|The Night That Dracula Saved the World|
|Riffers||Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy, Bill Corbett|
|Date Released||October 30, 2015|
The Halloween That Almost Wasn't, sometimes called The Night That Dracula Saved the World, is a 1979 telefilm which aired regularly on the Disney Channel until the late 1990s. It revolves around Dracula (Judd Hirsch) trying to save Halloween from the Witch (Mariette Hartley) who threatens it. It won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Individual Achievement – Children's Program" and was nominated for three others. On VHS releases, it was retitled The Night That Dracula Saved the World. It premiered on ABC and was shot at Lyndhurst in Tarrytown, New York.
Synopsis and PreviewEdit[Spoilers Begin]
After hearing rumors from a TV newscaster (portrayed by Andrew Duncan) that Halloween may end and that he is being blamed, Dracula exclaims, "How dare they suggest such a thing? Halloween is my national holiday!" and he calls the world's most famous monsters—Warren the Werewolf aka Wolf Man (Jack Riley) of Budapest, the Mummy of Egypt (Robert Fitch), Frankenstein's monster (John Schuck), Zabaar the Zombie (Josip Elic) of Haiti, and the Witch - to his castle to make them scary again. Dracula believes that the problem is that the monsters have "exploited their monsterhood" to the point of being funny rather than scary, for example, Frankenstein's monster has let a movie influence him into tap dancing rather than scaring people. As it turns out, the rumor about Halloween coming to an end was started by the Witch herself; sick of jokes about how ugly she is, she no longer wishes to participate, and without her annual ride over the moon, there can be no Halloween. She has prepared a list of demands, which Dracula refuses to meet, so she rides off to her own castle.
Dracula pursues the Witch as a bat but realizes that the sun is about to come up and he goes back into his mausoleum. The next evening, on the night before Halloween, he and the other monsters break in to the Witch's castle. They have her cornered but she turns a painting of the Three Musketeers into minions. After a brief chase scene using The Munsters-style fast motion, the Witch is cornered in a room while Igor (Henry Gibson) has her broom. Dracula turns into a bat again to sneak under the door but gets smashed by the Witch and comes back; Igor tries climbing on a ledge and swinging into the room through a window Hunchback of Notre Dame-style, only to have the Witch open the door so he goes right back outside. "It's one of those days I wish I was dead," Dracula declares. "And stayed dead."
Although Dracula finally gives in to the Witch's demands (including a randomly added wish for him to take her disco dancing every year), she suddenly changes her mind and decides not to go along. Then a pair of children who were watching the newscast of the events on TV appear outside the door, one dressed as the Witch, and plead with her, telling her they love her the way she is. Moved by the children, she does her ride over the moon as promised.
The film concludes with a disco scene where the Witch transforms into a disco queen resembling Stephanie Mangano by doing a Wonder Woman-style spin and Dracula, figuring he may as well go with the flow, rips off his costume to reveal a Tony Manero-esque leisure suit influenced by Saturday Night Fever.
Cast and CrewEdit
- Judd Hirsch as Count Dracula
- Mariette Hartley as Winnie the Witch
- Henry Gibson as Igor
- John Schuck as Frankenstein's Monster
- Jack Riley as Wolf Man
- Andrew Duncan as Newscaster
- Josip Elic as Zabaar the Zombie
- Charles Fields as Scarecrow Boy
- Robert Fitch as The Mummy
- Jamie Ross as Father
- Maggie Peters Ross as Mother
- Kristin Williams as Witch Girl
- Henry Gibson (Igor) had gained fame as a member of the ensemble cast on the TV comedy Laugh-In. He later appeared in many cult favorite films, including The Blues Brothers, InnerSpace, and The 'Burbs.
- John Schuck (The Frankenstein Monster) would later play the similar character of Herman Munster on the syndicated TV sitcom The Munsters Today. He had previously played the android police detective called Yoyo on the short-lived sitcom Holmes & Yoyo, as referenced in one the riffs.
- Jack Riley (The Wolf Man) was known to TV audiences at the time for his portrayal of the curmudgeonly Mr. Carlin on The Bob Newhart Show.