Super Mates 99: House of Franklin-Stein Part 3

Hammer Time at the House of Franklin-Stein! Chris and Cindy cover Dracula A.D. 1972, starring Horror Icons Christopher Lee and Peter Cushing! Lee is back as the Count, awakened in the 20th century to vanquish the family line of his most hated foe. Can Cushing’s Van Helsing save his granddaughter and her swinging friends from Dracula’s bloody revenge?

Then Batman tracks a vampire in Detective Comics #489 (April 1980) by J.M. DeMatteis and Irv Novick But is this undead killer the real deal? And just why is a famous magician also after the bloodthirsty beast?

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Clip credits:

Dracula A.D. 1972 directed by Alan Gibson

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


32 responses to “Super Mates 99: House of Franklin-Stein Part 3

  1. Haven’t finished the episode yet, but just to answer your (repeated) question–

    ORSON WELLES’ GREAT MYSTERIES was a British anthology show that ran from 73-74. Welles did the intros and outros, with episodes starring such luminaries as Donald Pleasance, Christopher Lee and Jane Seymour (Ra’s and Talia!), Peter Cushing, Ian Holm, and many more. It was released on Region 2 DVD, but I have never seen it. Need to search for it on YT!

    1. I used to watch that as a kid, I don’t remember much about the stories, which likely says something, but the opening music (think off-key Persuaders) and titles creeped me out.

      had no idea who the beardy man at the start was. Looking at a few of the stories on IMDb, I still don’t recall any, but the cast were darn impressive.

  2. Wow! I was just talking about Dracula AD 1972 yesterday! The 70s was definitely the era of bringing vampires into modern times. Count Yorga as you mentioned kinda kicked off the trend. Besides this movie and it’s sequel we had the amazing Blacula (with famous character actor Elisha Cook Jr) the fantastic telefilm The Night Stalker (hey! Elisha Cook jr was in that too) and one of the greatest tv mini-series and adaptations of a Stephen King novel Salem’s Lot….. (with, Elisha Cook jr!!!!)
    I actually prefer Satanic Rites if Dracula due to the spy thriller plot and Dracula essentially becoming a “Bond Villain”.
    Looking forward to the next episode!

    1. Yeah, I think after Yorga and this film (and Blacula) you were more likely to see vampires in modern settings than you were Gothic ones. I had forgotten Elisha Cook Jr. was in Salem’s Lot! I need to watch that again. Haven’t seen it in years and years.

      I think Satanic Rites is overall a better, more consistent film. I definitely like that Dracula gets to actually modernize and become a Bond villain, as you said.


      1. There’s a great Blu-ray for Salem’s Lot available for $10. It has a commentary by Tobe Hooper recorded about a year before he passed away

        1. Thanks Matt! I think I’m going to have to “bite” (ahem) on that one. Not streaming anywhere for free (or free after a paid subscription) on any of the channels we have on our Roku.


  3. Absolutely wonderful episode, Chris and Cindy!
    I’ve never made any secret that this is possibly my favourite Hammer film, (depending on the day), and you both did a splendid (and even handed) job of examining it.
    Although I’ve covered the movie pretty exhaustively in many media, you both found new perspectives and uncovered observations which I hadn’t heard before – and I love that. 
A Van Helsing/Inspector Murray prequel film? I would be there in an undead heartbeat- even in CGI! (Chris you’re probably aware that overlaid ‘deep fake’ technology has been applied to Rogue One footage with some pretty astonishing results. But I completely get that any digital recreation approach will always divide fans).
    As much as I adore this film, I have shared your pain over the opening interminable party scene. But somehow it does get easier with repeated watches, and even takes on a fascinating, kitsch ‘time capsule’ quality from an era which maybe never was. The fact that behind-the-scenes shots show that Cushing was actually present during the filming of this sequence really does blow my mind, man – was Van Helsing ‘throwing shapes’ to the ‘groovy soundz’ of Stoneground, just off camera?

    1. Thanks Alaistair! High praise from a High Priest of Hammer! I just saw a neat video today that shows the possible opening of a 70s Van Helsing series with Cushing and Coles reprising their roles!

      I have seen the deep fake versions of Grand Moff Tarkin, and much like Luke Skywalker in Mando Season 2, they actually work better! Not sure the performance and voice would work any better, though.

