Things Roddy said during House of Dracula


Haven’t done one of these for a while. Fiona’s brother Roddy, who has the chromosomal disorder Williams Syndrome, hasn’t been to visit for ages, because he’s no longer really able to travel without disastrous consequences. There’s really very little information about the effect of aging on Williams people, but as Roddy enters his fifties he’s clearly less self-sufficient, more nervous, and his behaviour is more unpredictable and problematic, necessitating more care and less excitement. He still likes the horror movies he grew up with, though, so we took one round to his place in Dundee to view as he was just released from hospital after having a minor collapse.

As usual, Roddy kept up an attentive non-director’s commentary on Erle Kenton’s HOUSE OF DRACULA, apart from when he briefly fell asleep. Fiona and I also interjected.

The movie begins with John Carradine flapping up to the home of Dr. Edlemann (Carradine is, initially, a bat, which makes his self-introduction as “Baron LaForce” seem questionable).


Roddy: “What’s he doing ? Is he coming downstairs?”

Fiona: “Has Baron Laugh-horse or whatever his name is put the hypnotic vibes on him?”

We asked Roddy how he would react to John Carradine’s Dracula in real life. He takes a hard line on Romanian immigrants ~

Roddy: “I would say, ‘Get back to your grave where you came from!'”

When Dracula announces he wants to be cured of his vampirism, I took a poll as to whether he should be trusted:

Fiona: “I’d trust him, the way Carradine plays him.” Roddy: “I wouldn’t.”

Roddy: “Two nurses, hmm! There were lots of nurses where I’ve been.” Roddy likes nurses.


Larry Talbot: “Do you believe that a man can be transformed into an animal?” Roddy: “I do!”

Larry Talbot: “Do you think he can cure me?” Roddy: “Of course he can, Mr. Werewolf Man! He’ll give you a cure for your werewolf impression.”

Dr. Edlemann: “Siegfried! Siegfried!” Fiona: “Chickpea? I’m hearing everyone’s name wrong!”

Roddy: “But where’s the monster? Hiding somewhere?”

Fiona: “So how come he hasn’t become a skeleton?” Roddy: “Don’t ask me, I’m not a doctor!”

Roddy: “Where’s he going?”

Fiona: “He didn’t want to be cured of vampirism, you were right!” Roddy: “YES.”


Fiona: “He’s transfusing himself with vampire blood? Surely that means he’s going to turn into a vampire?” Me: “Precisely. The one flaw in his plan.”

Me: “And that’s the end if Dracula. HE won’t be back in the next film of the series. We can be quite sure of that.”

Fiona: “Oh, we’re having a weird… thing!”


Roddy: “What are they doing now?”

Dr. Edlemann’s cat, sensing his new vampiric nature, hisses at him. The doc throws a shoe at it. Roddy: “Missed!”


Fiona: “Mrs. Overall!”

Roddy: “Was that Frankenstein did something there?”



8 Responses to “Things Roddy said during House of Dracula”

  1. theredshoes1 Says:

    Mrs Overall!

  2. theredshoes1 Says:

  3. An Acorn Antiques version of a Universal horror film would be a lovely idea — if Ed Wood hadn’t already realized it.

  4. DBenson Says:

    The “house” movies are frustrating because they never deliver the promised monster free-for-alls. Dracula and Wolfman exist in separate plotlines, and neither is present when the Monster finally climbs off the table and lumbers around for the last minute of film.

    Ironically, the Abbott and Costello film did the best job of combining the big three: Dracula and Talbot as enemies, paid off with vampire versus werewolf action at the end. And the Monster is kept busy, deployed as a shambling McGuffin and sight gag straight man rather than left on the lab table.

  5. It’s not so ironic, in that A&CMF is simply a better film than any of the Universals since Son of.

    On the other hand, Erle C Kenton is quite a punchy director, so HoD is enjoyable — though nowhere near the delririous standards of his previous horrorfest, Island of Lost Souls.

  6. chris schneider Says:

    I think the world of ISLAND OF LOST SOULS. Having said that, though, I’d hesitate to attribute much of that to Kenton’s direction. To me, it’s more a matter of Karl Struss (cinematography) plus Philip Wylie (script) plus Laughton, combined with a lucky *zeitgeist*.

    Or perhaps it’s just that, having seen the ’40s Kenton first, I tend to be skeptical.

  7. chris schneider Says:

    … that *zeitgeist* being, as I forgot to specify, pre-Code Paramount. See SUPERNATURAL (1933) and MURDERS IN THE ZOO (1933).

  8. Yes, but Kenton had a fondness for shoving stuff into the lens, or shoving the lens into stuff.
    I certainly find that in evidence in Island of Lost Souls’ rushing camera during the beast-man chants. 40s Kenton is a bit sclerotic, but traces of this thrusting tendency remain in HoD’s dream sequence/hallucination.

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