Horror fans may never be able to get enough of Hammer classic movies, but will be getting a taste of one film that got away on the radio. While most of the British studio’s vampire movies were something to sink your teeth into, the latest incarnation is merely a sip to appease aural pleasure through an oral telling. BBC’s Fright Night on Radio 4 will present a reading of The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula on October 28. The unproduced screenplay will be directed by Sherlock co-creator, Mark Gatiss.
“What better way to celebrate Hallowe’en than with a lost Hammer movie?” Mark Gatiss asked in a statement. “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.”
The new dramatization is the first new Hammer Dracula production in 43 years. It is Radio 4’s ongoing Unmade Movie series. For Halloween, Radio 4 will present two Fright Night radio dramas, Jayne Lake and The Unquenchable Thirst Of Dracula.
The screenplay was adapted for radio by Mark Gatiss and Laurence Bowen of Dancing Ledge Productions. The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula will be narrated by Michael Sheen. Lewis MacLeod (Dead Ringers) will play Dracula, the role Christopher Lee would have played in the film. The cast also includes Nikesh Patel (Indian Summers, Midnight’s Children), Meera Syal, Kulvinder Ghir, Anna Madeley, Ayesha Dharker and Raj Ghatek
“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,” Michael Sheen said in a statement,
“Fright Night is back,” Jeremy Howe, Commissioning Editor for Drama and Fiction for BBC Radio 4, warned in a statement. “Be afraid, be very afraid as Radio 4 takes you from the utterly disturbing Jayne Lake through to a brand new Hammer Horror in Unmade Movies.”
“We’re delighted at Hammer Horror to see this wonderful script finally brought to life and to have its world premiere on Radio 4,” Stuart Oakes, CEO Hammer Films, said in a statement. “We are a keen to develop a film version next as there’s so much in the writing and concept that can work for a modern audience. It’s re-imagining by Mark Gatiss here is just the beginning of a new future for the project.”
The screenplay for the 1970 film was written by Anthony Hinds of Hammer Films. It was originally titled Dracula – High Priest of the Vampires. The film was going to be the follow up to the film Scars of Dracula. It was dropped and Hammer produced Dracula AD 1972 instead.
“What a treat to find another lost treasure in this unmade Hammer Horror script, and who better to make it than the impresario of British horror: Mark Gatiss,” Laurence Bowen said in a statement. “Dracula still at large in 1930s India, combining forces with an ancient Indian blood cult which preys on victims in secret ancient caverns beneath an ancient palace. Welcome to Halloween 2017!”
The Unquenchable Thirst of Dracula will air on BBC Radio 4 on October 28, 2017.
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