Blood for dracula

While wrapping up production on “Flesh for Frankenstein,” director Paul Morrissey secured financing for another film. He decided to lend his personal tough to the Bram Stoker legend of “Dracula,” which seemed like a natural follow-up to “Flesh for Frankenstein.” Morrissey secured the services of most of the previous cast, and set out to create a “Dracula” that would turn the legend upside down.

blood for draculaWith a biting screenplay and a game cast, Morrissey succeeded. Udo Kier returns as Count Dracula, who this outing relies on the blood of virgins to survive. He’s having a tough time finding them at home, so Dracula and his henchman Anton (Arno Juerging once again) head off to Italy in search of new blood. They arrive at a villa, and immediately insinuate themselves in the lives of the family.

The good news is that Dracula’s hosts have three daughters, who all claim to be as pure as the driven snow. Yeah, right. Not if randy gardener Mario (Joe Dallesandro, proving that after numerous films he still has a great body but can’t act worth a damn) has anything to say about it. Mario has been tending to more than the garden, and the fruits of his labor are about to take a nasty toll on Dracula. You see, if the blood he drinks isn’t pure, he goes into convulsions and has to throw it all back up. Get the picture? Pretty, isn’t it?

All of the sisters are so desperate to be with the seductive count that they’re willing to lie about their virginity. That allows Morrissey and Kier to indulge in not one but two excessive throw up scenes. Yummy. Mario slowly begins to realize who Count Dracula is, and sets out to protect the only virgin among the sisters by deflowering her. Hey, it’s a nasty job, but someone has to do it, and God only knows, we haven’t seen Dallesandro’s butt enough in this film. Mario’s action infuriate Dracula, which leads to a final showdown between the two men.

Once again, Morrissey draws on the talents of special make effects director Carlo Rambaldi to come up with a splashy ending that was gruesome enough to garner the film an X-rating. As Dracula tries to get away, Mario hunts him down with an axe, dismembering him limb by limb until he’s nothing more than just a torso with a head. It gets splashier, you can stake on it. Once again, Morrissey serves it all up as a giddy little exercise in dark comedy, and it succeeds on that level. The performances are satisfactory and serve their purpose, yet it’s Morrissey’s style that brings these characters to life.


VISION: [ ] 20/20 [ X ] Good [ ] Cataracts [ ] Blind

Nicely rendered 1.85:1 widescreen digital transfer makes good use of a clean negative. The colors are strong and vibrant, the overall images sharp, and the flesh tones appealing. The blacks are stronger than on “Flesh for Frankenstein,” but still not solid. Some compression artifacts dot the landscape, and some of the low-lit scenes don’t hold up 100%. Still, I was quite impressed with the overall quality and color saturation that brings out the exquisite production design and gore effects.

HEARING: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Minor Hearing Loss [ ] Needs Hearing Aid [ ] Deaf

Functional Dolby Digital mono soundtrack is crisp and clean, with strong, vibrant dialogue.

ORAL: [ ] Excellent [ ] Good [ X ] Poor

No closed captions or subtitles.

COORDINATION: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Good [ ] Clumsy [ ] Weak

“Blood for Dracula” features audio commentary from director Paul Morrissey, star Udo Kier, and film historian Maurice Yacowar. It’s a dicey affair at best, a collection of audio commentaries pasted together to form a somewhat cohesive narrative. It’s obvious that Morrissey was watching the film when he delivered his comments. Morrissey’s comments were then cut up and conveniently dropped into Yacowar’s analysis of the film and Morrissey’s career. It’s very disconcerting, especially since Yacowar sounds like one of those pompous critics who like to hear themselves speak. Yacowar wrote the book “The Films of Paul Morrissey,” and his obsession with Morrissey is creepier than the movie. Kier chimes in every now and then with some observation about filming the movie. On the whole, the dialogue that emerges is interesting but not overly enthralling. I sat through it because that’s my job. Enjoy the movie and skip this feature unless you’re a hardcore Morrissey fan. The DVD also features a stills gallery of publicity and production photos accompanied by a stereo presentation of Claudio Gizzi’s musical score. A real bonus would have been an alternate musical track with just the score. There’s also the customary main and scene access menus.

PROGNOSIS: [ ] Excellent [ X ] Fit [ ] Will Live [ ] Resuscitate [ ] Terminal

For camp appeal, it’s easy to sink your fangs into this DVD.

VITALS: $29.99/Not Rated/103 Minutes/Color/26 Chapter Stops/Keepcase/#28




HMO: Criterion Collection

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