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THE VAMPIRES OF PRAGUE, A COMEDY


LornaHansonForbes
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I know it's a somewhat dangerous idea to try my ideas out on the board, but lately I have too much free time on my hands so here goes:

for those of you familiar with MARK OF THE VAMPIRE (1935)

(spoilers follow for the four of you who don't know the twist ending....)

you know that it is a stylish, gorgeous (JAMES WONG HOWE photographed it), interestingly acted AND DEEPLY UNSATISFYING movie that contains some of the most atmospheric scenes in any horror movie and a script that has, um, some problems.

I've probably watched it two dozen times or more, after all, it barely clocks in at an hour (all the legends about the twenty minutes of deleted footage that allegedly concerned the incestuous backstory of COUNT MORA and his daughter LUNA just add fuel to the "almost was" legend of the film this could have been...) and each time I want for it to be better.

and then i got an idea...maybe it was something about the line "we all thought our vampire scheme was so simple, so foolproof that it could never fail...."

this film is ripe material for a comedy

(it's already filled with unintentional hilarity, from LIONEL BARRYMORE's curiously, crotchety performance as DR. ZELAN [sort of like of his DR KILDARE character finally lost his mind] to the UTTER USELESSNESS of the romantic lead (a leitmotif in 1930's horror movies) to the delicious irony of a great ham (LUGOSI) relishing his chance to play a vampire "I WAS GREATER THAN ANY REAL VAMPIRE."

picture it, PRAGUE, 1935- as EUROPE goes mad around them, the inhabitants of a village are convinced a local aristocrat (SIR CAROL) has fallen victim to a vampire...in reality it is Nazi Sympathizer BARON VON OTTO who has done the deed, out of lust for the dead man's daughter IRINA. Enter the well-meaning idiot local inspector, who hires a troupe of actors (a frustrated German film director on the lam from Hitler; a slightly mad, morphine-addicted Hungarian "I WAS THE HUNGARIAN CLARK GABLE!" and his daughter, who is in love with their director, but obligated to watch after her fragile father, as well as a complete WHACKO who plays The Doctor and proceeds to take everything waaaay to seriously- slapping the butler and maid with Bat thorn and militantly insisting that the heroine "GET SOME REST!!!!!!" at every turn)

The actor playing COUNT MORA snaps and becomes convinced he is really a vampire, the zaftig house maid becomes convinced that everything is real and proceeds to wreak havoc on the scheme, busting in and chasing after the actors with a hammer and stake periodically)- and an idiot manchild cousin from England (think of "THE ENCHANTING CLERGYMAN" character from THE PRINCESS BRIDE) brought into the charade out of his striking resemblance to the murdered SIR CAROL rounds out the bowl of mixed nuts that is the cast of characters.

something about the image of LUNA THE VAMPIRE GIRL on her bat-hang glider not being able to control it and crashing into the pipe organ tickles me to no end.)

I ALSO think it would be funny if the housemaid actually kills the cousin standing in for SIR CAROL and in the final hypnosis scene, they have to prop him up and move his arms like a dummy to keep with the illusion.

SOMETHING ABOUT THE RIDICULOUSNESS OF ACTORS PLAYING OUT A GRAND GUIGNOL HORROR STORY, WHICH IS EMPHATICALLY BELIEVED AS THE REAL THREATS OF EUROPE STANDING ON THE BRINK OF A GENUINE HORROR ARE IGNORED AND DISMISSED is also too delicious (and prescient) a plot theme to let go of.

whadda you think, does this have potential or no?

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Get it made Lorna, the musical that is, and I'll bet 20 years later there'll be throngs of people dressed in costume inside revival house movie theaters throughout this country of ours singing along to it!

And heck, maybe even sooner than THAT!

(...yep, I see "cult classic" rewritten all over this baby)

;)

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14 hours ago, sewhite2000 said:

Sound great! Although I do feel obliged to point out there has been a movie with sort of the same concept 2000's Shadow of the Vampire.

I know, I know....BUT that movie suuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuucks. I mean, Willem Defoe is great, but otherwise bleh!

Besides, that’s a real vampire pretending to be a fake vampire and no one believes it.

This is fake vampires pretending to be real vampires and people totally buy it, no questions asked. 

Totally different. And funnier.

And hopefully it wouldn’t suuuuuuuuuuck.

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13 hours ago, EricJ said:

I assume the header was SUPPOSED to be a Roman Polanski joke?

(And yes, the humor sounds about as subtle as Polanski's...) ?

No, it was the working title of MARK OF THE VAMPIRE. 

Ive never been a fan of subtle humor...or subtlety period. 

God, I hate THE FEARLESS VAMPIRE KILLERS with a burnin passion. 

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