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Jaw-droppingly bad vampire movies from Something Weird
on March 26, 2005
If you want to accuse the wacky people at Something Weird of scrapping the bottom of the barrel to put together these collections of exploitation films, then this DVD could well be exhibit #1. The theme here are vampire Counts, none of whom are ever really named Dracula, and the best thing ends up being the trailers for other movies that you should have seen instead.
"Dracula (The Dirty Old Man)" is, as near as I can tell, a bad vampire movie that was then dubbed to make it even worse. Count Alucard (the title explain what it means backwards in case you are really, really stupid) wakes up in his coffin in a cave and creates a Jackal-man (Billy Whitton) who will bring him young women. This sounds basically okay, right? But the dubbing has the vampire doing shtick like he was a borscht-belt comedian. The vampire ties up his victims, strips them naked, fondles their breasts and then bites them there like there is a major artery there or something. The jackal-thing wears a head that looks more like an angry teddy bear than a werewolf and he likes to rape some of the victims. In fact, while the women end up nude except for high heels, the men keep their clothes on. The high point of this film (and I cannot believe I am saying this) is when one of the men at least pretends he is unzipping his pants. There is one scene that does not appear to be dubbed, and I have seen some evidence that it was shot later and thrown into the film, which would actually make sense. Maybe if you turn the sound off on this one it is not as bad, because the juxtaposition of sound and images is just too weird, even with the vampire bat on a stick for laughs (2 stars, but the entertainment value might be higher).
"Guess What Happened to Count Dracula" stars Des Roberts as Count Adrian, who opens up a nightclub named Dracula's Castle with his ghoul friends so that he can put the bite on young ladies. Angelica (Claudia Barron) catches his eye and the Count intends to make her his bride. This is a boring movie and when I tell you there is nothing to see her, versus seeing everything in "Dracula, Dirty Old Man," take me at my word. There was a point when I thought it was ripping off "Rosemary's Baby," but not enough to care, and then I thought maybe it was being inspired by "Behind the Green Door," but that did not pan out either. You will enjoy this Something Weird DVD a lot more if you skip this one. I sat through it so you did not have to (1 star, 0 entertainment value).
As always the extras on this Something Weird discs are better than the movies, although that has never been as true as it is with this one (actually, it is true by default before you even get to the special features). "Dracula and the Dirty Old Witch" has a member of the Dracula family (Marc Brock) trying to become the happiest member of his family in 400 years, often to the music of Mussorgsky's "Pictures at an Exhibition." I thought this one was going for campy S&M, but it turns out it is just setting up a lame punch line (1 star).
"Sex and the Single Vampire" is a 27-minute 1970 short with the legendary John Holmes as Count Spatula (and also as Bella Donna). Finding no fresh blood in his refrigerator, the Count finds a group of trespassers have broken into his home to engage in soft-core sex. Holmes does some wretched comedy bits before he puts the bite on a naked man (one of those scenes you can live without seeing, especially with the inserts of a gas pump ringing up almost a dollar in gas) and lets the women worship at his body, so to speak. The most interesting aspect of this film is how they avoid it becoming a hardcore film. But it begins with bad jokes and ends with a bad joke, and is still ten times better than "Guess What Happened to Count Dracula" (2 stars).
The "Blood-Soaked Trailers" become the best part of this DVD and include "Bloodsuckers" with Peter Cushing, "The Body Beneath," "Caged Virgins," "Daughters of Darkness," the "true" story of Countess Elizabeth Bathory in "The Legend of Blood Castle," "A Taste of Blood," "The Vampire and the Ballerina," and the stage and screen scream combo "Vampire's Coffin" and "The Robot vs. the Aztec Mummy" (presented in "Hypnoscope" you know "it could only be shown at midnight"). One thing to remember here is that these are old school trailers, when an R-rated movie could have an R-rated trailer. Actually you can rent most of these films, except for "Caged Virgins," "The Vampire and the Ballerina," and "Vampire's Coffin," and only the first one would be considered a loss given the trailer (4 stars). Note: "Daughters of Darkness" ("Le Rouge aux Lèvres") is also about Elizabeth Bathory but set in contemporary times, so I guess those blood baths really worked.
There is also a Gallery of Exploitation Art with Radio-Spot Rarities where every five seconds you see another add as we go through dozens of exploitation films representing box sex and horror (including several films devoted to documenting the birth of actual babies), while listening to choice radio ads touting similar films. Of course the print ads are considerably more lurid.
I do not think any of the four vampire films on this DVD are so bad that they come close to being good. You can only laugh at this stuff so long before you just want to turn it off. That being said, be sure to join us next Saturday when we try to have better success with a couple of horror films, "The Beast that Killed Women" and "The Monster of Camp Sunshine." Then again, I understand they both take place at nudist camps.