thought I would only pick. But alas, I still have some Aces up my sleeve. So here they are, without any apologies, in no particular order.

1. Nosferatu (1922): Not the first vampire film but probably the only one left in existence. Marnau's sometimes pedestrian direction actually worked out for the film as it let the creepy atmosphere of the locations settle in your sub-conscious. The expressionistic lighting and a sense of forboding and dread still pack a punch to this day. And, oh yeah, Max Shrek practically owns this role.
2. Captain Kronos, Vampire Hunter (1974): One of Hammer's later efforts and sadly a overlooked one. Kronos the vampire hunter show us all just exactly how you track down and kill some of the most vicious vampires. It even has some sword fights to boot. The direction is stellar as is the acting and plot. All in all the best vampire film Hammer ever made and quite possibly the best vampire film period.
3. Count Yorga, Vampire (1970): Count Yorga approaches the vampire film like you would a slasher film. He stalks his victims, he does not hypnotize them. He attacks them too with an unseen viciousness completely outdoing even Lee's animalistic Count. Robert Quarry gives a star turn here proving once again that Lugosi isn't the only actor that can successfully portray a vampire.
4. Nadja (1994): Promoted as a remake of Dracula's Daughter this film is actually far better. Produced by David Lynch (look for his cameo) and Directed by Michael Almereyada, Nadja boasts some of the most expressionistic direction this side of Nosferatu. Yes, Peter Fonda does in fact play Van Helsing but, believe it or not, he's actually good.
5. Vampyr (1932): Carl Dreyer expressionistic early talkie is supposedly based on Sheridan LaFanu's "Camilla" but he basically throws all that out the window and frightens your senses by using odd lighting, dream imagery, and a piece of guaze placed over the lens. Lynch practically based his career around guys like this. And the revelation that the vampire is a decrepit old woman is an eerie image to say the least.
6. Dracula --the Spanish version (1931): Yes, folks, no Lugosi, but hey, I can give all that up for the atmosphere and mood that this films gives off. With the exception of Lugosi, this film beats it in every way. Ok Ok so no Dwight Frye but hey on the plus side no awful Todd Browing direction or lack thereof. I still put this above the Lugosi clunker. Even some of the lighting in this thing looks downright modern. That and the Count's scenes are way more frightening.
7. Salem's Lot (1979): First class TV movie that would set the standard for all Stephen King mini-series that followed. King's Dracula knock off Barlow was geniusly turned into a grunting, wheezing Nosferatu thing that is hands down the creepiest vampire ever. Director Tobe Hooper also stated that with this film they actually broke down some of the TV censor barriers with the content of the film. Oh yeah and the Marsten house (the place in which the vampire resides) is probably the scariest mansion that any vampire has ever hid out in. Also look for the skin crawling scene in which Barlow breaks through a window as only a black piece of cloth and then grows to full size and wipes out a boy's family.
8. Black Sabbath--Segment 3--"The Wurdulak" (1963): Boris Karloff plays Gorca, a grandfather who returns to his family after hunting down a vampire who has been terrorizing the village. But there is a catch. Gorca has come back himself as the very thing he sought to destroy. Director Mario Bava is the one that above all others has given us the greatest vampire film of all time. With a mood unequaled to this day and the sad frightening scene of a little boy vampire scratching at the door sobbing "Mommy". Chilling.
9. The Vampire Lovers (1970): Lesbian subplots and nudity aside Hammer produced their best vampire (with the exception of Kronos) in 1970 with this loosley-based Camilla adaptation. Underneath all the typical Hammer exploitation of Ingrid Pitt there is some genuinely good acting and plot. Roy Ward Baker again proves that he was the best director Hammer ever had (he directed the original Titanic film "A Night To Remember") and Peter Cushing gives a great performance as a Van Helsing-ish General Von Spielsdorf.
10. Bram Stoker's Dracula (1973): Dan Curtis gives us all the Dark Shadows goth without the technical mishaps. Yes, Jack Palance is actually good as Dracula. This is also the first film that uses the Vlad the Impaler back story which would later be used in Coppola's big budget epic in 1992.

