32 – Public Domain Horror Night

Boo! We’ve got a horror-filled episode for you today, with a hint of Stranger Things in this week’s opening theme. Just a hint. The slightest hint.

(direct link)

The scariest thing about this week’s write-up is that I only had 15 minutes to plan it. Here’s what I’ve got for you this week:

All three films we pitched are in the Public Domain, which means that the copyright, or any other legal claim to these films have expired. This means that you can do anything with them: sell it, screen it, remake it or even put them all on a website for people to watch, without any legal repercussions. I’ve put Youtube links to all of the full films in their titles.


Despite “borrowing” heavily from Bram Stoker’s Dracula novel, Nosferatu helped define the horror and Vampire genre on screen. In 1921, one year before Nosferatu‘s release, an official adaptation of Stoker’s book was released. Drakula halála – or Dracula’s Death – flew under the radar and no copies of the film are known to exist.

drakula_halc3a1laWhen it came around to making Nosferatu, producer Albin Grau either refused or didn’t know how to get the rights to Stoker’s book.So he continued with his own version with some minor tweaks:

  • Count Dracula became Count Orlok
  • The story was moved from 19th Century London to 17th Century Germany
  • Van Helsing was removed
  • Vampires couldn’t go out in sunlight.

Count Orlok was played by Max Shreck, who performed in over 40 films during his career. FUN FACT: Max Shreck is also the name of Christopher Walken’s villainous character in 1992’s Batman Returns. Guess if that’s a fact I researched or just already knew.

A remake is currently in the works with Doug Jones – the Andy Serkis of practical effects – in the titular role

Fear in the Night

I’m gonna be honest with you guys: we watched the wrong trailer for this film. Instead of finding one for the 1947 American thriller, we watched the trailer for the 1972 British Hammer Horror starring Joan Collins and Peter Cushing. Which is still copyrighted. And I should have picked up on that.



Anyway, Fear in the Night was the first feature film for DeForest Kelley, who would go on to become Bones McCoy in Star Trek almost 20 years later.

This film had a remake in 1956 called Nightmare.

The Brain That Wouldn’t Die

This film was made in 1959, but wasn’t released until 1962. There were various censorship and legal issues which delayed the release. It was officially released in the UK in 2006.

There are a lot of continuity errors in this film. A lot. Have a look here.

That’s all I’ve got for you this week. Next week might be Doctor Strange related.