I’m still picturing how such a crazy idea of an all black and white campy horror movie episode got pitched in the writers room and made it through the initial brush off. Not that I mind, for “Monster Movie” is brilliant, but still, it’s so nice to see that a show has established itself enough where it can get away with such goofiness and not get protests from the network. Granted, such episodes are for the fans rather than the masses, and the lower ratings for these episodes prove that, but fans matter most.

Every trick in the movie making book from the 1930’s is done here. Someone did their homework, and I credit this to be the most technically perfect episode of the series. We discover no detail is spared the second the old Warner Brothers logo fades on the screen, the same logo that kicked off such Warner classics as Jezebel, The Maltese Falcon, and Casablanca. The credits roll, with names displayed in creepy block letters while eerie music playing prominently in the background. My only complaint so far is that the black and white is too clear. Everything was so grainy back then. I’m sure that’s asking for too much authenticity though.

A dark hazy night and the Impala’s headlights zoom from the horizon to the increasing sound of running violins. The darkish Impala swishes by, and after a lightening flash “Welcome To Pennsylvania” is changed to “Transylvania.”This supposedly takes place in Canonsburg, PA, which is known as the most radioactive town in America. I’ve been through it on my way to Pittsburgh a few times myself, and the statue of hometown boy Perry Como alone tells me this town is off.

Dean turns off the scary music (the radio around here sucks, hee) and we hear the rumble of the Impala, reminding viewers this is still a Supernatural episode. Dean is geeked about the prospect of cutting off some vamps heads, Sam is in a dour “the world is ending” mood. Good thing they’re going to Oktoberfest, Sammy needs to loosen up a little. Dean properly sets the perspective. “It’s like the good old days, honest to goodness monster hunt. It’s about time the Winchesters got back to tackling a straight forward black and white case.” Ah, there’s that Ben Edlund biting wit! 
The Impala goes off in the horizon and a giant circle closes around it before going to black to signal end scene. I never understood why the old films did that but hey, cool to see it here. Loud Polka music plays (The Happy Schnapps?) and the outrageous Oktoberfest village set appears, with plenty of men in lederhosen and gorgeous women in maiden outfits with short skirts, one even posing for a picture from a tourist. The hokey small town festival banner is shown just in case we don’t know what’s going on. ”Oktoberfest”, complete with strange sponsors like 97.2 FM Rocks. ”Classic Rock that Rocks.”So classic rock doesn’t roll? I don’t know how many times I’ve been to podunk festivals here in Ohio that had a banner ripe for my instant nitpicking. They make it too easy. The black and white scenery is interrupted by one of those ugly bright green CW banners, and man do they stick out like a sore thumb against the black and white background. It ruins the authentic look, not that they aren’t annoying during regular episodes.  

Sam and Dean get out of the Impala in suits. Wow, they look just as great in black and white as color. The white shirts stand out more. Given the German costumes everywhere, they’re overly dressed. Dean mentions they still need to see the new Raiders movie, and Sam says he already saw it. “You were in Hell.” “That’s no excuse.”Aw, come on Dean, when are you going to accept Sam went on with his life?
Dean naturally spots the big pretzel, buys two, and what’s this, Sam takes a bite?? Sam?? The brother that never eats?? Not only does he take a bite, he digs in as vigorously as Dean. Man, Sam has changed since Dean’s been in Hell. 

The brothers chomp away and sexy blonde girl in skimpy German costume walks by. For a true old-fashioned Hollywood recreation, the damsel in distress must be a knockout blonde. There were never brunettes and redheads would have appeared as blonde. They both ogle, but then Sam finds the sheriff, and they’re agents Angus and Young. Fantastic! We’ve been waiting several seasons for AC/DC aliases. There’s another reminder that this is a Supernatural episode.
They examine the body in the morgue, and the sheriff thinks the whole thing is a shame, happening during tourist season and all. Sam pulls the sympathy for the victim card. ”Definitely not the thing Marissa Wright needed.” In those days, heroes were highly moral and there was a clear line between right and wrong. Sympathy for victims disappeared when films with high body counts and anti-heroes like Bonnie and Clyde came along. The sheriff has a profile. “Some Satan worshipping Ann Rice reading gothic psycho vampire.” Sam shrugs, actually agreeing with that assessment. Who knew Ann Rice could wreak such havoc?

