McCloud Meets Dracula
Murder victims are found to be drained of blood, and an elderly star of vampire films is suspected; Chief Clifford is on the hunt for a random sniper.
This superb two-edged satire invokes the Hammer model at the outset and throughout, pivoting on an interpolation established almost immediately.
Sundown in New York. A candlelit chamber, a coffin on a bier, the lid opens, a figure in evening dress (whose face is not seen) slowly emerges, takes a gibus and a walking stick with a silver pomme, departs.
Another figure is seen on a rooftop, armed with a military rifle and a nightscope. The vampire strikes, the sniper shoots. Two dead, with more to follow.
Both appear to strike randomly, but the vampire’s victims display a sort of pattern. One is a “bloodsucker,” as Det. Grover describes him, which is to say he works for a collection agency. The second is filling in on the job for her boyfriend, who makes deliveries for a pharmacy. The third works for Con Ed shutting off electricity.
The sniper is not, as Chief Clifford theorizes, a crazed Vietnam vet, but a boot camp washout.
Chris Coughlin has received an advance to write a book about vampires, and is greedily devouring Dracula films on television. The great actor Loren Belasco, whose talents encompass Stratford-upon-Avon and Transylvania, is interviewed by Tom Snyder, and Chris believes a fan of his is dementedly aping his hero.
All are skeptical regarding vampires, except Belasco (who claims to be a descendant of the original Count), and the medical examiner, whose interest in ancient medicine provokes this riposte from the coroner: “Working in the morgue, I’m not at all sure I believe in the virtues of modern medicine.”
McCloud captures the sniper while chasing Belasco across the rooftops, and the ending is correctly ambiguous.
John Carradine Loren Belasco
Written by Glen A. Larson
Directed by Bruce Kessler
The Third Street Bridge where the final confrontation takes place is evidently, and perhaps with some humor, another bridge entirely.
McCLOUD: (To Sgt. Broadhurst.) Still and all, I wonder if there’s anything in the whole world that would shake this town up.
1st OFFICER: (Examining the first bloodless body.) I figure a small-caliber bullet. What’s the sniper use?
(Chris Coughlin is raptly watching a Dracula movie on
McCLOUD: Ya got any blood t’ drink?
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (Not listening.) Something to drink... in the refrigerator, Sam.
McCLOUD: Any particular type? A, or O?
CHRIS COUGHLIN: There’s... milk... and beer... and some white wine.
McCLOUD: Well, I guess maybe I’ll just drift on over to a singles bar and pick up some nice, warm, willing, New York lady.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: You know where everything is, just help yourself.
ANGIE: What killed that guy, anyway?
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: I don’t know, why?
ANGIE: I don’t know, I’ve never seen anything like it, he didn’t have any blood in him.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Of McCloud, to Det. Grover.) Some man of action. I’ve seen shut-ins move faster than he does.
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: Marshal, since leaving medical school I’ve had a rather checkered career. I mean, things have not gone well for me. My father was a famous doctor, my grandfather was a famous doctor, my brother runs the biggest hospital in California. I mean, as far as they’re concerned, I sew up stiffs.
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: Marshal, I’m not crazy. I’m a damn good pathologist who just happened to turn up a victim of an honest-to-God vampire.
(Starved for information about the case, the newspaper
prints a curious headline as “a joke to sell some papers”.)
CREATURE FROM SPACE
or Bureaucratic Snafu
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Of McCloud.) How I hate it when he makes sense.
(Dr. Pollick and McCloud are discussing the case when Chris
Coughlin enters the room.)
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: Who’s she?
McCLOUD: Oh, a reporter.
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: A reporter! What’s she doing here? Haven’t you said enough to them already?
CHRIS COUGHLIN: Gentlemen, gentlemen! I am sometimes a newspaper writer, never a reporter.
McCLOUD: (To Chris Coughlin.) Chris, I know you, ya got more sources than the Mississippi. Now, if you want to find out somethin’, why don’t you just go to them?
McCLOUD: Sometimes a wounded cat’s the worst kind.
REPORTER: (To McCloud.) What happened to her isn’t human. I’ve covered the freaks in this city for twenty years, and I’ve never seen anything like that.
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: Marshal, with all due respect, we’ve got more on our hands than a routine homicide. What we’re looking for is a human vampire.
