Name That Trauma:: Michael A. on a Repeated Staircase Stumble

When I was a kid in the early ’80s, I made a point to catch Suspense Theater every Saturday afternoon. It aired on WPGH in Pittsburgh and showed mostly horror movies — like Hammer/Amicus/AIP stuff — with a dash of sci-fi (including timeless classics like Starcrash and Starship Invasions). It also showed one unidentified movie that I’ve wondered about all these years later, but I only remember the opening-credit sequence.

It’s in color, and I’m guessing from the ’60s or ’70s. It starts with a guy walking up a dark stairway. He reaches a door at the top of the steps. The camera stays near the bottom of the steps, looking up at him from a distance. The door opens. Someone or something then emerges and hits the guy, apparently striking his head. He then tumbles back down the steps and toward the camera.

Now here’s where it gets especially weird and memorable: the movie loops that footage — starting with the door opening — all the way through the opening credits. So you see the guy take a hit and fall down the steps over and over again until the movie really begins. Sadly, that’s all I recall.

I will be grateful (and impressed!) if anyone can ID this movie.



Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Dr Nick Riviera
Dr Nick Riviera
5 years ago

How’s this for a weird coincidence? I, as a child in the Pittsburgh suburbs, saw this same movie one sunny afternoon. I didn’t watch the whole movie but that weird beginning with the guy repeatedly falling down the stairs always stuck with me.

Cut to years later (and now, many years ago) when I asked this same EXACT question on the alt.horror usenet group. They were kind enough to point me in the right direction.

The movie you looking for is DRACULA’S GREAT LOVE starring Paul Naschy from 1972/73/74 (depending on your source – I’m not at home to reference my Phil Hardy Encyclopedia of Horror).

The good news is that the whole movie is available, for free, on YouTube – from a couple of sources – so now you can relive it as many times as that poor guy falls down the stairs. Here is one:

Skip to 4 minutes in for the scene you remember. I hope it lives up to your memories.

5 years ago

Yes, that’s the one! Thank you, Dr. Nick, for the ID, and Unkle Lancifer for the post!

It’s even more gruesome than I remembered. I totally forgot the two gory closeups prior to the guy’s fall. I wonder if those were edited for network TV or if my kindertraumatized mind blocked them out. Either way, this is definitely the right movie.

Thanks again. Seeing fans swoop in to solve these kinds of mysteries for other fans is just one of the many reasons to love this site.

5 years ago

You guys might be delighted to learn that “Dracula’s Great Love” is being released on Blu-Ray on Tuesday, September 27th from Vinegar Syndrome.