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Purple Playhouse - Dracula

episode 1.5

Canada 1973
produced by
directed by Jack Nixon-Browne
starring Norman Welsh, Blair Brown, Charlotte Hunt, Dan MacDonald, Nehemiah Persoff, Steven Sutherland, Peter Hughes, Robert Joy, Marie Romain Aloma, Marcella Saint-Amant, Maud Whitmore, Ita Darcy & Robertson Davies as host
screenplay by Rod Coneybeare, based on the novel by Bram Stoker

TV series
Purple Playhouse, Dracula, Van Helsing

review by
Mike Haberfelner

Jonathan Harker (Dan MacDonald) has traveled to Transylvania to sell Carfax Abbey to the mysterious Count Dracula (Norman Welsh) - and he notices only much too late that the count has ulterior motives and ends up a prisoner in the count's Transylvanian castle while the count travels to the England.

Back in the UK, lovely Lucy is suffering from some mysterious illness. Her husband Jack Seward (Steven Sutherland), though a doctor himself, knows no cure, so he calls on his mentor Van Helsing (Nehemiah Persoff), who of course is quick to notice all signs of vampirism, but he has come too late to prevent her death. Not much after that episode, a physically drained Jonathan Harker stumbles into the house, and initially, Van Helsing thinks he's the vampire, but from him learns the story about Dracula's coming to England. Mina, Harker's fiancee and the late Lucy's best friend, soon shows the same symptoms as Lucy. So Van Helsing makes up a plan, to concecrate all the coffins he has brought with hosts, this way cornering him and then stake him. And after Dracula is allowed to give a compassionate speech, it's Lucy who drives the stake through his heart.


This is the story of Dracula simmered down to less than 60 minutes, so of course some considerable omissions have been made and everything has been streamlined. Also, it was made on a tiny budget that didn't allow for any exterior shooting or fancy sets. The main let-down of this version of the book though is that it's incredibly stagey - and thus comes across as static, un-cinematic, and also very hammy. That and some scenes are more reminiscent of silent cinema than anything that has happened since, due to a total lack of interest in proper camerawork or the like. Of course, this version does have some obscurity value to it, but in all it's a bit of a letdown, unfortunately.


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review © by Mike Haberfelner


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Robots and rats,
demons and potholes,
cuddly toys and
shopping mall Santas,
love and death and everything in between,
Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

is all of that.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to
a collection of short stories and mini-plays
ranging from the horrific to the darkly humourous,
from the post-apocalyptic
to the weirdly romantic,
tales that will give you a chill and maybe a chuckle, all thought up by
the twisted mind of
screenwriter and film reviewer
Michael Haberfelner.


Tales to Chill
Your Bones to

the new anthology by
Michael Haberfelner


Out now from




On the same day
a Burglar wants to kill you
and your Ex wants
to make up ...
... and for the life of it,
you can't decide


A Killer Conversation

produced by and starring
Melanie Denholme
directed by
David V.G. Davies
written by
Michael Haberfelner
Ryan Hunter and
Rudy Barrow

out now on DVD