By now, some may notice (about two of us) the outdated camera focus techniques being used in this film. In the days before Citizen Kane, focus of the camera was shallow, making the characters on the screen clear while the background was fuzzy. There weren’t many wide shots either, so only a small part of what was happening in the room was seen at a time. Sam and Dean enter the bar, Dean hits on the waitress from earlier (Jamie), and here is our first glimpse of Jensen Ackles going into iconic Hollywood leading man territory. ”I’m a Maverick ma’am, a rebel with a badge. One thing I don’t play by is the rules.” Wow, that sounds as ridiculous coming from Dean as John McCain. Yet Dean delivers it with a certain swagger that every Hollywood lead used at the time.

Jamie is unimpressed, as is Sam, as are half of us (the other half laughing their fool heads off). The brothers go speak to Mr. Brewer, who is drinking out of one outrageously sized beer stein. I want one! It would complement the giant martini glass on my bar. Sam and Dean try to play it straight, and Dean even says “we have a lot of experience with strange.” There’s our clue that this guy can top that. He swears it was a vampire, Count Dracula style, right down to the accent. Sam lets a smile slip, then hides it in an attempt to be professional.  I’m taken back to that same reaction he had when listening to the guy’s alien story in “Tall Tales”. I start laughing hysterically based on that memory alone, for I love “Tall Tales”.  

Mr. Brewer does his hilarious Dracula impersonation, which proves to be better than the actual Dracula we see later. Flash to Sam and Dean, who are both stunned. Time for a TiVo pause, for that look alone is worth about 10,000 words. As I wipe the tears from laughter away from my eyes, I go on. ”You do believe me, don’t you?” Faces still frozen in deadpan silence. The humor in this one is dry, just the way I like it.

Sledgehammer clue #1. Woman wipes lipstick from face, and the camera focuses on the napkin being placed on the bar. Dean asks for a giant beer by flirting with Jamie some more and Sam picks up that napkin for another close up, just in case we didn’t catch the clue the first time. Clues are far more subtle now, which is strange considering our attention spans are shorter. 

In this scene, Dean managed to surprise even me. I could never imagine such things coming out of his mouth, but then I remembered Ben Edlund is the writer, so anything goes. Once they’ve decided this case isn’t for them, Dean is ready to get in the mood of Oktoberfest. ”Beer and bar wenches.” Sam finds the term offensive (remember he’s playing the moral sidekick in this one), but Jamie plays along with Dean, making her the plucky leading lady.  
Then Dean completely shocks us with his theory that since he came back from the dead, everything about him has been healed. ”No bullet wounds, knife cuts, none of the off angle fingers from all the breaks, I mean my hide is a smooth as a baby’s bottom, which leads me to conclude, sadly, that my virginity is intact. I’ve been re-hymenated.” Oh, did he just go there? Ben Edlund is a warped man. I’m too busy giggling over the mere notion of Dean being pure. Sam agrees with my “angels can’t do that” thoughts. I’m waiting for Castiel to appear in thin air and say “that’s it, back to Hell for you.”

After Dean’s failed attempt hitting on Jamie, declaring the case is “not weird enough”, there’s a scene to fix that! Cut to phony studio setting, complete with fake moonlit backdrop, a wolf howl, fog everywhere and couple in the car. Girl hears something, horny dude tries to get her to put out, so naturally he becomes werewolf food. Cue the standard horror movie scream and this is all of a sudden their kind of case. 
Sam and Dean interrogate the girl, who’s telling her strange tale while sipping on an outrageously large soda, thus turning scared witnesses consuming large beverages into a running gag. I used the word “soda” since the setting is Pennsylvania, but in Ohio it’s called “pop”. Yes, strangely enough, that debate has come up at family reunions in the Keystone State. She declares the villain was a Werewolf and now Sam fights off a bitchface. Both he and Dean are less amused now. They’re off to the morgue. After nearly puking over the mangled mess (continuity!) they determine the culprit isn’t a psycho wannbe, but considering the heart is there, it’s no werewolf either. Still, the sheriff shows them canine hairs from the scene. This is getting too weird for even them.

