Sunday, May 8, 2022

Vengeance is Mine!

After a few posts featuring Frankenstein's monster, werewolves, and lesbian vampires, it's time to let Dracula have a turn, only this time his nefarious name is Sandor! Scripted by ever reliable Jack Oleck --who just might've recently seen Al Adamson's low budget drive-in classic, Dracula vs. Frankenstein from 1971 (featuring a vampire named "Zandor"), this is another nice example of 70's DC storytelling, one that takes its good 'ol sweet, 10-page time to deliver a wonderfully weird blood sucker revenge tale that really gets to the heart of the matter-- especially when an innocent young boy becomes involved! From the February 1974 issue of House of Mystery #222, and art by Frank Redondo, plus a really creepy cover by Luis Dominguez at the very end. FYI: vampires beckoning at the window of a child is one of the spookier ways to get even Mr. Karswell's skin a'crawlin', just ask him about that terrifyin' time over in Jerusalem's Lot...


Brian Barnes said...

I read this one before somewhere -- maybe a B&W collection? I like this one because the vampire spends panel after panel being melodramatic about revenge, and then just gets smacked down like ... an insect ... in the end.

The art is, as you could say for most all the pre-code DC stuff, awesome. The splash is pure 50s b-movie, a fun transformation sequence, our fist shaking discount Dracula and a lot of cute animals!

Terribly misleading cover but it's awesome, never-the-less!

Unknown said...

I remember buying this issue off the stands for a mere twenty cents. Still own it! For me these were totally the golden years for HOM and the rest of the DC mystery line. Have you already posted the one where the guy gets eaten by butterflies?

Mr. Cavin said...

This is the first time I've read it!

DC post-code horror is not my first favorite era of the genre, but I thought this was pretty excellent for just the slow-burn you mention in the intro. It's pretty rare we get a horror story with room to breathe. Plus, I thought the vampire turning into a puppy was pretty inspired. Certainly nobody in my household would have survived past his kitten gambit.

This story trope in which the vampire returns to life when the stake is removed always fascinates me. Was the vampire's ghost trapped inside the desiccating skeleton all these centuries? Or was it recalled from hell? When the body rots away to brittle bones, does heavenly magic keep the stake upright, its point in the mote where a heart used to beat? I mean, physically, that stick is coming out sometime anyway. Probably comparatively soon in the case of a framed butterfly collection--surprise, kid!--but also in a wink of geological time: Suburban development or quaking earth or tectonic subduction is going to shake things apart eventually. When that finally happens--in some far future in which the vampire's carcass has been reduced to mere bacteriological scum surrounding the last remaining idea of the monster, do you think he'll reanimate hairdo first again?

I am delighted that, with all the powers of the inked line, Redondo chose to render this beautiful reanimation in the very way classical Hollywood, with all the limitations of in-camera optical effects, would have done. You don't usually get to enjoy photorealism in seventies comics, but here you go.

Glowworm said...

I've heard of this one because the premise is rather amusing. Usually vampires turn into bats or wolves, not puppies, kittens or butterflies. I agree with Mr. Calvin, I wouldn't have been able to resist the puppy or kitten trap. That's actually quite clever. The second plot twist, that the child in question was developmentally disabled, I did not see coming at all. A developmentally disabled vampire hunter would actually be a pretty awesome premise, if you ask me.
Honestly though, butterfly themed horror stories are rather silly to me. They aren't really that scary to begin with, so I'm actually surprised that I've seen at least 3 or four of them!

Unknown said...

Enjoyed reading this one. Thanks!!