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Mike "Deadguy" Scott

Let me first disclaim that Vampires are not normally my thing. Usually their treatment in films consist of elements which hold little interest for me. So this list is inclusive of all vampire films I could think of that had any lasting impression on me, as opposed to actual favorite films.
It's a Halloween Top Ten, so I HAD to take a stab at it. The reader would do well to note that this is probably more accurately, my top 5-7 picks, rather than 10. More like...if I had to name my top 150 movies, you'd probably only find the top 5 or 7 in there.

1 - Nosferatu - Grandaddy of them all, this movie just seems to grow more powerful with age. Some of the haunting visual effects they pulled-off seemed WAY ahead of their time. Very effective film. I saw this in Tampa Theater played at the speed it was originally intended to be played at, and THAT, coupled with the theater's ambience made all the difference in the world. This is NOT a film that should be played at "quirky" speed.
2 - From Dusk til Dawn - This is a road trip with LOTS of character. There's too many reasons to love this flick to list them all here. Everything was great, from Tarantino's screenplay, (and uhh.. the ER doctor guy in his first SUITABLE role as an anti-hero) nice surprises, Tom Savini being in it, and a REALLY hot snake dancer scene that absolutely mezmerized me. Dialog was sort of "pulp fictiony," and held an agressive reality to it that just worked. It's a film that doesn't take itself TOO seriously, but starts as a romp and suddenly becomes a different film altogether with an edge of seriousness to it. Great film angles and suchlike too. The behind the scenes segments are great. It's also funny to watch it and do a who's who on the characters, interesting how many became farily familiar actors /actresses, despite being relatively unknown in this film.
3 - Interview With The Vampire - Anne Rice really has some neat ideas about vampires. This movie / her books, spawned a live roleplaying game called "Masquerade". To be honest, I found that the support reading material for the gaming system to be more interesting than Anne Rice's novels, and, indeed, as interesting as any vampire film on this list. It blurs the lines of reality enough to where you start wondering if it's actually possible for an entire society of vampires to thrive within our existing social structure. This film certainly has echoes of that feel, but for a real mind-blower, "the Book Of Nod" is incredible to read. It's a Vampiric bible written as though it's part of the Christian bible, and starts with Cain being cursed for killing his brother.. the curse was vampirism. At times, you'd do well to remind yourself that it IS just a fictional account for use in a game.. right? It's weird though.. the narration is directed to you as though you're learning to be a vampire. Oops.. yeah, the movie was cool too.
4 - Vampires - (John Carpenter) A semi-traditional approach to vampires, and entertaining for the action/horror/gore aspects, rather than good acting. Lot's of little things and attention to detail, really made this film for me. Apparently the church has long been aware that vampires exist, and has a "squad" that deals with them. It's nice how the storyline starts AFTER these people have had some experience in their trade, and the oddest things have become "all-in-a-days-work". Sort of like a serious vampiric verion of Ghostbusters.
5 - Blade 1 - A nice fresh approach to the vampirical "what-if" of vampiric progeny/ procreation. I'd never read the comic books before this movie came out, but I still enjoyed it. It's another Ann Rice style vampirical society, but fairly two-dimensional, with a heavy "Matrix" touch and surrealistic approach to the filming itself. (ie- comic book panache)
6 - Fright Night - Comedy/ horror. This was a lot of fun, but is also a "non-punk-version" of a modern vampire, Unlike Dusk 'til Dawn, Lost Boys, Blade, etc.. Very sexy, seductive vampire. Reminds you of the more seductive side to vampirism, and puts it into a relatively beleviable context.
7 - Lifeforce - Space vampires, total cheese with GREAT one liners, including the popular phrase in Zob Zombie songs: "Do you usually have to open graves to find women to fall in love with?", and "they're ..they're.. like vampires!?.. Yes, I know, they've been to Earth before." If you can enjoy a film that'll never get nominated for anything, then you might want to check this one out.
8 - Sub Species series - From back when Blue Moon Video was in it's heyday.. more fan driven, and less commercial. It's a low-budget vampire series that was well-handled, and location shots almost made it look like a much higher budgeted film. They were very talented at making a buck go a long way. There's a coveted relic involved called the "bloodstone" which supposedly weeps the blood of all saints which helps holds-over vampiric folks between meals, I guess. The first couple of movies in the series were very well done, but it kinda' peters out by the third one.
9 - Bram Stoker's Dracula - Great effects, powerful imagery, but VERY drawn out. I would have loved to have compressed that film, but I DID still enjoy it. A bit too drama-oriented for my tastes, I entered a comatose state through parts of it. It still makes my list though because the overall "visual feel" of the film was very impressive.
10 - Vampyres - Bi-sexual female vampires hanging out, hitchhiking rides to their house, inviting the drivers in for sex and then sucking their blood dry. Not too bad, but I found myself fast-forwarding to find the more.. interesting parts. (heh heh)