Back at the bar and what’s this, Sam’s eating again??? They both are chomping on burgers? This story is definitely weird. Pretty blonde waitress is back with larger beers, and the waitress wants Dean this time. So it takes a Werewolf mauling to make him attractive? We get another heavy handed clue of other waitress with lipstick on napkin. Dean asks if Dracula could turn into a bat, for that would be cool, and then gets beer foam all over his upper lip. I again go back to “Tall Tales” with the caramels stuffed in his cheeks. I’m pausing again for another fit of laughter. 

Next we see the Canonsburg museum, thanks to the clearly lit sign outside. There’s dark storage area with sarcophagus and a security guard on the phone asking where it came from, and this is where the lighting of the genre and era becomes rather noticeable. The room is covered in dark shadows, except for the swipe of light over the signs so we can read them, and partial lighting of the security guard’s face via reflections off the wall.

The light sprays on the lid as it slowly moves and the mummy rises from bright fog in the box into the dark room. That’s supposed to add a scary element for those of us that are immune to this tactic by now. It freaked the guard out, that’s for sure. We only see his stunned eyes while the rest of him is dark. He shoots and the bullets don’t hurt the mummy, letting us know whatever creature it is, it’s supernatural. The suspenseful scene is cut away to the outside of the building, where lightening strikes. 


There’s a body bag and Sam and Dean are on the scene, which isn’t any better lit. Shouldn’t someone turn on some lights for the investigation? Sam finds the novelty company tag on the sarcophagus. Dean finds a bucket of dry ice inside to which a now very frustrated Sam replies, “This is stupid!” There’s another reminder that we are watching a Supernatural episode. Hollywood heroes would take the developments seriously. 

Dean rushes off to meet bar wench, but is running late. She waits alone, which is the typical setup for the visit from Count Dracula. He appears from the shadows, talks in his scary vampire voice complete with accent, but instead of quivering she responds with a mace spray, and he agonizes over the pain in a normal voice. Modern meets classic! In those days, the woman would never fight back. Dean shows up to rescue the damsel and fights the vampire, who easily overtakes him. We get the dramatic show of vampire teeth inching slowly toward Dean’s neck just like in the movies. Dean grabs his ear, and it comes off. Uh oh! Yes folks, back for another engagement, the shapeshifter! 

Faux vampire runs, disappears over the fence, leaving one confused (hilariously confused) Dean behind. Instead of disappearing into the shadow though, he escapes on a Vespa. Oh, this is nuts! Dean watches from behind the gate in frustration, and we hear the high pitched “beep beep” that comes from the scooter. Modern meets classic is funny too! 

On comes the hokey intermission sign, complete with soothing and very out of place music. Time to get up from your theater seats and get your popcorn and candy! I wonder how many years it took for “intermission” to become the dancing snacks singing “let’s all go to the lobby.”

Sam shows up to the bar in regular clothes, and the dark shadow mood lighting is back. I love the way it just lights up enough of Jared’s face to where-, sorry, I’m drooling. Sam touches the ear and his “oh man” is right. Jamie hears the theory, naturally thinking it’s all ridiculous and pulls the “X-files” reference. ”No, the X-Files is a TV show. This is real.” Dean is doing his macho act now, taking a drink of whiskey for dramatic effect while still dressed in his nice suit, again showing off the leading man mannerisms. 

Sam, being the really smart sidekick he’s supposed to be, clarifies this guy is following the exact MO from the Dracula movies and novels, down to the use of character names. Jamie is Mina, Dean is Jonathon Harker, so what is Sam? We find out later, and it’s cool. They ask Jamie if anyone has fixated on her lately like a real Dracula would (???) and the lines between real and imagined are really blurred. She mentions Ed Brewer. Sam, because he’s the loyal and lovable sidekick, goes to check it out while Dean protects the girl. 

Jamie finally figures out that Dean and Sam aren’t FBI and chasing all these evil things for a living. ”So this is what you do, you and your partner, just tramp across the country on your own dime until you find some horrible nightmare to fight?” Dean shrugs. ”Some people paint.” Jamie thinks their lives suck. Ask Sam and she’ll probably get an agreement. Dean changes into sweet sensitive guy (Hollywood leading men must show this quality) and openly shares his touching, back from the dead perspective. He declares he’s saving people and it’s “kind of like a Mission from God.” Ha! There, he said it! He believes now. It’s about time.

