GA: Today my guest by telephone is Count Dracula, the infamous Transylvanian vampire. October is still his big month each year as he leads his monster brigade in preparations for their big Halloween extravaganza. Count Dracula, thanks for spending a few minutes with us today.
CD: The pleasure is all mine.
GA: Count, I’m a little surprised you agreed to do this interview during the daytime hours.
CD: It’s not a problem as long as I stay indoors and out of the sunlight. In fact, daytime gives me a chance to take care of a lot of the business side of my career, so I can free up my nights.
GA: I see. I also notice you don’t seem to have a Transylvanian accent.
CD: I’ve been in the United States for 134 years. I lost the accent after the first six months. If anything, I’ve picked up a Kentucky drawl, which is a little embarrassing. “I vant to bite your neck” comes out like “Ah’m a’gonna bat yer nick” if I don’t focus. It really loses its punch.
GA: I imagine so. Tell me, Count, after all these centuries do you still get excited by Halloween?
CD: You know, it does get to be a challenge. Every year I have to remind myself and the rest of the Big 5 – Frankenstein’s Monster, the Wolf Man, the Mummy and the Invisible Man – that we’re playing to a new crowd, to a lot of people who have never seen us before. So we have to keep it fresh, and make sure we scare people like it’s the first time.
GA: There were rumors that you and the Wolf Man, Larry Talbot, had a falling out and he was leaving the group. Can you give us the latest?
CD: That was very much overblown. Larry wanted to branch out on his own for a few projects, and that’s fine. He tried doing a couple of movies without the rest of us, but really, let’s be honest, I’ve been the only one to have any sustained success as a single. Still, everyone in the group is welcome to pursue their own careers. But I think we all understand that when October rolls around, we’re much stronger together than apart.
GA: And what about Frankenstein’s Monster? Is it true he’s on his third brain?
CD: We just call him Frankie. No, he has his original brain, although there was some confusion after the fourth movie. Then he was having some weird pains in his lower abdomen, and everyone thought it was his appendix, until we realized that Dr. Frankenstein never put that in to begin with. He’s OK now.
GA: Tell me about this year’s plans and what people can expect.
CD: Well, it’s really the same show we’ve been doing for about a hundred years. I turn into a bat and bite a few necks. Larry stares at the sky and waits for the full moon, and then turns into a wolf and runs into the woods. Frankie lies down on a big table, gets some jumper cables hooked up to his electrodes, then destroys the laboratory. The Invisible Man sneaks up on people and knocks off their hats, then steals a bicycle and rides it around in circles. People never get tired of that one.
GA: So really, nothing new?
CD: We did have to give the Mummy a new twist. He drags around so slowly that people just started taunting him, you know, standing just a few inches away and saying, “Can’t catch me! Can’t catch me!” and then jumping out of the way at the last second. So we bought him a guitar and now he sings a few songs.
GA: Anything else?
CD: We had to expand the Invisible Man’s segment. He feels like if he’s not performing no one even knows he’s there. We try to pump him up, you know. We’ll say, “Hey, you look nice today,” and he’ll be like, “How would you know?” Which is a good point.
GA: This is a little sensitive, but I have to ask this. A couple of years ago there was a rumor that the Frankenstein monsters were headed for divorce court. They both refuse to comment. Any news on that?
CD: Well, as you know, we occasionally bring along the Bride of Frankenstein as an added attraction. But between his public appearances and his tryouts every year for the NBA, she felt Frankie was ignoring her. So he finally agreed to give up the basketball, which was good because while he’s tall, he just can’t jump, and his defense was terrible. So everything’s alright there now.
GA: People feel like they know all of you so well. Are there any big misconceptions about the group that you’d like to clear up?
CD: Well, obviously, I don’t wear a tuxedo all day. Like right now, I’m just wearing an old t-shirt and a pair of sweatpants, just like every other guy on his day off. Frankie really does own more than one suit. And the Bride has changed her hairstyle from time to time, but come October she goes back to the beehive with the lightning bolts up the sides.
GA: Anything you’d like to add, Count?
CD: Just that we really appreciate the support we continue to receive from the fans. Every few decades there are some new monsters that come along – Jason, Freddie, and then there were all those big galoots like King Kong and Godzilla, not to mention the zombie craze. But people keep lining up for our classic show, and we appreciate it. Don’t forget that this year our Family Pack ticket package is on sale at Burger King and comes with plastic figurines of the Big 5. Collect all five and get a free milkshake.
Reach Gary Abernathy at 937-393-3456 or on Twitter @abernathygary.