Super Mates 102: House of Franklin-Stein Part 2

Return to the Hammer House of Franklin-Stein! Chris and Cindy discuss The Satanic Rites of Dracula, featuring the final face-off between Christopher Lee’s Dracula and Peter Cushing’s Van Helsing!

 Plus, from the Comic Crypt comes Uncanny X-Men #159, where the Prince of Darkness takes a new bride…Storm! Will her teammates be able to save her from Dracula’s control?

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Clip credits:

The Satanic Rites of Dracula (1973) directed by Alan Gibson, Music by John Cavacas

Theme from X-Men The Animated Series by Ron Wasserman and Shuhei Endo

“The House of Franklinstein” by Terry O’Malley, of Stop Calling Me Frank

30 responses to “Super Mates 102: House of Franklin-Stein Part 2

  1. I’m right there with you in feeling this movie was an attempt to turn Dracula into a Bond villain. It’s ultimately The British Secret Service vs Dracula. You figure Hammer was aware Lee was soon to be the next Bond villain in The Man with the Golden Gun. The Dracula franchise was dying, and they were trying to infuse it with some new blood. (Pun of course full intended). Mixing it with the popular spy movie genre didn’t work so the moved into the Kung fu craze next.
    C’mon Cindy! Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires is AWESOME!!! I love that movie. I guess I didn’t step in any toes when I covered it on my own podcast. (Chris, drop me a line if you ever decide talk about the movie outside Super-Mates! I could talk about the movie all the time. Also… if you’re still looking for a certain Jeff Rovin encyclopedia)
    Seeing as this film takes place not long after AD 1972, how do you think Dracula put this whole conspiracy together in such a short time? Do you suppose D.D.D. was an actual rich recluse that Dracula was able to take the place of? That would explain a lot. Or… maybe I should stop overthinking the Hammer Dracula franchise.

    1. Good question if Hammer was aware Lee was going to play Scaramanga in The Man with The Golden Gun. It was released in January 74, so quite possibly.

      I’d be down for talking Legend of the Seven Golden Vampires…elsewhere. I think the movies got a lot to like, even if there’s some nonsensical stuff going on, and poor John Forbes Robertson never had a chance as Dracula with a dubbed voice and that horrible makeup job. Looks like it came out of the Halloween aisle at K-Mart!

      The only Rovin Encyclopedia I have is the Super Heroes one I’ve had since I was like 10 or 11. Never got the villains or monsters one, unfortunately.

      Good point about Denham! It would certainly make all of this much more feasible if Dracula “replaced’ the real D.D.D.

      1. If you have access to my email. Send me a line. I got a copy of The Monsters Encyclopedia you can have. It’s beat up, dog eared, and week read, but all the pages are there. It’s yours if you want it.

  2. The discussion about what Jane should have done during the chase scene made me think of a line from Steve Purcell’s Sam and Max comics: Being chased by a motorcycle gang, Max observes “We’ve got a whole big metal car! This will be like stepping on ants!”

  3. Man there are a freakin TON OF later Wolverine stories where Wolverine should believe in vampire as he met one in 1941
    I have always thought Marvel got rid of vampires cuz they’re not scary to super types.
    hey do you remember a Robin Back-up where there’s a splash page of Robin tied to a burning upside down cross?

    1. Yeah, I figured that Wolverine had some later/earlier encounters with the undead.
      Vampires aren’t scary, but Paste-Pot Pete is?
      Wasn’t that during the time Robin was hanging out in a hippie commune? Stories drawn by Rich Buckler and Irv Novick? I could look it up, but it’s more fun to just wildly speculate.

  4. well look in his OWN book dracula was world-beating threat for 9 years. Then he loses his title suddenly every vampire in the world died cuz dr strange owned a book!
    As to the robin story it was in the comics where Batman fights manikin. As for why Robin was doing. No idea I Was 8 and Catholic and there was a burnig cross! im putting it under the bed so it cant eat me!

