Unmade Dracula movie from Hammer being resurrected as radio play

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Oct 16, 2017

The world's most famous vampire is rising from the tomb again ... and this time he's coming for you over the airwaves.

As part of its Fright Night festivities on Oct. 28, BBC Radio 4 will air the reading of the brilliantly titled The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula. It's not a radio play per se, but an unproduced script from the legendary Hammer Studios -- where Christopher Lee played the Count in classic films like Horror of Dracula and Taste the Blood of Dracula -- that somehow never got in front of the cameras.

The reading will be directed by Mark Gatiss, who is best known as a writer and actor on Doctor Who and Sherlock, while also appearing on Game of Thrones as Tycho Nestoris (Cersei's contact with the Iron Bank of Braavos). Gatiss said in a statement about the Dracula production:

“What better way to celebrate Hallowe’en than with a lost Hammer movie? And not just any Hammer movie! Anthony Hind's thrillingly titled The Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula is a wonderful, rich and atmospheric script and way ahead of its time - set in the '30s, a sort of 'Heat and Dust and Fangs'! It was nearly made in the early '70s on location in India and I was thrilled to assemble a fantastic cast headed by Nikesh Patel, Michael Sheen, Meera Syal and Anna Madeley to bring this forgotten gem to gory life.”

Gatiss and Laurence Bowen have adapted the screenplay for radio, Lewis MacLeod will star as Dracula, and Michael Sheen will narrate.

"The prospect of a long-lost Dracula script offering itself to me like a succulent pale neck was just too tempting. I devoured it in one sitting and cannot promise I won't strike again," said Sheen.

The story finds Dracula in India and aligning himself with an evil blood cult that sacrifices its victims in secret caverns beneath an ancient palace. The proposed movie, originally titled Dracula, High Priest of the Vampires, was meant to follow 1970's Scars of Dracula but ended up being shelved in favor of the swingin' Dracula AD 1972, which had the Count rampaging through London's counterculture youth.

Although it's not being made for the big screen, The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula will be the first new Hammer production featuring the character in 43 years (the last one was 1974's The Legend of the 7 Golden Vampires, which did not even star Lee as Dracula).

The current CEO of Hammer Films, Stuart Oakes, commented that the studio -- which has made seven films since reviving in 2007 -- is interested in actually bringing The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula to the screen at long last, as well.

Visit the Radio 4 website here to listen in on the 28th, and check out a pretty awesome old-school poster above, courtesy of the Hammer website.

(via Den of Geek)