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CBSRMT Episode Information
('Sheridan Le Fanu classic')
In 20th century Austria, a young woman and her widower father are charged with the welfare of a female ward. The two girls grow up like sisters but a terrible secret in the orphan's past threatens to tear their lives asunder.
Air Dates:
First Run - July 31, 1975
Repeat - December 10, 1975
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22 Responses to Episode 0318

Mercedes McCambridge is supberb, as all of Radio Mystery Theater radio actors are & were.

Hey! This is a very accurate representation of the J.Sherdan LeFanu story. If it has a problem that would be the, not entirely successful, attempt by Mercedes McCambridge to play both 19 and 70... I must admit that her framing of the story as an old woman seems to work perfectly. Succinct enough not to waste story time and a fine way to set up the drama. I hardly noticed that this sequence does remove the threat to her life.

A 90 year old woman recalls the year 1905 when she was 19 and encountered a girl with whom she shared a special bond, shared similar recollections from their past, and shared dreams. The girl pushed the bounds of the relationship and the episode explores the emotional response of the characters response to ‘forbidden love’ Mercedes McCambridge delivers another creepy performance, and while I can’t always buy into her characterizations, she certainly has a flair for infusing her dialogue with an almost frenetic energy.

Great selection. Carmilla is one of my top five RMT's. M.M. delivers a great performance. I was intrigued by the erotic subtext to the story. If there is a better RMT vampire story, I would love to hear it.

Quote: "If there is a better RMT vampire story, I would love to hear it." to be honest... there's really not one that's better than this. you could try the classic 740205 - Dracula, which is a fine episode and has a good encode; or try Elspeth Eric's, 740425 - Sunrise to Sunset which is not a high quality encode and not the best show. just saying, is all!

When I said, if there is a better vampire episode, I would love to hear it, I meant it as a complement to this episode; it would be hard to top. One thing I loved about the show, is that it is a different kind of vampire story and both the main characters are women. RMT was willing to push the envelope in the 70s (I am thinking here of the erotic overtones). I listened to the show as a kid and loved then; and love it now. This may be my all time favorite RMT.

Quote: I loved this show. As with other episodes, I am amazed that this made it on the air, considering the semi-erotic undertones. I agree for the time it aired this was not often talked about. It was a quite good, but left me wondering who was the woman that dropped her off and there was no mention of Carmilla not appearing in the day but maybe they do not follow that mythos.

Quote: I agree for the time it aired this was not often talked about. It was a quite good, but left me wondering who was the woman that dropped her off and there was no mention of Carmilla not appearing in the day but maybe they do not follow that mythos. Hmm. Now that you mention it - who WAS the woman who kept dropping her off?

Maybe the woman is still out there......somewhere. I assumed she was some sort of human protector for the vampire.

Yes....I loved this episode. It tested the limits in its time with many erotic scenes. I never heard this one so it was a treat. Thank you.

As I've posted previously, Mercendes McCambrige is completely unconvincing in the lead role of Carmilla just as she is in any other in which we're supposed to accept her as young, pretty, or underweight. Anyone who has seen her in much older TV and film productions (particularly when she guest starred on BONANZA in the early 1960s) know that she was middle-aged, average-looking, and a bit hefty. So I'm among those radio (or in this case Mp3) listeners not fooled by storylines trying to physically pass familiar-looking actors off in ways other than we know them to appear. Mercedes had a raspy voice by the 1960s, and by the 70s when she did CBSRMT in several episodes it was even more ingratiating. Sorry if I'm coming off as harsh, but I think her friendship with Himan Brown is the only reason she appeared on the Mystery Theater so many times. That's the main reason why I didn't like this particular episode. I just can't accept her in the role, and I didn't care much for the story either. But since I heard "Carmilla" like any other episode of this show, that's the reason I didn't listen to the remake that Sears Radio Theater presented early in 1979.

You should see the movie version THE VAMPIRE LOVERS (Hammer Films). I'm amazed they got it on the screen in 1970.

I loved this show. As with other episodes, I am amazed that this made it on the air, considering the semi-erotic undertones. 

Mercedes McCambridge recalls her days on shows like "I Love a Mystery" as well as the secret of how she found the voice for the demon, Pazuzu, in the original version of THE EXORCIST. The woman was Carmilla's "aunt" (or, at least, one of the accursed Karnsteins. Another thing that should be mentioned, is that while Mercedes' voice may have lost some of its flexibility by the 1960s and 70s her talent as a radio actress remained. You would know how difficult it is to become a character that lives in the imaginations of others by just using your voice if you had ever attended one of her workshops. And one more thing, Mike B. the intention of the actors is not to "fool you" they only give you a chance to set your imagination free. That you refused to take advantage of that is forever your loss---not theirs. And, by the way, she isn't playing Carmilla.