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (To McCloud.) If there’s anything drives me batty, it’s a random, indiscriminate homicide.
CORONER: Look, an ambitious young doctor in the coroner’s office
would be well advised to avoid worrying about the living dead and concentrate
on the dead dead.
DR. HARVEY POLLICK: I guess you don’t believe in the values of ancient medicine.
CORONER: Pollick—working in the morgue, I’m not at all sure I even believe in the values of modern medicine.
McCLOUD: (On telephone.) Chris! Chris! (Hangs up. To Sgt. Broadhurst.) I think she’s lost her doojies.
LOREN BELASCO: (On The Tomorrow Show.) Even in jest, I take a dim view of daylight.
(Loren Belasco has just claimed to be descendant of Count
LOREN BELASCO: Wouldn’t you say that a person who denies his heritage would be doomed to everlasting damnation?
TOM SNYDER: Wouldn’t I say it, why, Loren, I say it here night after night, right, guys? You’ve heard me say it.
1st CREWMAN: (Off-camera.) Right, Tom!
2nd CREWMAN: (Off-camera.) Whatever you say.
TOM SNYDER: (To the camera.) I think you’d agree that we certainly got our money’s worth here this morning.
(McCloud arrives at the Belasco mansion on a rainy night.)
LOREN BELASCO: Take those wet clothes, Morris, see if you can dry them out.
McCLOUD: Oh, that won’t be necessary, it’s just muh old sheepskin, it’s been through a lot worse than that, just stand it up anywhere.
McCLOUD: (To Loren Belasco, who is warming himself at the fireplace.) I wouldn’t stand too close to that fire there, that’s hot enough to barbecue a four-ton steer!
DET. GROVER: (To McCloud, of the collection agency the first bloodless victim worked for.) One o’ those high-powered outfits that lean all over ya for a ten-buck debt.
McCLOUD: Joe, you’re a cop, not a social worker. Get tough! We got
a killer on our hands.
SGT. BROADHURST: You sound more like Clifford every day, you know that?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Walking up.) That a fact, Joe?
McCLOUD: (In the cavernous and candlelit Belasco mansion.) This place has got more room than a porcupine at a love-in.
(Belasco’s butler, Morris, has a way of vanishing when your
back is turned.)
McCLOUD: (To Chris Coughlin.) I’ve been around dead cats that make more noise than he does.
McCLOUD: (To Chris Coughlin.) Ya know, I once knew a Missouri mule that I could talk to easier.
LOREN BELASCO: (After emerging from coffin, hearing her scream.) Really, Miss Coughlin. I’d have thought you’d have been more amused.
CHRIS COUGHLIN: (Terrified.) I really
must be going, Mr. Belasco.
LOREN BELASCO: (Advancing upon her with his walking stick.) No, Miss Coughlin, I’m going to give you immortality!
McCLOUD: Why are you doing this, Belasco? You’re throwin’ away a lot o’ years!
LOREN BELASCO: (Holding Chris Coughlin by the throat.) How many years? Fifty? A hundred? How many policemen, how many torchbearers in the night, seeking out the soul of Dracula? They’re the bloodsuckers, not I!
CHIEF CLIFFORD: (Of the sniper, to Det. Grover and the squad on rooftop stakeout.) So far, he’s made his way up 4th Avenue like a military operation. I’m going with the theory that we’ve got a psycho ex-GI on our hands.
McCLOUD: (Pursuing Belasco across the rooftops, he literally stumbles on the sniper and captures him.) Well, if that don’t beat all.
(On the Third Street Bridge, McCloud and an officer are
climbing up a tower after Belasco.)
2nd OFFICER: Hey, cowboy, who does he think he is, Batman?
(Atop the Third Street Bridge.)
McCLOUD: Ya know, you’ve got things confused with your films! This is no role you’re playing now!
LOREN BELASCO: Was it a role, or a convenient façade for the Prince of the Undead?
LOREN BELASCO: (To a policeman advancing toward him.) We’ll fly together to eternity! (Leaps from tower.)
McCLOUD: (Of the sniper, a humiliated boot camp washout.) What’s
gonna happen to the boy?
CHIEF CLIFFORD: I suppose the same as happens to all the broken people. We’ll sweep ‘im away.