“Count Dracula may not seem like the ideal husband. … Of course he’s deadly pale, but then he’s a vegetarian and they all seem to look like that.”
The director admits the film is slow, even uses the word “boring,” but says they figured it’d be more poetic that way. He also claims little familiarity with the original Dracula story and vampire mythology, but says he’d try to respect it whenever a crew member would point it out (“hey Paul, Drac can’t walk out in sunlight like that”).
On the plus side, it has very nice piano music, decent well-lit cinematography by Luigi Kuveiller (who shot Avanti! and is as fond of zooms as Brian De Palma), Udo Kier acting off his nut, a humorous array of atrocious accents, and the longest blood-vomiting scene I’ve ever watched. Morrissey’s got the right idea about horror movies drawing in the viewer through slow buildup, but he misses the creepy horror atmosphere. Udo Kier’s Dracula is a pale weakling who gets ordered around by his enthusiastic German servant (Arno Juerging) and is eventually, humiliatingly killed by a loser rapist houseboy wielding an axe. Without the horror, or the over-the-top 3D humor of Flesh For Frankenstein, this one just sorta drags along.
Arno Juerging with Maxime McKendry:
Dracula is sent from Romania to Italy to find virgins, since Romania is fresh out. Stays at a house run by the shabby, formerly wealthy couple of Maxime McKendry (seems like the best actress here, but never in another film) and the great Vittorio De Sica, below.
Drac is interested in the family’s four girls and tries to figure which is a virgin so he can drink her bl… I mean marry her. Unfortunately, the oldest two are having kinky sex regularly with beefcake houseboy Joe Dallesandro (Rivette’s Merry-Go-Round, a hitman in The Limey), the middle one has been engaged before so Drac writes her off (turns out she’s still a virgin so Joe kindly rapes her to save her from becoming vampire food) and the youngest is 14 (so unmarryable, but Drac is chasing her at the end).
Stefania Casini (Suspiria, a hitwoman in Bad, 1900, Belly of an Architect):
Not pictured: Fellini/Bunuel/Tarkovsky actress Milena Vukotic, and youngest Silvia Dionisio. It was a bitch to figure out the above screenshots since all four sisters look the same. See comment below for some clarification/corrections (thanks Jenna).
“What about your sister? What does she do all night? I’d like to rape the hell out of her.” “She’s only 14!”
The reason I watched this in the first place, kicking off an early start to SHOCKtober on the 29th, is Roman Polanski. During all the controversy while he sits in a Swiss jail I thought I’d watch myself a RoPol movie, but I can’t find my copy of Knife in the Water so I went for this instead. Apparently Udo Kier needed to take a day off for reshoots on another film, so they hurriedly wrote a scene in which Arno Juerging gets scammed by Roman (on left with the mustache) in a tavern.
Udo is as fun to watch as always (well, maybe less fun than always), but he’s surrounded by the usual sordid 70’s misogyny of a Morrissey/Warhol production. Dracula comes to a sad end, limbs all chopped off like the Black Knight and then staked by the gross houseboy. Better luck next time…