Jamie melts in his hands, they lock lips, and it’s all ruined from lipstick on a napkin waitress. Jamie invites her for a drink and a frustrated Dean sarcastically agrees. I’d say that’s a mood breaker.

Here we go, Sam’s one scene to shine. He arrives at spooky theatre and Bach is shrieking from the pipe organ, a la Phantom of The Opera, which just happens to be the picture showing. Creature from behind the screen plays and we see the silhouette of Sam sneaking up on him. After some more drawn out suspense, we find it’s Mr. Brewer in his underwear really playing a Casio.

Sam grabs him, shoves the gun in his face and tugs his ear hard. A shocked Sam declares, “It’s supposed to come off.” ”No, it’s not!” Mr. Brewer so correctly replies. He may not be a shapeshifter, but he’s one hilarious guy. Sam apologizes with a set of embarrassed and apologetic looks that are his trademark. How many of the funniest scenes come from Sam playing straight guy is beyond me, but I love it. He’s funny without trying to be.

Dean, Jamie, and Lucy are drinking and talking, and Jamie is three sheets to the wind. Then Dean gets woosy. Uh oh! Something tells me, ignoring all the prior hard to miss clues, that Lucy is our culprit. Here’s another classic device, hero is drugged and has a long, drawn out collapse onto the floor. Oh, but we get a slight detail error here. There’s a full shot from the floor, which is a trick not used in this films. Considering films during these times were shot on set, they didn’t create ceilings for the scenes, so there were never any ceiling shots. Citizen Kane again was the first film to change that rule. The shot up to Lucy, just before she says “end scene” and stomps her foot down, clearly shows a ceiling. Ah well, it’s cool anyway. 

Just when I think that this bizarre episode can’t get more disturbing, I’m proven wrong. Dean Winchester, meet lederhosen. I admit I haven’t seen the old Dracula, Werewolf, and Mummy pics, but I’m pretty certain they don’t involve dressing the victim in ridiculous clothes. I’m chalking up that one up to the costume crew having great fun with Jensen. Dean and said outfit are strapped to a long table in a Dr. Frankenstein lab recreation. Funny, but this setting actually reminds me more of Young Frankenstein than anything else. This show is known for its mixed bag of tricks, so why not copy a film that was a copy of other films?  

Dracula explains the use of Lucy’s form and I’m too busy watching Dean, who’s going through all sorts of facial expressions, telling us how amazed he is by how bat shit crazy this guy is. I read that the writers have learned to write scenes that play to Jensen and Jared’s strengths and here is no exception. Dean pulls the moral card this time because remember back then, heroes were heroes and villains were villains. All black and white with no grey lines. One dramatic flick of the cape is the proper response from Dracula. This time the villain will win. He is a delusional bastard.  

I’m STILL laughing over this next scene. I’m an aficionado of bizarre humor, and this is as good as it gets. Dracula tells of his dastardly plan, and after much over the top monologuing, goes to flip the switch that will cook poor Deano. He does it at a slow, snail’s pace, with the background music rising, and the camera flipping back and forth between devilish villain reaching for the switch and poor Dean struggling against his bonds. Just as Dracula is about to flip the lever, the doorbell rings. This device worked in “A Very Supernatural Christmas” and it really worked here.

Dracula goes upstairs into his very normal house and with full costume and accent answers the door. One unimpressed and in a hurry pizza delivery kid wants his money, but Dracula tries the whole act on him, even asking if there’s garlic on the pizza. Kid again protests, Dracula complies, but not without producing a coupon first! What absurdity! This definitely never happened in the classic movies so it must be a Supernatural episode. 

Sam goes to the bar, and catches on finally to what's going on by seeing the lipstick napkin. After all, what are smart sidekicks for? 
Jamie wakes up on a bed, in Dracula’s bedroom lair, and he has the feast of pizza ready for her. I would have gone for the pizza first and protested to Dracula later. Old days Mina never got a tempting offering like that. All Jamie has to do is put the gown on, the one Mina wore in the old Dracula flicks. She won’t play along, so shapeshifter loses it, breaking his role, and she agrees in fright.