Honorable Mention - Ku-Fung Zombies - While not actually a vampire flick, it's got a Vampire bad-guy in it that's to die for. Cheesiest flick I ever saw, a complete barrel of laughs. When the vampire enters (always accompanied by a stolen snippet of the James Bond Theme), it's possible that you'll be unable to draw breath again until his scenes are finished. It's not because he's scary enough to put you on the edge of your seat, but because you'll be laughing too hard at the way he looks, acts, the way the camera's "interact" with him, and the silly kung-fu stuff he does. Everyone I've shown this to has borrowed it to show THEIR friends too, and the vampire character is almost always been listed as a favorite.

Another Honorable mention is the vampire flick that SHOULD have been made. Go read the Necroscope series by Brian Ludlum.. Parts 2 & 3 especially, have a VERY nice vampiric storyline. I don't recall if the vampire appears at all in part 1, but part 2 was amazing, it really SHOULD be made into a movie. Vampire books just seem to be a better medium for vampires because it leaves the imagery to your imagination, ensuring that bad special effects aren't going to interfere. Also, the vampiric nature suggests that a vampire is typically less outgoing, and more reserved, meaning that it takes a narrative to explore what the vampire is truly thinking.

The Top Ten Vampire Movies of All Time      by Michael A. Smith

This list originally appeared in Mike's Rant, PCR #134, republished here for comparison.

Let me preface my choices by saying that I'm not the biggest viewer of classic horror films. I'm not Patty or Nolan or Rick. I'm certainly not Matt, who has his own monster web site. But I like the occasional scare as much as the next guy. Two of my entries were television films from the early 70's. As far as I know, all are available for home viewing on either tape or DVD, so if I pique your interest here, by all means enjoy. Here they are, in no particular order:

