Saturday, December 11, 2010

Blood for Dracula (1974)

Paul Morrissey's outrageous takes on the Horror classics in FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN and BLOOD FOR DRACULA border on genius and insanity. Shot back-to-back, these experimental film oddities were made on impossibly low budgets and were entirely improvised according to rough script outlines. The results produced two of the most unique, original, and wildly entertaining entries in the genre! BLOOD FOR DRACULA opens with the enfeebled count masking his pallid complexion beneath make-up and hair dye so that he may disguise himself as he travels to Italy in search of a virgin bride. Dracula is taken in by an affluent family with four beautiful young daughters, whom he attempts to court before he is discovered by a perceptive field hand. Udo Kier's Dracula is unlike any other; weak, crippled, and unalluring, he is hardly a reflection of Bram Stoker's powerful and persuasive character that is introduced in the original novel. Morrissey establishes his own set of rules in this version as well, allowing Dracula to walk in the daylight and to eat normal foods amongst many other changes. He still manages to put together elegant sets and locations with what little money he had in order to bring the story to life. The cast had been selected from all over Europe, which adds to the absurdity on-screen when the "Romanian" count and his escort Anton speak in thick German accents, while the "Italian" maidens are unmistakably French. Joe Dallesandro seems all the more out of place as he is transplanted into Italy with his distinct Brooklyn accent, but he commands the screen as the macho womanizer Mario Balato. For not having any lines written for them, the assortment of actors play off of each other brilliantly, stringing together a coherent narrative that gives way to pure camp. Kier and Arno Juerging ham it up as the Count and his assistant, and their eccentric performances are nothing short of hilarious. Each of them repeatedly mispronounce "daughter" and "virgin," confusing the audience with their talk of "doctors" and "wirgins." Because of this form of theatrical filmmaking, many viewers are likely to find the acting, direction, and dialog to be completely off key in their initial viewings, but a closer examination reveals BLOOD FOR DRACULA to be an intelligent and provocative piece of cinematic art that is quite unlike anything else in Horror.

Rating: 7/10.

6 comments:

  1. i had a chance a while ago to see flesh for frankenstein in 3d, why oh why didn't i?

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  2. I would like to second that question, why didnt you?! =D

    That is a once in a lifetime, I would love to see the films in their original format, but for the time being, DVD will have to do. What a strange set of films, no?

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  3. channel four was showing this along with friday the 13th part 3 as part of a 3d week, the reason why i didn't view them? i forgot to buy the glasses and had none at home

    and yes very strange if i remember didn't andy warhol have something to do with these? i may be wrong but im sure i read it somewhere

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  4. Only in the sense that he was a producer, I believe. He had very little involvement in the films themselves, which were entirely Morrissey's.

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  5. Both Blood For Dracula & Flesh For Frankenstein indeed stand out as bold Horror Genre movies, pretty much unlike the multitude of others featuring the iconic horror creatures. I hope both get released to Blu-ray in 3D to take advantage of the current home 3D TV market & show them in Field Sequential Active 3D.
    Carl, it has always been strongly believed that Antonio Margheriti in fact was the primary Director rather than Morrissey but that Margheriti did not have his name in the credits. I wonder if there was ever other Horror monster icons considered for a franchise, perhaps A Bandage For The Mummy ;) . Paul

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  6. Paul glad to see another fan! Interesting note about Margheriti, wouldnt be at all surprising! I would totally be down for Scales for The Creature as well, such a fun series =D

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