      I hadn’t seen this film for several years, so I guess I may have been a bit harsher on the party scene than neccessary, but I did want viewers to know it’s a bit…much. But I agree it probably works better now than it did then, removed from the “NOW” time it was so desprately trying to capture…and failing.

      But I had no idea Cushing was just off set during all of this! That’s wonderful! I bet a shiny silver crucifix that Lee wasn’t, though! 😉


  4. Impressive podcast most impressive. Using the Dragon type and talk software again this time. My keyboard is still on the fritz. I haven’t seen this movie but it looks cool. Weirdly by 1975. Cushing looked better again. In his role in Star Wars. The life that seemed to drain from his eyes return to him by that point. Perhaps wearing the bunny slippers helped. And he did live all the way till 1994. Yeah Lee looks annoyed in this whole thing. I can’t really blame him though. Still, it now has a doctor who connection to this movie and the Star Wars universe. Shada Christopher Neame being the main villain. In that Dr. who story. Grade because of the writers strike it wasn’t seen until decades later. I haven’t seen the Tom Baker one yet. But I did see the cartoon version based on the big finish version of it with Paul McGann. Where Rommana is the president and decide to go on one more adventure with the eighth Dr. and then the story follows mostly what was in the book based on the script that would’ve been that episode written by Douglas Adams. The killing with the wagon will is still probably the better death scene in this movie. At least that’s what I’ve heard.

    Again I’ve never seen this particular movie. Caroline Munroe is the highlight of the film. And she probably should’ve been featured more in this movie. Oh well. At least that’s my guess from the stills and from everything I’ve heard about this. I have seen the final fight on YouTube. On some collection of Hammer movies. Judging from this and the clips I’ve seen of what would’ve been Shoda I think Christopher Neame, is wearing his own clothes. Since the sense of style is similar. The lady playing the granddaughter is fine, but I wasn’t overly thrilled by her. Since I did see her in that one scene at the end. I just thought she was a victim. And that happened to be who than Helsing was saving in his fight against Dracula. Since again the final fight is either on YouTube or on some DVD I had. Can’t remember. Yet the Gay scene would be cut out at that point. Much like people are currently having a fit over transgender folks today. To the point where they will continually misting of people. But, claim they aren’t trans-phobic. Like when they call me him insteed of her. That being more in the real world then entertainment. And here and there on YouTube. Not to move on the Batman story was fun for what it was. Moon having multiple personality disorder was decent enough. The mask however looked a little meh to me.

    Ivorn. Probably fed on rats and animals. If he did feed on people he probably left them alive. Were he evil I don’t think you would just To Batman on the shoulder and then committed suicide. I think he generally cared for moon. If he did drain the blood from the victims it was because while there were already dead. Thanks to what moon had done. Not sure if he pierced her skins with the things or if he had a knife with him. I couldn’t tell you why Batman refuses to believe in vampires. Seeing he sits at a table with an Amazon Gollum. Two aliens. 3 when Hawk man is on the team. The King of Atlantis and all the other people he has met. They just had to give him that Scully like thing where he refuses to believe things in front of his eyes. I couldn’t tell you why. It’s just a trope that they seem to keep. At any rate can’t wait to hear the next episode.

    1. I don’t know, I think Cushing continued to age rapidly. He looks a full decade older than he does here by Star Wars, and that was only 5 years. He did live until 1994, but was in ill health the last few years of his life. He definitely kept going, despite his overwhelming grief. Apparently acting was all he enjoyed without her.

      Batman’s incredulousness about the supernatrual is just a fun gag at this point. He seems to be the worst offender of all th super heroes, yet I think he’s probably had more occult run-ins that most of his peers! And yes, when you throw in aliens, mer-people, mythic princesses made from clay, etc., why is a vampire so hard to swallow anyway?


      1. Liz Anne and Chris, I pretend J.M. Is an unreliable narrator and read it my own way: Batman knows it was real, but he’s providing this normal person an explanation she can accept and more easily live with.

    2. Liz Anne, that’s terrible, calling Diana an Amazon Gollum (I presume you mean Golem), she’s not a clay creature who walks, she’s a human who was originally a clay doll.