   DRACULA (1933 and 1979): Might as well start with the main man himself. Great atmosphere and a mesmerizing lead performance from Bela Lugosi. If you get the chance, try to catch the Spanish language version with a different cast that was actually filmed at night on the same sets. It's a rare chance to compare the same subject through different eyes. I'm also partial to the stylish John Badham directed version in which Frank Langella recreated his award winning Broadway performance. Plus, Sir Larry Olivier's performance as Van Helsing almost takes away the stench or his next role, Neil Diamonds' cantor father in "The Jazz Singer." And, if you find a way to stomach Keanu Reeves as Harker in the Coppola version of the early 90's, you'll see the always brilliant Gary Oldman combine the horror of Lugosi and the charm of Langella into the perfect Count.
   NOSFERATU (1922) and (1981(?): While the original silent classic is best known for the vision of F.W. Murnau and the performance of Max Schrek, I equally enjoyed the later film which starred the very under appreciated Klaus Kinski. I lumped them together because that is the way I think about them. I would have liked to have seen Schrek in the modern day version and Kinski having nothing more then his expressive face to sell the terror in the silent one.
   THE HUNGER: Any time you can combine the words "Catherine Denauve" "Susan Sarandon" and "Lesbian" in the same film description, I'm there. Imagine the money "White Palace" would have made if Jodie Foster played the James Spader role! My voyeuristic intentions set aside for a moment, also a very well made and stylish film.
   FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS (or, "Pardon Me, But Your Teeth Are In My Neck"): Roman Polanski directed and starred in this very impressive combination of comedy and horror. Only sad part is seeing a young Sharon Tate and wondering what she could have become in Hollywood had she not been taken so young.
   INTERVIEW WITH A VAMPIRE: Wow! I read this book when I was in high school. The buzz at the time was that everyone wanted Travolta for the role of Lestat! As much as I would have enjoyed seeing River Phoenix's take as the "interviewer," i found Christian Slater to be right on the money. Tom Cruise in one of his most underrated roles stars along with some of the best looking vampires I've ever seen. Trust me, if more vampires looked like Brad Pitt and Antonio Bandares then NO BODY would be putting up a fight when they headed for their jugulars!
   NEAR DARK: Director Kathryn Bigelow has gone on to bigger movies, including this summer's "K19," but she has never made a better one then this. Featuring a cast of young actors, including Adrian Pasdar and Bill Paxton.
   THE LOST BOYS: After watching "Batman and Robin," it's easy now to look back on this Joel Schumacher film and see why all of the vampires and their victims look like they just walked out of an Abercrombie and Fitch catalog. Extra credit for the best on screen pairing of the "Coreys", Feldman and Haim!
   FROM DUSK TIL DAWN: So over the top it's fun to watch. Kudo's to screenwriter Quentin Tarrentino and director Robert Rodriguez for letting the audience share in the fun they obviously had in putting this film together. Even more Kudo's to Tarrentino for having his character knocked unconscious half way through the film to spare the audience his thespian shortcomings.
   DRACULA (1973): A made-for-television movie starring Jack Palance as the Count and directed by Dan Curtis, of "Dark Shadows" fame. This thing ran continuously on the CBS late move and constantly scared the bejesus out of me.
   KOLCHAK: THE NIGHT STALKER: I can't believe no one has mentioned this gem yet. Darrin McGavin in his second greatest role (the constantly cursing father in "A Christmas Story" is easily his first) as the newspaper man who always gets his story. Inspired a second TV film and a short lived series.

Honorable Mention:
JAWS THE REVENGE: Universal sucks the last remaining blood out of a once and always classic. If their intention was to cause me to run out of the theatre screaming, then they surely did their job!

BIRTHDAY WISHES: to long-time close friend and make-up maestro Corey Castellano, who turns 39(!), Sunday, October 27th. Currently, Corey is in California, at work on "Sea Biscuit", a movie about a race-horse, I believe.
And also a HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Rick Sousa, who turns (gulp) 40(!!), Monday, October 28th! many happy returms to these fine fan friends!

Wednesday, October 30th, 2002, 8pm @ The Royalty Theater in Clearwater, Florida:
"The Real Ghostmaster" ROY HUSTON will be performing "ONE SCREAM BEYOND", an actual, authentic SPOOK SHOW featuring an evening of GHOSTS, GOBLINS, and THINGS that go BUMP in the NIGHT! SEE the BURNING of the SHE-DEVIL! SEE live MONSTERS in the AUDIENCE that may be sitting next to YOU! SEE the famous SPOOK SHOW "BLACKOUT" where GHOSTS and SKELETONS are SUMMONED from the BEYOND! See ROY HUSTON perform MYSTIFYING ILLUSIONS on STAGE! And much, much MORE!

