Zacherley

theisb  asked:

In the Monster Mash, the greatest carol of the Halloween canon, there's an odd mention of "Dracula and his son." This is, to my knowledge, one of the few times outside of Marvel comics that a son of Dracula is mentioned as though we should know who he is. So a) Was there something in the zeitgeist circa 1962 that would give prominence to a son of Dracula? b) Do you have other favorite or well-known sons of Dracula?

There was indeed such a zeitgeist. It was, in fact, the very zeitgeist that made the Monster Mash possible.

The key was the debut of Shock Theater in 1958. Shock Theater, and its follow-up Son of Shock, was a package of pre-1948 Universal horror, mystery, and spy films released for syndication. These would be presented in local markets by TV horror hosts like the recently departed Zacherley, similar to what modern hosts such as Elvira and Svengoolie do today.

Shock Theater was an enormous success and spurred a mania for the classic monsters that is responsible for cultural artifacts such as the Monster Mash and Forrest J Ackerman’s Famous Monsters of Filmland magazine.

So audiences in 1962 would definitely have been familiar with Universal’s Son of Dracula.

Here are some facts about Son of Dracula:

  1. It’s stupid
  2. It sucks
  3. I hate it

Also, it is actually super unclear within the context of the movie whether he’s supposed to be Dracula’s son as the title implies, or just regular Dracula except instead of suave Eastern European Bela Lugosi he’s now American farmhand trash Lon Chaney Jr with a shitty mustache. This movie is also the birth of “Alucard” as a code name for Dracula, so you decide whether that goes in the pro or con column.

On the flip side, there’s this:

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Dracula’s Daughter is a true sequel to Dracula, picking up the literal second after Browning’s Dracula ends, and featuring Edward Van Sloan as Van Helsing again (although they call him Von Helsing for some reason). In this movie, Marya Zaleska is actually Dracula’s daughter, the story is at least superficially based on Stoker’s story “Dracula’s Guest,” and it has that sweet lesbian subtext you expect from a lady vampire movie.

My favorite son of Dracula is probably Mihnea cel Rău, c 1460-1510.

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Happy Birthday (belated) to horror host Zacherley who turned 93 years young yesterday.

Here’s a rare clip of Zacherley appearing on the Mike Douglas Show circa 1975.