Packing for Transylvania
A while back, Alexandra Kubal of www.mancrates.com contacted your friendly ol’ Unimonster. Mancrates is a site that specializes in manly gifts for manly men (so, of course they came to me, natch)—no frou-frou wrapping paper or frilly bows … the lucky recipient of a Man Crate gets just that, a crate and a crowbar. The crate comes packed with a chosen assortment of everything a man could wish for—well, almost everything. From video games, to barware featuring your favorite team’s logo, to enough beef jerky to carry you through any movie marathon or from the earliest pre-game show on Sunday morning through the final words fifteen hours later, mancrates.com will box it up and ship it out. And the question that Alexandra and mancrates wished to pose to the Unimonster was, “If you could have us crate up a kit to help you survive in a horror film, what would it contain?”
Most horror fans, when posed this question, would think ‘zombie apocalypse’ and start assembling weapons, ammo … and giant, economy sized cans of pudding. Personally, I’m going to go in another direction. I already have weapons and ammo, and I’m not all that crazy about pudding. What I am crazy about is classic horror—vampires and werewolves, mummies and monsters, ghosts and ghouls. And few have done classic horror as well as Hammer Films. Beginning in 1957, this British studio resurrected classic horror from the depths to which it had plunged following World War 2, making it ‘cool’ again for a generation of movie goers.
And that’s the horror film into which I’d place myself. One of the great, period horrors of the late 1950s, when Hammer was at it’s peak, artistically speaking. There are several reasons for my selection. First, no one’s starving in a Hammer film. In fact, the vampires usually do one the courtesy of a sumptuous meal before the fangs come out and they get down to business. Second, while I’ve never been accused of being a fashion plate, I do like to bathe and change my clothes more than once a year. And lastly, we have the lovely ladies of Hammer Horror. Now, if I have to fight my way through hordes of undead walkers, then Carol and Michonne are my picks. But for sheer good looks, give me Hammer’s three Yvonnes—Yvonne Monlaur, Yvonne Furneaux, and Yvonne Romain.
So now that that’s decided, I need to pack for the trip. The first thing mancrates will be putting in that box is some holy water. I’m not talking about some tiny little vial—I want a gallon jug, preferably blessed by both Popes. And a Hudson sprayer. Throw in a box of crucifixes … the more the merrier. Why Peter Cushing could never bother with packing more than one has always baffled me. A little foresight and he wouldn’t have had to improvise with a pair of candlesticks. Besides, vampires, at least in Hammer’s take on the species, tend to travel in packs. Two more items to take care of the vampire set—a good, heavy mallet and a brace of stakes. Maybe eighteen or twenty in a quiver would be nice.
Now, compared to vampires, werewolves are relatively easy to kill, if one knows the secret of how to do it. Silver bullets; a box of fifty should be sufficient. But not just any cartridge will suffice. I’d like to keep things as period authentic as possible. So let’s start with a handgun that’s quintessentially Victorian, with a bit of a ‘Steampunk’ vibe, the Webley Mk. I, chambered for the .455 cartridge.
One last item needs to be taken care of, and then mancrates can nail my crate shut, cover it in duct tape, and ship it out. As Peter Cushing, Christopher Lee, and a host of their fellows demonstrated time and again, one simply does not battle monsters unless one is suitably attired; at least, not if one is a gentleman. I’m not sure how a tweed jacket or white tie and tails helps a person kill monsters … but why take a chance?
Creature Feature © D. Dyszel 2020
Dick Dyszel - Voice Actor