Mystery in Dracula’s Castle (1973)

Article 5067 by Dave Sindelar
Date: 2-1-2016
Directed by Robert Totten
Featuring Clu Gulager, Mariette Hartley, Johnny Whitaker
Country: USA
What it is: Family thriller

Two boys making their own Dracula movie decide to use a lighthouse for their castle, unaware that the men living there are actually jewel thieves.

No, it’s not some forgotten vampire movie; it’s your basic comedy thriller that made its debut on “The Wonderful World of Disney”. As such, it’s light-hearted, disposable kiddie fare; it’s not bad, but it’s predictable and pretty minor. It’s most interesting aspect to fans of fantastic cinema is that it uses a “monster kid” tradition as its backdrop, as one of the maguffins in the plot is the children’s desire to film their own Dracula movie, and much of this movie features the shooting of that movie. The movie opens with the children watching a Dracula movie at the local theater, but I suspect that this footage is not from an already existing movie but was filmed exclusively for this one. A few observations – the filming title of the children’s movie is GRIP OF DRACULA, but the final title is DRACULA AND THE SHERIFF’S DAUGHTER. Also, I can’t help but notice that the monster on the posters in the boys’ bedroom look similar to the Universal monsters, but also look different enough that they probably didn’t need to get permission from Universal.

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