I’ve got to admit that I have not watched the Highlander series. I loved the first movie but was dismayed by the pile of horse’s manure that was the second film and gave up at that point. This season 2 episode directed by Dennis Berry was entitled “The Vampire” and regular reader Zombiepunk provided me with the episode to watch.
For those who have not seen any of the incarnations of Highlander the premise was that immortals walk amongst us. They can only be killed by removing the head, hence they all carry swords, and when one immortal kills another they take their power. Eventually there will be only one.
This episode details Duncan MacLeod (Adrian Paul) as he comes up against murderous immortal Nicholas Ward (Jeremy Brudenell). Ward has a habit of killing off family members and then marrying the remaining daughter, when she meets an unfortunate end he inherits the money.
The section of the episode that should interest us is that which took place in the past, when Ward and MacLeod first met. Macleod was looking for a long term investment opportunity and was going to invest in a company. The owners of the company, down to two from three as partner Charles has been killed, a Mr Henry Jacom (Trevor Peacock) and William Stillwell meet with MacLeod. Paris is abuzz with the thought that a vampire stalks the streets (and had killed Charles), though MacLeod is dismissive of the notion. However, he does sense an immortal nearby.
Stillwell leaves the inn and there is a scream. When MacLeod gets outside he sees Stillwell’s body. He chases a man, who was seen over the body, but he gets away – though it appears he was shot. A doctor on scene will not be drawn to the cause of death but a man, we later discover to be Baines (Denis Lill) - a vampire chaser, shows the crowd the puncture wounds on Stillwell’s neck. Baines has been employed by Jacom to protect them, fearful as he and his partners desecrated a church in Transylvania in order to sell it’s valuables. They even dug up an ornate coffin that mysteriously vanished before they opened it.
MacLeod suspects Ward, who is the firm’s lawyer, and he is right on the money. Jacom is left with holy water and a cross by Baines, who goes out to hunt the fiend and then, whilst the businessman is left on his own, Ward approaches Jacom. He has a curious device with two sharp probes that he sticks in the neck and then uses to suction blood away from the corpse. With this he gives the illusion that he is a vampire.
This was clever, an immortal posing as an undead and was a natural way forward within the story premise. By giving the impression of being a vampire he keeps all suspicion away from himself.
Baines is using early forensic techniques and MacLeod gives him the evidence he needs to accuse Ward. Unfortunately, to Baines, Ward is a vampire and goes after him with traditional techniques. The first thing he does is not traditional, he brains Ward, but then he splashes him with holy water, puts a cross on his chest and stakes him. He then goes to his table, to prepare a saw I’d guess. Of course, he might have stunned Ward but what he did cannot kill him. Ward pulls the stake and stakes the hunter. MacLeod, eventually, manages to warn Ward off Jacom’s daughter.
The parts set in modern times have no vampiric overtones.
So we have no vampire, but we have the illusion of a vampire and the belief in a vampire. As I said in the Rules of the Game this is enough, depending on how it is handled, to class a media as vampire and I think this episode deserves to be classed as Vamp. It is interesting to note that Adrian Paul was in vampiric gothic soap opera “Dark Shadows (revival)” (1991) and would go on to play a vampire in the 2001 film “the Breed” and a writer of vampire fiction in the 2001 episode of Relic Hunter “Vampire’s Kiss”.
The imdb page is here.