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"The Vampires of October"

By Devin D. O'Leary

OCTOBER 13, 1997:  Not only does the turning of the calendar page mean we're gearing up for Halloween; this October also marks the 100th anniversary of Bram Stoker's Dracula. In celebration of the bloodsucker's birthday, the Sci-Fi Channel is hosting a month-long marathon of vampire movies.

Sci-Fi's "Vampires of October" kicks off this week with the "Legacy of Dracula" festival. Monday the 6th started the whole thing off with (what else) 1931's Dracula starring Bela Lugosi. The rest of the week rounds out with Universal's other Dracula flicks. On Tuesday it's Dracula's Daughter (1936). On Wednesday, it's Son of Dracula (1943) with Lon Chaney's only turn as the caped Count. On Thursday, things wrap up with House of Dracula (1945), which, as an added bonus, has the Wolfman in it.

The next week is less interesting with a short marathon of Full Moon Video's Subspecies films. Actually, these films are better than most of the crud that Full Moon unloads, and the series does get some serious bonus points for actually being shot in Romania (which, as you may recall, was once known as Transylvania). On Monday the 13th, it's 1991's original Subspecies. This one's got two vampire brothers (one good, one bad) duking it out for possession of a magical bloodstone. Bloodstone: Subspecies 2 arrives on Tuesday, and Wednesday ends up the week with Bloodlust: Subspecies 3.

Our third week is "Romantic Vampire Week." Monday, Oct. 20 gives us 1979's Dracula with romantic Frank Langella. Tuesday is 1960's Brides of Dracula. Wednesday is Captain Kronos: Vampire Hunter, and Thursday is 1962's Kiss of Evil (aka Kiss of the Vampire).

The final week of October is "Sexy Vampire Week." Things start off well enough with the comedy romp Fright Night starring Grace Slick as a sexy vampire. Tuesday is 1992's Children of the Night. Wednesday is 1988's Vampire at Midnight, and Thursday brings 1989's To Die For. All are essentially direct-to-video fare, and if you missed 'em, you wouldn't be missing much.

Sci-Fi Channel does wrap up things with a bang, though. At midnight on Friday the 31st (that's Halloween, in case you weren't paying attention), Sci-Fi will rebroadcast the original 1931 version of Dracula. Then at 1:35 a.m., they'll broadcast the Mexican version. See, while Tod Browning was busy filming Dracula with Lugosi during the day, a talented Mexican film crew came in at night and shot their own version of the story using the same Universal sets. The Mexican version is half an hour longer and features some much more mature dialogue. Most who've seen it say it's the better of the two. Sci-Fi Channel will be broadcasting this version in Spanish with English subtitles. This is a one-shot only deal and will never be broadcast again! That's a VCR alert if I ever heard one.

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