There’s Sam!  I remember him! Tall guy, used to be equal co-star of this show, right? He has the gun pointed and does that “ready for imminent attack” stance. The shot has him walking toward the camera, and the closer he gets, the fuzzier he gets until he’s right up to the lens and practically walking through the camera. Sam can walk through me anytime. 

After dressing in the gown, the shapeshifter in normal voice gives his heart breaking confession about how he imitates the monsters because he is one and daddy didn’t love him. In the movies monsters were strong, feared, and beautiful and now he’s that way. At first I scratch my head at the speech, but then I remember “Skin”. Jensen as the shapeshifter sold his speech much better. They hear a noise, Jamie screams out for Dean, and lights out for her. Dracula in the movies would have never done that to a woman. I guess that means our villain is a little unstable.

Sam knows by now that all bad things happen in the basement. He finds Dean, un-straps him, and manages to work in a Hansel joke in the process. Come on Dean, the amount of times you’ve stuck it to Sam, you had that coming. They come to the supposed solid wooden and steel door and Dean signals Sam to go ahead. Sam lifts that lanky leg of his and kicks right through it, knocking it over. Ha! That makes sense, the door to Frankenstein’s lab being kicked over by Frankenstein’s monster. That also reminds me of a scene of one of my all time favorite films, The Princess Bride, when Andre the Giant easily bangs open the impossible to open door. It seems that’s a requirement only for a giant, and Sam fits the bill.

They find Dracula’s evil bedroom lair, and Sam is thrown through a fake wall, only to get knocked out by the real one behind it. Apparently he’s Van Helsing. Cool! Dean, still Jonathan Hacker, tries to stop him, but hand to hand with a shapeshifter never works out well. There’s two shots from behind, and we see Jamie with the gun, who makes a direct hit to the chest. Wow, she can shoot too. Marry her Dean! Shapeshifter figures out he’s been hit by silver bullets, and goes for the most overdramatic, overacted, and completely fake death ever. Just like in the movies. Final shot shows him slumped in the gothic chair, villain done.  Fade out with that infamous closing circle.

Final scene and dashing hero Dean gets the girl, sealing the affection with a huge kiss. She’s all starry eyed and thanks them both for saving her life. Just like in the movies. ”Hero gets the girl, monster get the gank, all in all a happy ending, with the happy ending nonetheless.” Oh Dean! You didn’t! I guess Dean’s virginity is gone again. A Hollywood leading man would have never said that, but then again, this is Dean Winchester. Sam, still in moral sidekick mode responds, “Classy Dean.”

They both feel good about being back in the swing of things (as we all are). Sam actually smiled a few times this episode, so it must be good. Dean contemplates what life would be like if it was a movie, but he would do it different though than “Abbott and Costello meet the monster.” Ha! There’s another reference that’s dead on. Those films were so bad. They were all the same, Costello acting like a total buffoon anytime a big bad monster emerged from behind. He ran like an idiot while Abbott rolled his eyes because Costello was an idiot. I never understood why that was supposed to be funny. Senses of humor were lame in those days. The first great comedy in my mind was The Producers, and that’s only because of “Springtime For Hitler”. Anyway, my point is I’m glad the modern day Supernatural humor was used otherwise this episode wouldn’t have been funny at all.

Sam says he knows what film Dean would use to turn life into a movie. Dean claims he doesn’t, but Sam gets it right. Porky’s Two. Ha! Is Porky’s One not raunchy enough? Dean frowns and tells him “lucky guess.” Hokey happy ending music plays and then we get, “The End” followed by “The End”

No time for applause though for next is one wicked promo that has me screaming “Why isn’t it next week already!!” Dean, freaking out? Hallucinations of Sam using telekinesis and having yellow eyes? Damn show, why do you keep doing this to me????

I gave this episode a grade of A-. A+ for technical perfection, B+ for story. Check out the clip on this site with the Supernatural Surprise #2. That’s supposed to air after “Yellow Fever”. Thursday can’t get here fast enough!