Armagideon Time

All right, my fellow fiends, it’s time to descend into a realm of truly tragic horror…

…otherwise known as “mid-1970s primetime television.”

“Vampire,” a second season episode of Starsky & Hutch originally aired on October 30, 1976, is part of the long if not proud tradition of tossing some modestly macabre plot into the mix during the spooky season. While the tradition has survived in some quarters into the present day, rarely does it match the levels of tacky gusto in reached during the Me Decade — which applies to a lot of popcult nonsense, to be honest.

The titular vampire was played by the late, great John Saxon, who sinks his teeth into the role with scenery-chewing aplomb.

Of course, he wasn’t really a vampire — just a dance instructor whose grief over his departed wife (portrayed by a black velvet painting of what appears to be Susan Anton) led him into the occult, and thus the need to pop in some plastic fangs, don a black cape and white satin blouse, and prey upon his female students.

Saxon’s aura of menace wass somewhat undermined by the silly slo-mo shots of him charging towards his intended victims, whose attempts to flee would get fouled up by their platform shoes and massive bell bottoms. No, I’m not making this up.

The pursuit of the delusional Dracula took Starsky and Hutch to a Satan-themed strip club — with bean bag chair seating, so you know the Devil had an active hand in running it — run by the legendary G.W. Bailey as a dirtbag diabolist…

…and featuring a somnambulist Suzanne Sommers as his prize dancer.

Eventually the heroic duo tracked the bloodsucking baddie down to an abandoned theater. Before the obligatory final fight scene could commence, however, the audience was treated an extended sequence where Saxon and/or a body double performed a vampiric ballet dance.

Ever watch something that made you feel so embarrassed for the parties involved that you felt actual physical pain as as a wince reflex wracked your entire physical and spiritual being? This was a few orders of magnitude worse than that.

Such crimes against man, nature, and Terpsichore cannot go unpunished, so it was no surprise that the frantic fight in the theater’s scaffolding ended with the wannabe vampire taking a fatal dive onto the stage below. Case closed, cue borderline tasteless joke and some pass-agg ribbing between buddies.

Oh, well, at least we got to see Huggy Bear take up a side hustle selling “vampire prevention kits” for $7.50 a pop, teasing me with visions of a spin-off I could fully get behind.

Recommended listening:

2 Responses to “Halloween Countdown: Day 5 – Sucker bet”

  1. Juan Escondido

    The caption on that last photo? Perfection.

  2. SJB

    Just. Classic.

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