Blood for Dracula – Udo Kier as Count Dracula
As a huge fan of the vampire genre, and huge fan of Dracula, I find myself almost universally revolted most adaptations of the story. Beyond the glory of Max Schreck and Gary Oldman lies a sea of disappointment. Here are some thoughts that I suspect will be very unpopular. Bela Lugosi’s bored me to tears. Christopher Lee nailed a few performances, but the overall body of work clocks-in as sub-par. The list of failed Dracula adaptations scrolls off of the screen. This review takes a look at Udo Kier’s portrayal Dracula in 1974’s Blood for Dracula.
No Stranger to the Night
Udo Kier is no stranger to vampires movies. He played Dragonetti in Blade. Udo Kier also played Captain Varna in Dracula 3000. The man has the look. With his piercing eyes and chiseled face, he displays all of required attributes. Will Udo Kier portray Dracula’s elegance as well as his menace? These are the attributes that so many actors fail to achieve.
Andy Warhol? Blood for Dracula?
Paul Morrisey, directed Blood for Dracula. It seems odd that the producers released in the United States as Andy Warhol’s Dracula. I failed to find a good descriptions of Contributions from Andy Warhol. Certainly, in 1974 that name Andy Warhol brought some draw to the box office.
A Shaky Start
Film starts on a shaky premise. Dracula’s familiar, Anton, raises a serious situation with the Count. Transylvania is running low on available virgins. Dracula will die in weeks without virgins to feed upon. Consequently, they must go to Italy. An unknowing crop of virgins live in Italy.
Five minutes out of the gate serious questions arise. Can The Prince of Darkness not forecast his own needs? Does he really not know when he is hungry? The Count exclaims “If you really were clever Anton, you would bring me a virgin from Italy, and I would not have to go”. I agree, what good is Anton, anyway? The Count, dying of starvation, is foremost concerned about the availability of heat in the car. Similarly, he demands to bring his pet bird. Dracula is a petulant child.
Do Not Mess With the Count
Going against well established standards, The Count has only minor aversion to sunlight. The complexities of The Counrt can’t be ignored. As a character, his offsets immense power offset with critical weaknesses. An aversion to sunlight makes vampire’s familiars a necessary prop. This weakness severely limits Dracula’s ability to strike during the day. Likewise, his victims must fear the dark. Why sleep in coffins when cat-nap in regular bed with the curtains closed?
The sight of Prince of Darkness bouncing around in the back of a station wagon is already comical. Strap a coffin to the top of that bad-boy and it is laugh-out-loud.
At Last, the Virgins
Anton escorts the Count to a small town in Italy and finds a wealthy business man with four ‘virgin’ daughters. Anton explains to the family that The Count intends to marry. Excited at the prospect of extending his family to foreign royalty, they accept Dracula into the home and the courting process begins. Little does the Count know the two of the daughters regularly take turns with Mario, the estate handyman.
Taking the Blood of “Virgins”
First, the Count takes Esmerelda as his victim. Her non-virgin blood poisons the count. Consequently, his body rejects the blood and violently purges it from his body. Esmeralda survives, but is now under the control of the count. The Count then goes 0-2 with Saphiria. Again, he has a violent reaction. Each non-virgin makes him weaker. Dracula laments, “I can’t take this treatment any more! The blood of these whores is killing me!”. Intentional or not, the line elicits a chuckle. Count Dracula now holds Saphiria under his spell.
Hurting, the Count wants to leave. Instead, Anton convinces the Count to make one last move on Perla. The youngest of the girls Perla most likely retains her virginity. Meanwhile, Mario discovers the Count’s secret. Taking the role of hero, Mario decides to forcefully take Perla’s virginity? What a guy. Mario hunts down the Count and dismembers him with an axe.
But is Blood for Dracula any Good?
Within the first 5 minutes, a train-wreck seemed inevitable. Over the course, it managed to overcome initial jitters. Strangely I didn’t hate it. Blood for Dracula violated all of my expectations. Despite that, I found it mildly entertaining. At first it was annoying to see The Count so feeble. Dracula’s bloody rejection to non-virgin blood was well conceived. Eventually, this weakness became a very satisfying plot device.
Mario, played by Joe Dallasandro, presented a cardboard cutout anti-hero. His character was stiff, and brought awkwardness to any scene that he graced. However, Udo Kier flourished as the sickly Count Dracula despite going against normal expectations.
The final kill scene where The Count is dismembered evokes visions of Monty Pythons Black Knight. While good for a chuckle, an ample supply of gore keeps it real. The scene provides a bloody exclamation point to a decent film. I do recommend it as an entertaining curiosity to horror fans. However, I am still wondering what Andy Warhol actually contributed to the film.
As as final note, take a look at the movie poster on your free time and compare it to the Dark Throne album Transylvanian Hunger.
Blood for Dracula (1974) - A Different Look for the Count - Malevolent Dark
Director: Paul Morrisey
Date Created: 1974-01-01 00:00