As the dark hordes of the undead stalk the Earth on All Hallow Even seeking new victims to feed their thirst, one among them strikes more terror in the hearts of men than any other.
He is the dreaded Count Vladimir Dracula, newly arrived from Transylvania (in his coffin) who brings with him the secret of the vampire brides and unspeakable immortality.
Cobwebs, spiders, flying bats and the Prince of Darkness himself will be on hand to throw a fun scare into patrons of the Tidewater Grille Dinner Theatre in Havre de Grace Halloween night when the company presents an original adaptation of the horror classic.
Written by Sharon Heuer of Bel Air, a professional actress and writer, this script features some of the original characters found in the Bram Stoker novel which are usually deleted from stage and movie versions.
The familiar story tells of the bloodthirsty Count's devastating visit to the English countryside and his subsequent killing conquest of innocent young Lucy and his attempts to make her friend, Mina, a member of his ungodly circle.
The hissing, teeth-gnashing, bloodsucking monstrosity who has been stalking victims for centuries meets his nemesis in the stoic personage of Dr. Van Helsing, who, with the help of his stalwart friends, Arthur Holmwood and Quincy Morris, thwarts the count in his ghastly game.
"Dr. Van Helsing employs the usual tools of garlic wreaths, crucifixes, wooden stakes and bright light to deter and destroy the vampire," says Heuer in a recent interview. "But it was a knife wielded by Morris, a brave American, not Van Helsing, that plunged into the heart of Dracula, causing the vampire's body to crumble into dust and leave nothing behind but his great cape."
The theater seats 60 comfortably. "The set has to be simple in such an intimate setting," says Heuer. "We do everything with lights. All of Dracula's scenes are done in reds."
Another change from Heuer's original adaptation is the elimination of one of the main characters, Jonathan Harker (Lucy's husband).
"We lost the actor playing the role and now have split his lines between Renfield, the fly-eating mental patient, and Dr. John Seward, the supervisor of the institution," explains Heuer, who is the director, costumer and set designer for the show.
"I am also playing the part of Mina," she says. "There will be a lot of interaction with the audience. The brides will wander through the audience drawing them into the play."
Appearing in this production are Arin Phillip Heuer, Erick Heuer, Kevin Walsh, Geoffery A. Harris, Wayne M. Marlowe, Joyce L. Bauer, Ralph R. Denton, Kristina Green, Cheryl Rosenberg and Gabriel Rozzi as Dracula.
A sit-down dinner is being offered for the run of the play. The show is being staged Tuesday and Wednesday and Nov. 8, 9, 10, 11. Dinner is served beginning at 6 p.m. and the show starts at 8 p.m.
Tickets are $30 per person. For reservations and further information, call the Tidewater Grille Dinner Theatre at 939-3313.