One Scream Beyond Internationally-renowned magician ROY HUSTON was a pioneer of a historic form of "supernatural" entertainment extremely popular from the 1930's to the 1970's known as "SPOOK SHOWS". Spook Shows were Midnight Magic shows with a mystical twist performed on stage at movie theaters, followed by a feature film (usually a horror movie). This thrilling and profitable form of chilling entertainment featured live magic, actual "monsters" that invade an unsuspecting audience, seances, a "blackout" where the house lights were turned off and supernatural beings were summoned, and sometimes "Grand Guingol"-style extreme special effects. The charismatic magicians who performed Spook Shows were referred to as "Ghostmasters", as they seemed capable of contacting spirits from beyond. Ghostmasters traveled from town-to-town performing Spook Shows at jam-packed theaters to the thrill of their mostly teenage patrons. Quite often, Spook Shows made substantially more money than the movies that were booked at the theaters! The Spook Show phenomenon seemed to quietly fade away in the 1970's when multiplexes began replacing the grand old movie palaces. Because the newer movie theaters no longer had stages (unlike the palaces, which did), the Ghostmaster literally had no place to perform, and this unique and fascinating form of entertainment fell by the wayside...until now.

Ghostmaster Roy Huston has resurrected the glorious Spook Show this Halloween, introducing this art form to a new generation, many of whom probably never heard of a "Spook Show". But, if you're brave enough, you'll be treated to an evening chock-full of THRILLS & CHILLS and will experience a once-in-a-lifetime magical extravaganza!
   See it at: The Royalty Theater, 405 Cleveland Street, Clearwater, Florida, (727) 441-8868
   Poster design by Andy Lalino

La Floridiana This week's issue
La Floridiana by William Moriaty
The Paranormal in Florida: Book review--"Floridaland Ghosts" by Dylan Clearfield. For the lover of the Florida paranormal who does not want to sift through countless pages in order to get themselves scared by the spirits of the dead that roam the Sunshine State, this book's for you. The stories are abridged, quick and easy to read, and get the message across with beautiful simplicity. ..................................Click here for more.

Movie ReviewMovie Review
This Week's Movie Reviews:

Review by Mike Smith. Ah, those old Urban Legends. Of course you've heard about the special video tape. After you watch it, you only have seven days to live. You haven't heard of that one? Well, let me tell you about it...... .........................................Click here for more.

The Enlightenment This week's issue
The Enlightenment by Terence Nuzum
In 1976 a film was released entitled "The Town That Dreaded Sundown". The film documented the tumultuous events of 1946 in the border town of Texarkana. The movie followed the facts fairly closely but truth be told it did take many liberties and added ridiculous comedy relief. That was the film--these are the facts. Prepare to be enlightened once again.... ..................................Click here for more.

Matt's Rail This week's issue
Matt's Rail by Matt Drinnenberg
SPIELBERG E.T. REVERSAL on the DVD and versions and battles therof........FAMOUS MONSTERS BATTLE NEARING END. The Forry vs Ferry battle almost to conclusion? ..................................Click here for more.

Mike's Rant This week's issue
Mike's Rant by Michael A. Smith
ET COMES HOME........CAUGHT IN THE CROSS HAIRS........ I'M GONNA WRITE THEM A NOVEL THEY CAN'T REFUSE........PASSING ON........ ..................................Click here for more.

Letters to the EditorWe welcome your feedback.

To send an email to Letters to the Editor write to: Crazedfanboy1@aol.com.  Any emails sent to this address will be assumed intended for publication unless you specifically instruct me not to. I can and do respond privately, if that is your preference. Frequently, it's both ways.---Nolan

"Mike's Rant" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    "Matt's Rail" is ©2002 by Matthew Drinnenberg    "La Floridiana" is ©2002 by William Moriaty    "The Enlightenment" is ©2002 by Terence Nuzum    This week's movie review of "The Ring" is ©2002 by Michael A. Smith    Thanks to everyone who contributed their Top 10 Vampire Films of all Time!     All contents of Nolan's Pop Culture Review are ©2002 by Nolan B. Canova

Webpage design and all graphics herein are creations of  Nolan B. Canova ©2002; all rights reserved.