  5. Well, I figured that, *heavy sigh*, you would eventually get to the X-men meet Dracula books. As you can probably guess, I’m not a big fan of this story or the annual in which it was basically concluded. To me, X-men and vampires, esp. the Dracula mythos, just don’t mix. And I thought this story was particularly poorly written – as you guys observed, it seemed rushed, and there’s also some silly aspects that just seemed to be there for plot’s convenience. Mainly, that pertains to what you both also noted, i.e., the fact that they initially don’t believe Kitty about vampires – in the Marvel universe, that’s silly in general, but the X-men in particular had a run-in with big-time magic and the supernatural in Annual #4 two years earlier (wherein we learned, among other things, that Nightcrawler was in fact raised by a sorceress). It kind of reminds me of an episode of What We Do in the Shadows, in which the main characters, all vampires, scoff at the idea that ghosts exist…
    Otherwise, though, I have to say that as much as I disliked the story, I liked Sienkiewicz’s art. Honestly, I think I prefer his earlier to his later, more experimental and abstract work.
    And one more thing: while there was indeed a great deal of pettiness among comics creators back then (and not just then, I suppose), I’m pretty that can’t be pinned down as the reason Roger Stern wrote the ‘abolish all vampires’ story. Stern is perhaps among the least petty and contentious comics guys around and seems to be universally loved and respected by damn near everyone in the industry.

    1. p.s., forgot to mention, as someone who was very much an X-fan back in the day:
      1) Ororo’s pupils – generally she was shown with completely white eyes, but often, esp. when ‘close-ups’ of her face were rendered by the artist, she did have pupils drawn in;
      2) you guys didn’t even have to go as far Hank/Beast for someone who could have come to check up on Ororo, as there was also Moira MacTaggert, who was not only a geneticist specializing in mutations, but also a medical doctor if I recall correctly. Yeah, she was in Scotland at the time, but they should have at least called her for a consult.

      1. Just to clarify, I never suspected Roger Stern of being petty enough to abolish vampires over a grudge. Jim Shooter…well, he’s had contentious relationships with many creators, and I know Marv Wolfman, primary writer of Tomb of Dracula wasn’t a fan, and has said so. That’s why he left Marvel. While Marv was EIC, he promoted Jim, then couldn’t stand working for him when those positions shifted.

        BUT, Shooter decreeing that such a story be written is just conjecture on my part. I probably shouldn’t be running my mouth about things I don’t really know about.

        And yes, Moira McTaggert is definitely another person they should have called in!

        Thanks for giving us a big X-Men fan’s perspective on this. Cindy and I are just casual X-fans, so I didn’t really know how this was received by the diehards.

        1. Well, I may have been a diehard back then, but I think my opinion of the Dracula stories puts me in a minority among X-fans. Most apparently seem to like the Dracula stories. (Similarly, I wasn’t a big fan of Sieinkiewicz taking over as lead artist on New Mutants, which led me to drop the title after an issue or two; most other fans, however, seem consider that run the gold standard.)

  6. Man, I never can manage to resurrect Dracula when I do Satanic rites, or even Grundy for that matter. Just dumb Satan shows up every single time. I must be doing it wrong.

    I give Hammer credit for trying to remix their horror IP into the spy space and the Shaw brothers space, and in an alternate timeline, they kept in business by continuing with these mash-ups. In the next movie Van Helsing and Dracula were feuding truckers, then they were the humans in a Muppet collaboration with Hammer, then there was one of those nature-fights-back films centering around the Dracula characters. A blue-footed booby flock overcomes Dracula at the end of that movie, but only because Van Helsing monologues early on about the little-known weakness that vampires have always had to the hypnotic sight of a blue-footed booby high-stepping.

    As for the comic … well, for a first taste of X-Men anything, I didn’t hate it. Wonder if these X-Men characters ever made it into anything bigger. Heck, what’m I saying, superheroes are every-dang-where now. I bet that guy with the knifey knuckles at least was, I dunno, a guest in one of those streaming shows.

    1. What would be the name of Hammer’s feuding trucker film?

      A) East Bound and Count Down
      B) Smokey and the Vampire
      C) Taste the Coors of Dracula
      D) Count Dracula and His Convoy From Hell (retitled US release 4 years later)

      I hear the next Deadpool movie might finally do something with knifey knuckles. They’re really scraping the bottom of the barrel!

      1. It’s the movie I’m starting my 31 Days of Horror marathon with, coincidentally. I’m just watching a lot of Delphine Seyrig’s work lately, I think she’s phenomenal.

          1. She’s an art house QUEEN. Worked with Bunuel, Akerman, Duras, Truffault, Varda, Demy, Resnais…

            The masterpiece is Jeanne Dielman, 23, Quai du Commerce 1080 Bruxelles (1975), but it’s not for every mood.

  7. Count me among the X-fans Edo referenced who loved the Dracula stories. Any flaws were overpowered by the recognition of Ororo’s awesomeness, Sienkewicz’s (sp?) art, and the proclamations of the power of faith (both Kitty’s and Kurt’s — reminiscent of Fright Night). Thanks for another great installment of HoF, Franklins!