      Wonder Woman is weeping…

  5. Well, at this point, whenever the topic of casting for a hypothetical 1970s Batman/Ra’s al Ghul, I feel dutybound to immediately opine (and I should also direct you to my comment for one of the earliest episodes of Treasury Cast. In other words, I have to strenuously insist that Jane Seymour (kudos to mentioning her, Chris) would have been the perfect Talia, as her slight frame and generally pixie-like appearance corresponded more to the character Adams drew back then. Much as I love Caroline Munro, I think she looks too athletic to be Talia.
    I really enjoyed your brief rundown of the Batman story – even though I was occasionally picking up Detective at the time (and yes, I loved the dollars comics so much), I missed this one. It does seem like an interesting story – I think you’re on to something about the relationship between the magician Moon and Ivorn. I’ve learned that DeMatteis seemed to have a tendency to slip in gay couples in his stories in a way that wasn’t obvious in Code-approved books and often flew over the heads of younger readers like the pre-teen and then teenage me (the subject came up in an episode of Mountain Comics in which an issue of his run on Captain America was discussed).
    Anyway, maybe not Another Nail in the neck of the Franklinstein monster, but still another great show.

    1. I guess if you run out of bolts, you get nails!

      I read most of DeMatteis’ Cap run in real time, but was too young to notice that two of Steve’s neighbors (and friends) were meant to be gay. So yes, DeMatteis was sliding stuff under the radar from the get go!


    2. Edo, I prefer Caroline Munro for the same reason you prefer Jane Seymour. Munro looks athletic enough to do the things Talia does. I see what you mean about Adams’ interpretation, though.

  6. With all of the Hammer actresses featured in this movie, I was almost expecting the return of last episode’s recurring phrase “Boobs and butt for days!”

    Yes, Christopher Lee does appear very irritated in that publicity photo with all the starlets. I was very surprised to hear that there’s another publicity shot of Lee surrounded by topless actresses…I can understand why that picture isn’t included in the episode’s gallery, but I must admit I’m curious.

    It brought to mind another movie with Christopher Lee that I saw on VHS many years ago: “The Rainbow Thief,” an oddball comedy-drama starring Omar Sharif and Peter O’Toole, directed by Alejandro Jodorowsky (one of his few films that he only directed but didn’t write, and where the producer held the reins tight on Jodorowsky’s tendencies towards excess). Christopher Lee appears at the beginning of the movie, playing Peter O’Toole’s wealthy, eccentric uncle; in his final scenes, he’s seen partying with several topless women, concluding with him lying in bed, cheerfully singing to the bare-breasted beauties before he has a heart attack and goes into a coma. I remember this sequence because it was such an odd sight to see Christopher Lee in the presence of nudity. (It’s similar to my surprise at seeing Gregory Peck in bed with a topless woman in the 1970s Western “Shoot Out”…there are some actors you just don’t expect to see in those situations!) Unlike the visible annoyance Lee radiated in those publicity photos, Lee genuinely appeared to be having fun in his “Rainbow Thief” scenes, perhaps because he’s acting rather than posing, and perhaps because the role, brief as it was, was a change of pace allowing him to play a cheerful eccentric, and even getting a chance to demonstrate his singing voice.

    Man, to think that Rod Stewart could have been in this movie…

    1. Yeah, I think Lee was just done with Hammer’s version of Dracula, and done with basically being morally blackmailed into doing these films at this point. He was definitely concerned about typecasting, where Cushing never was. You can’t tell Lee’s disinterest on screen, but he sure looks put out in the promo shots! I don’t think he was opposed to nudity, just having to promote the films! I will have to check out “The Rainbow Thief”. Sounds wild!


      1. Cushing certainly wasn’t typecast, appearing a few times with the best British comic duo of all time, Morcombe & Wise, in their sketch show; in one he surprises with an impersonation of the utterly brilliant UK comedian (yeah, another one), Tommy Cooper.

        In this clip, he has a good old laugh at his image – stick with it to the costume change!

  7. Chris and Cindy, I’m not really a horror fan (except for sci-fi horror…and most Dracula movies…and the Mummy series…and…and…). Well, maybe it’s better to say I like a lot of adventure with my horror. Anyway, I’ve been an inconsistent HoF listener in the past and made my choice based on what you were covering. This year, I got caught up in the festive atmosphere. I’ve enjoyed them all, and I eagerly await episode #100.

    Two notes on previous episodes: The real Castle Frankenstein really is a tourist attraction, albeit not a heavily commercialized one. I passed it once on the way to tour the castle at Heidelberg — too much to see and too little time. Check the Wikipedia entry, if you aren’t already familiar with it.

