Pardon me, but your teeth are in my pussy
- Count Yorga, Vampire / The Return of Count Yorga review by Count Otto Black
Alas, poor Count Yorga, the forgotten vampire. And alas, poor Robert Quarry, the man who played him. In this era, if you were going to be a cinematic vampire, you pretty much had to be Dracula played by Christopher Lee or you were sunk. Can you remember who played the vampire in "The Brides Of Dracula", and what he was called? (Clue: not Dracula, despite the title.) If you can, you're a real mid 20th century horror movie buff, and quite possibly your name is Kim Newman.
For pretty obvious copyright reasons, a cheap porno movie based on "Dracula" but set in the early seventies to save money was never going to involve a vampire actually called Dracula. But when the production unexpectedly went mainstream and all the soft-core elements were ditched, it somehow became a hit, mainly because of the performance of Robert Quarry, who gets off to a splendid start as a medium only slightly less camp and more menacing than The Amazing Criswell of "Plan Nine From Outer Space" fame who is secretly an actual vampire, and therefore very well qualified to talk to the dead. Unfortunately, the concept of a vampire being far better integrated into the 20th century than Dracula ever was (Count Yorga can even drive a car!) is largely wasted by a talentless director more used to doing porn, a cast who are mostly abysmal, and in some cases obviously only there because they were hired to do explicit sex scenes that were later written out, and a script which forces the central character to constantly brag about how smart he is compared to human beings while dropping every possible hint to everybody in sight that he's a vampire.
Robert Quarry is actually very effective as a B-list Dracula willing to substitute jaded sarcasm for the effortless charisma of Christopher Lee, and his feral assaults on humans by running at them impossibly fast range from sort of scary in a nightmarish kind of way (the second of these two movies obviously had an enormous influence on "Phantasm") to hilarious whenever the camera angle makes it obvious that he's scooting along on a trolley without moving his legs. But otherwise the acting is almost totally lousy, and the women in particular are characterless vampire-fodder, the one exception being the mute lady in the second film who just happens to be played by the director's wife.
But you know what? This double bill of almost-forgotten crap is actually rather entertaining in a so-bad-it's-sort-of-good kind of way. It's very patchy indeed, and there are long dull patches, but when it gets nasty, particularly in the first film, it's very nasty indeed - one scene in particular will not appeal to cat lovers at all (see the title of this review for further details). You can almost see a semi-masterpiece trying to break through an impenetrable wall of incompetence. I'd give this two and a half stars if this site permitted a middle of the road rating, but it doesn't, so what the heck! Half a star extra for being bonkers!
PS: Answer to earlier trivia question: David Peel as Baron Meinster. Remember them? Thought not.
PPS: This disc includes a half-hour documentary in which übergeek Kim Newman dribbles down his fashionably steampunk waistcoat about what neglected cinematic masterpieces these two films are. But then, he would say that, wouldn't he?
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