    1. Got it, so Edo is wrong. Thanks Captain! 😉

      But seriously, it’s good to hear from both sides of the fence. Cindy and I enjoyed the story and look forward to covering the sequel at some point, despite the deus ex machina ending on this one.

  8. I enjoyed listening to this. I don’t think I’ve ever seen any of these Hammer movies but I might check one out. Sounds like a lot of good actors took part. Also I always enjoy the last segment where you cover a comic book or animated episode of the same genre. Looking forward to one in particular that your promo referred to from my favorite Saturday morning series.

    1. If you haven’t checked out any Hammer films, let me recommend the three earliest horrors, all starring Lee and Cushing: Horror of Dracula (US name for their original Dracula film), Curse of Frankenstein and The Mummy. Hammer at their very best! And that episode you’re waiting on is coming up next!

  9. I’m with Edo regarding the X-Men story. I had just dropped the book a few issues earlier, so I’m basing this opinion on what you told us in the podcast. The thing that has stuck with me since I listened last week is the notion of Count Dracula as some kind of faith-o-meter. First of all, just holding two sticks, or candlesticks, perpendicular to each other, does not a crucifix make! In Stoker’s book, van Helsing makes it clear that the holy tokens must be Catholic. Those Church of England wafers weren’t good enough. Dracula can sense the depth of one’s faith? Can he tell if someone has been baptized? Can he sense phony piety of a hypocrite regular church-goer? “This person wants! The Lord is NOT their shepherd!” Allowing other faiths’ tokens and imagery brings a different set of considerations. A Star of David seems like a real reach, no matter how strong one’s faith in God. Hurrah for Kitty’s faith, but had it been shown that she observes the Sabbath? Does she not fight evil mutants on Saturday? Do Orthodox Jews have more defense against Dracula than reformed Jews? What if someone has a Jewish father but not a Jewish mother? Can Dracula tell? What about a Muslim? Can a devout Muslim fend off Dracula with a Crescent and Star combination? If two sticks are enough to quell a vampire, how about a couple of cookies shaped like a crescent and a star? “It’s a vampire! Quick, into this bakery!” Is Dracula only held at bay by the faithful of the Abrahamic religions? What about faithful followers of a pantheistic religion? Can they ward off Dracula with their stuff?
    Now, I’m thinking about Dracula in the Marvel Universe!!!! Was there a Bram Stoker? A film from Universal? Bela Lugosi? How do they know about vampires? I’m sure Marv Wolfman addressed in in Tomb of Dracula, but it still raises too many questions!

    1. You bring up some good questions there. Of course, the trope of religious artifacts weaking or killing vampires in the hands of believers in that faith basically breaks down to “Religion =good. Vampires=bad.” Your mileage may vary.

      I do believe Wolfman and other Tomb of Dracula writers addressed Stoker and the popular image of Dracula as a fictional character. If memory serves, Stoker took the journal entries of Jonathan Harker, Mina, etc. and published them as if they were fiction, but they were indeed real. The plays, movies, etc. followed as in our world.

      As for any object being able to be used as a makeshift crucifix, Peter Cushing killed a vampire by holding onto the bottom blade of windmill. And if Cushing can do it…

  10. I’m just here for the good girl art of Bruce Timm! Yowza!

    Seriously though, what a fantastic episode, you two. I always a enjoy the House whenever (and wherever!) it shows up. Whether I’ve seen the movie or the comic, I love hearing your views on it, as you both are very entertaining. Though, partly it’s the train wreck philosophy, “When will Cindy hit Chris? I fear to watch, but can’t turn away!”. Kidding aside, this was another fantastic episode. I will definitely check out more Hammer movies this Halloween season because of you two.

    I almost did buy that Bruce Timm book, but after seeing the cover, I realized I probably shouldn’t have this sitting around the house that the kids (or the wife!) could find. But also, it’s the same feeling I get with Dan Parent. Though both are amazing artists, it just seems weird to see them draw full on nudes, even though they’ve drawn cheesecake in the past. Does that make sense? I don’t if it does but that’s how I see it.

    Well done again everyone! I’m looking forward to the next time Grundy shows up at your doorstep! Keep up the great work!

    1. Thanks Mike! I’m glad you enjoy my pain. ;-_

      It is a bit odd when Timm draws females who a bit like some of his DCAU designs. I don’t think the connection is necesarily intentional, but his females obviously have a certain look about them.

      Gentleman Ghost gets a lot of air time in our next episode, but Grundy will be back to wrap up this years series!


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