Geeks catch a lot of s**t…and for what reason? Yes, they’re a little different from the norm and they see more movies, read more comics and play more videogames in a year than most people do in their entire lives. But this doesn’t mean that they can’t be useful. While normal folks are all clambering over each other to be the next “American Idol,” geeks are using their imaginations to help create the blockbuster films you can’t escape from, amongst other forms of entertainment. Many of these people get to live out their fantasies by combining their geeky passions with their work. Dr. Donald A. Reed is one of these people and “My Life with Count Dracula” is his story.
In 1962, Donald Reed had put up with all he could. He wouldn’t stand by anymore and watch the horror genre go without its proper respect. So he started The Count Dracula Society, a gathering of vampire obsessed fiends that attracted names such as Ray Bradbury and Rock Hudson. Archival footage of some of these gatherings reveal everyone dressed up as the living dead, putting any Comic-Con party to shame. Not long after, The Count Dracula Society transformed into what we all know now as The Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror Films, which put on an annual awards show, only to be televised four times in the late 70s. It’s during one of these televised shows that host William Shatner performed his notorious rendition of Elton John’s “Rocket Man.” This documentary has the footage to prove it. Funnier than a mule wearing a dress.
Yes, Donald Reed was living a geek’s dream. Every year he managed to gather the people that he worshiped, so that they could kiss his a*s, as many of them hold Reed responsible for their big breaks in the industry. Reed was a geek that made a difference and “My Life with Count Dracula” contains interview footage with Bryan Singer, Robert Englund, Forest J. Ackerman, and many others who claim just that.
But instead of taking a rollicking trip back in time to find out just how Dr. Reed put this whole thing together and how he kept it afloat for over 20 years, we get to watch the man live through the last few painful years of his life as he struggled with diabetes. Hey now! I thought this was gonna be a fun movie. Yes, we do get some insight into the creation of the Academy and there are quite a few amusing stories told by folks who have been involved with Reed and the ship he built, but just when you’re getting into stories about the glory days, there’s Reed demonstrating how he tests his blood sugar, and how he injects his insulin, and how he needs to make frequent trips to the doctor due to extreme pain, and how his illness has sucked a portion of life out of him.
It’s a shame that this all had to happen to a man that did so much for a genre that I too love dearly, but I wanted to spend more time plumbing the depths of the Academy’s history rather than Reed’s extensive medical file.