    Second, count me as one more listener who appreciated Cindy’s history content on indentured servitude. It’s my understanding the first Africans brought to an English colony in North America served as indentured servants and not slaves. Things went downhill after that, obviously.

    Those of us who traded time in service for educational benefits in the military sometimes refer to it as indentured servitude. By strict definition, the analogy works, since our rights are significantly restricted and the contract can even be extended without our approval if the need is severe. Nevertheless, we are still far better protected from exploitation than folks were back then.

    1. So by Castle Frankenstein, are you referring to the place the Shellys and Byron spent that fateful night where they told each other scary stories? Or is there another place I’m not aware of?

      That’s an interesting correlation between military service and indentured servitude. I hadn’t really thought of that, but I can definitely see it. I guess in some ways, my grandfather, who worked for the railroad, and lived in a house provided by them for many years skirted that line as well. He eventually bought that house (and the house next to it, also owned by the railroad), and became Roadmaster for the region, so that system actually worked, for him, anyway!

      We’ve got to get back to the Mummy. We’ve only covered ONE Mummy movie in 8 seasons of HoF! I think we need to get into the Universal series…


      1. Castle Frankenstein: Nope, but it’s in a part of Germany she visited before that, and she probably heard the tales of an alchemist there named Dippel:

        I think the railroad analogy works, too. Some of my ancestors were coal miners who shopped in the company store like Cindy was talking about, so I see the industrial parallels. But telling Kentuckians about coal mining would be like bringing coal to Newcastle, as they say.

        Yes, the Mummy is the Wonder Woman of Universal’s Big Three — historically underappreciated and undervalued, but all it took was one solid movie to show their worth.

      2. By the way, I don’t mean to sound like everyone’s always known there was a real Castle Frankenstein. I found out when we passed it. My traveling companions / comrades in arms, who had spent more time in Germany than I had, said, “By the way, that’s Frankenstein Castle on the right.” Looked just like in the movies, except one wall was broken down, and it was, y’know…daylight. I said something sage and pithy like “Wait, whahunh?”

        It was the nineties. We were supporting airlift into the Balkans. As places to go to war go, Europe has the Middle East and Central Asia beat for comfort and convenience — at least until winter sets in.

  8. Another excellent episode! I’m constantly entertained by you two, no matter what movie/comic you are reviewing. You make me want to seek out all these movies/comics, if I haven’t already. Though I haven’t seen this film, it’s one of the few Hammer films that I’m aware of because of the title and the kitsch factor. I’m sorry hear how Lee was not enjoying himself as Dracula because he does such an amazing job at it! I really want to see this movie now, if nothing but for the rocking out with the guitars going all “wakka-chikka wakka-chikka”. The ’70’s were a weird and wonderful time….

    Keep up the great work!

  9. I realising I’m commenting in the wrong order, having already been to the episode 100 board. I remember seeing Dracula AD 1972 as a teenager and really enjoying it – the Seventies felt very sexy, and Caroline Munro was just wanton (i think I was going through a phase).

    I can’t remember, did they link Inspector Murray to Mina Murray? Presumably he’s meant to be a family member, though not from her marriage.

    Stephanie Beacham is a huge star here in the UK, I think you undersold her by listing mainly her US, mainly genre, credits, Rob. You’re probably punishing her for the awful wig in this film.

    If you ever deviate from films, I’d love you two to have a look at some of the BBC’s MR James TV adaptations. They’re generally just half an hour and appear annually as ‘A Ghost Story For Christmas’. Fans such as Mark Gatiss, who has started masterminding new versions – the originals were shown in the Seventies – reckon they’re the most chilling things ever. I find them dull slices of Victoriana. I’d love to hear the Cindy and Rob take… maybe you could do a special December episode.

    Or two! Ever seen the Dutch film Sint (‘Saint’ as in Nicholas)? I reckon you would enjoy it. You do need to ignore the horrible Black Peter character, I think he’s now been banned. Anyway, it’s time for the House of Franklinstein to put up the tinsel!

    I’d forgotten that Batman story, and goodness, isn’t he obnoxious in it? Credit to JM for sneaking in ladies of the night and confirmed bachelors, though! What a lovely romantic ending, although Ivorn really shouldn’t have been standing by while is chum was killing people.

    Anyway, my best to the Children of the Night!

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