"Carmilla" ranks as my second favorite CBSRMT. The original story, which may be the most famous vampire story other than Dracula, received good treatment by RMT. Nightfall and Sears Radio Theater provided their take on the story and the results are inferior to RMT. Yes McCambridge lacks a voice that can pass for a teenager, but that never bothered me. Unlike many movies and TV shows (SNL I am looking at you!) that i enjoyed as a child, CBSRMT holds up well, and this episode shows why. The material is crafted in a way that appeals to kids and adults. The erotic undertones were not downplayed, which surprises me. As much as I like "Carmilla", I think CBSRMT actually produced an even better vampire story…"Nightmare's Nest".

The story was a bit predictable and overwrought, but I surely do like Mercedes' voice. What a talent. I, too, recall her voicing of the demon in The Exorcist. Holy cats, what a movie! Controversial in its time, let me tell you!

I must say, Ian Matin did a terrific job on writing an adaptation of Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's classic vampire tale. I've read the story before, all 16 chapters of the Novella, and he stayed true to the story. In fact, I liked this version by CBSRMT way better than the version that the radio series of NIGHTFALL did. The NIGHTFALL series tried to rush the story along, changed names of characters, overdid the music, and tried to squeeze everything in 30 minutes. But this version on CBSMRT, there was more characterization and more development to enjoy. Our Host in the CBSRMT episode was enjoyable as well. E.G. Marshall explained the story clearly and explained the habits of human nature, understand that a nightmare can lose its terror, nothing is permanent, and how a vampire corpse is disposed of. The sound effects made the story more believable, felt like you were there hearing the sounds of nature by the drawbridge, the horses galloping and neighing, the door being knocked and opened, the howling wind by the drawbridge at night, the elephant gun being fired, the classical music at the ball, and the shoveling by the grave. The music, however, needed more frightful chills. Don't get me wrong, it was great to hear the music from the TWILIGHT ZONE in this, but there were other music tunes that made this Fantasy-Mystery feel more like a Drama-Mystery. When Laura & Carmilla are happy together, CBSRMT should've used the serene music from the 18-minute 50-second mark of Ep. #0508-THE GOLDEN PEOPLE. When the mystery begins to unfold as to who or what Carmilla really is, they should've used the bone-chilling tunes from the 37-minute 28-mark of Ep. #1245-THE JUDGE'S HOUSE. And as for the horrifying scenes of Carmilla's vampiric ways and/or her death, they should've used the ghastly music from the 43-minute 56-minute mark of Ep. #0034-THE DEADLY HOUR. And as for our cast, the best way to describe their acting, WICKEDLY ENTERTAINING! Martha Greenhouse was an ace as Contessa, Court Benson as Dr. Zulig & General Spielsdorf was on his game for playing 2 roles, Staats Cotsworth as George Stanton was wonderful, and I'd give a round of applause to our leading actresses: Mercedes McCambridge & Marian Seldes! Mercedes McCambridge pulled it off for playing Laura Statton at age 19 & 90. And Marian Seldes as Carmilla AKA Millarca AKA Mircalla Karnstein was another role she was destined to play. She played the dhampir in Ep. #0081-SUNSET TO SUNRISE and now she's the vampire in this bloody classic! Every vampire fan should listen to this and must go read Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's classic.

This was definitely a different twist on the vampire story that we normally hear (Dracula and the Hammer films to be more specific). I, too, wondered about the woman who dropped her off - is she like Renfield? You'd think after a while more people would be aware of the vampire as there are only so many family estates with young women on them to feed off of. Overall I thought it was an okay story.

It also has a blooper, with music coming in out of nowhere in the third act briefly when it wasn't supposed to.

Can't believe no one has responded to this. Want a way to get a bunch of "Twilight" fans totally bewildered? (That movie is so yesterday anyway.) Tell them that "Dracula", which inspired "Twilight", was itself inspired by "Carmilla", and that vampires were (in Joseph Sheridan LeFanu's original tale, itself derived from east European legends) originally awful, pedophilic creatures with lesbian tendencies, which started stalking their victims at age 7 with the intent on molesting and murdering them by their late teens. This was a haunting episode.

I agree with Jones. CARMILLA'S homo-erotic overtones made for an uncomfortable listen. I'm surprised this episode made it on the air in 1975. Those issues notwithstanding, it was a confusing story.

I agree with Mike B, I can't get past Mercedes McCambridge's raspy voice. How can she ever pass for a young women. Sorry, she may be the nicest person in the world, but she is miscast in these episodes

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