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Dracula screenplay unearthed in DMU's Hammer Horror archive being performed live at horror festival

A Hammer horror which was never filmed is being performed live on stage after being unearthed at De Montfort University Leicester (DMU)’s Cinema and Television History (CATH) archive.

dracla-inset

CATH is the custodian of the Hammer horror archive, a collection of more than 300 scripts, as well as film posters, books and other memorabilia.

The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula sees the evil vampire head to India to spread his evil influence. The screenplay, by Hammer writer and producer Anthony Hinds, was written in the late 1960s and it was intended as a vehicle for Christopher Lee.

It is being performed by film historian Jonathan Rigby and a cast of actors at Nottingham’s Mayhem Festival this month.

Rigby, who is an associate research fellow of the CATH Centre, will narrate the story as the actors including Jonny Phillips (Agatha Christie’s Partners in Crime) and Sohm Kapil (Bend It Like Beckham: the Musical) bring the characters to life on stage.

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Professor Steve Chibnall, Director of the CATH Centre and Curator of its Hammer Script Archive, said: “It’s very exciting that this unfilmed script, set in a part of the world (India) dear to many audiences in the East Midlands, is at last seeing the light of day. The archive has another 70 unmade scripts and we have a student working on them for a PhD. We would be happy to consider other theatrical collaborations.”

The script began life in September 1970 as Dracula - High Priest of the Vampires, written by Anthony Hinds and set in India, probably because Warner Bros, who were one of the financers of Hammer Films had frozen assets in that country. Ultimately, however, financing the film proved problematic and Hammer dropped the project in favbour of a series re-boot, Vlad the Impaler, which also failed to get off the page in the increasingly straightened circumstances of the mid-1970s.

Mayhem co-director Chris Cooke said: “This is a completely unique event for Mayhem and a great pleasure to work with horror expert and film historian Jonathan Rigby.
“He’s also a talented actor and will be perfect as our narrator, taking a live audience by the hand and leading them into Gothic darkness.

“Hammer Films have never felt more important to the history of British cinema so this is a great opportunity for an audience to imagine a piece of classic cinema that sees Count Dracula resurrected before their eyes.”

The Mayhem Film Festival takes place from October 15-18 at the Broadway Cinema, Nottingham.
Posted on Friday 9th October 2015

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