Posts Tagged ‘alan scarfe’

Nightfall #20: “The Blood Countess, Pt. 1: Blood Red”

Kate ReidWell, what can I say about this episode? It's the only two-parter in the entire run of the series and boy does it take advantage of the extra length!

This is the story – based on historical records and legends – of Countess Elizabeth Báthory de Ecsed (Báthory Erzsébet), the so-called Blood Countess of Hungary. The episode was written by playwright Ray Canale (his only one for NIGHTFALL) and featured veteran stage and screen actress Kate Reid (photo left) as Countess Báthory.

Canale said to me, in a 2004 telephone interview, that he had written the story with Kate Reid in mind, but was told that it would be impossible to get her. Undaunted, he drove to her Toronto home one night and left the script on her doorstep. After reading it, she contacted Bill Howell and asked to play the part. Apparently she loved the script and the opportunity to play such an infamous character.

The cast for the episode reads like a Who's Who of NIGHTFALL actors: Alan Scarfe as the husband, Count Ferencz Báthory, whose death is the impetus for his wife's heinous crimes. Ruth Springford as Dorattya Semtész, Elizabeth's life-long housekeeper, who unwillingly assists in her Lady's madness. Elva Mai Hoover as Darvulia, a local witch who serves the Countess with her efforts to make contact with her dead husband's spirit. And many more.

In this, the first part of the story, we see the Countess' madness begin to take shape after her husband is killed in battle. She has young girls brought to the castle as servants, only to have them slaughtered and their blood used in rituals designed to break the barrier between this world and the next and allow the Countess to speak with her husband. After which, she bathes in their blood to soften her skin and retain her youth. Suspicion in the village below the castle grows as more and more young women disappear from the countryside. But the local Magistrate turns a deaf ear to the peasantry, aware of his position and his duty to the Countess.

Probably the most disturbing sequence in the story – and whether this is based on fact or legend I don't know – is a mechanical girl created by a clockmaker friend of Dorattya's. On the surface, the device seems merely like an amusement for her Highness: a life-like young woman that can stand and move her arms, as if to embrace a person. But when a servant girl thought dead is returned to the castle by the Magistrate's order, she has Dorattya demonstrate the device's true purpose…

A word of warning: this episode, while not as gruesome as "The Repossession", is still very disturbing. Listener discretion is advised!


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The Blood Countess, Pt. 1: Blood Red

Air Date: 11/14/80
Writer(s): Ray Canale (based on the life and legend of Countess Elizabeth Bathory)
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Kate Reid, Ruth Springford, Elva Mai Hoover, Alan Scarfe, Robert Christie, John Stocker, Frank Perry, Hugh Webster, Mary Pirie, Nicky Guadagni
Commercial Synopsis: The most horrifying vampire of all. The most depraved ritual ever. A Transylvanian countess who bathed in the blood of virgins to keep herself young. She lived… and her name was Elizabeth Bathory.  (DHPA)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

Nightfall #10: “The Willoughby Obsession”

George R. Robetrson

One of the classics of NIGHTFALL, "The Willoughby Obsession" is also one of my favorites. Rarely does a character come of out a NIGHTFALL experience unscathed. Often they don't come out at all, but when they do, they are almost always changed, and in this tale, one of the main characters comes out very changed!

This is the first of a couple of episodes written by actor George R. Robertson (photo left), who appears in the series for the first time a little later in the season (he's probably better known as Chief/Commissioner Henry J. Hurst in the Police Academy movies and as General Mann in the 1980s War of the Worlds TV series).

"The Willougby Obsession" is the first episode of several to deal with extra-sensory powers in a normal human being. Charles Willoughby, lawyer to the most powerful men of the underworld, has died of a sudden heart attack — died while his wife is electrocuted in the bathtub on the other side of a locked door — and reporter Paul isn't convinced the case is closed.


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The Willoughby Obsession

Air Date: 9/5/1980
Writer(s): George R. Robertson
Production Location: CBC Toronto
Producer: Bill Howell
Featuring: Neil Dainard, Budd Knapp, Alan Scarfe, John Stocker, Lynne Deragon, Terry Vollum
Commercial Synopsis: A new play by George R. Robertson about the mysterious life and death of Charles Willoughby, the famous solicitor for the kingpins of the underworld.  (NPR)


If you like what you hear, please contact the CBC Shop and encourage them to release the series!

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