29/10/2013

Count Dracula's Great Love (1973)

Film: Count Dracula's Great Love
Alternate Titles: Dracula, Dracula's Castle, Dracula: The Movie,Cemetery Girls, Vampire Playgirls, Cemetery Tramps, Enter Dracula and Dracula's Virgin Lovers
Release: 1973, theatrical
Starring: Paul Naschy, Rosanna Yanni, Haydée Politoff
Directed by: Javier Aguirre
Description: When their stagecoach breaks down in the middle of a forest, four young girls and a professor has to rely on the hospitality of an Austrian doctor living in a secluded castle, unfortunately the good doctor turns out to be none other than the king of vampires himself, Dracula!


Hans' thoughts:

In the 1960's and early 70's, the classic horror icons had made a triumphant return to the screen with the movies by Hammer Films. The films had blood, gore and beautiful women becoming victims of overpowering monsters. One of the most popular monster series from Hammer was the Dracula films starring Christopher Lee, a role in which he would become simply iconic. I imagine those were what the creators had in mind when a small spanish studio decided to do their own Dracula feature, filled with all the big selling points from the era. Before you make any assumptions, no I'm not saying that the Spanish can't make horror movies, in fact they created what many consider the best version of the 1930's Dracula movie, shot side by side with the Bela Lugosi version. El Gran Amor Del Conde Dracula however, is nothing like that. This movie is as barebones as it gets.

the most convincing actors of the movie, the horses, unfortunately
leave early on.
So after an actually not too bad opening scene, we see the first problem with the movie. During the opening credits, the death scene of a man rolling down some stairs is looped. blatantly. I don't know if the creators had run out of time when they got to this point, but just for the record: If you want to show all your credits in the beginning of the film please at least show something else in the background than what amounts to looking at the same .GIF animation for three minutes. I'll be honest and say that I actually shut the movie off by this point for a couple of hours, I needed mental preparation for what I was in for.

So after being huddled up in a corner muttering to myself for a few minutes, I was ready to jump right back into the movie. Forcing myself to sit through the draining force of the opening credits. What awaited me on the other side was almost just as bad. We meet our "heroes" in the stagecoach. Here they're having a conversation about local tales from the area, what fascinates me is that even through the poor English dub of the movie, I could still recognize poor acting ability AND poor writing. I don't know if the sentence "What beautiful stories I will have to tell when I get back to Munich" followed by the horrific legend of Dracula sounds natural in the movie's native language but I very much doubt it. This is of course, a pretty shortsighted attempt at delivering exposition. Get used to this, because almost every line spoken by any character in most of the movie is not natural conversation at all but rather blatant exposition dumping. 

To be fair, being told a good horror story is not the reason this movie was made at all. It becomes pretty clear by the 20 minute point that this movie was made almost exclusively with the male demographic in mind, when the main characters aren't flashing their mammaries, they're walking around with pretty low-cut dresses. At the very least the film is honest about it's intentions early on. I don't think it's a secret to anyone why this particular piece was a feature on "Movie Macabre", a TV-show presented by hostess character "Elvira, Mistress of the Dark". It was a late night comedy tv-show where the hostess would sport revealing clothing and show B-list horror films. Therefore, once you've come to terms with what exactly this film is you can most likely turn your brain off and enjoy the fun. The rest of the movie is pretty much what you would expect from a film like this. The four girls are turned by Count Dracula one by one and forced to torture young women from the nearby village. 

I have to defend something in this movie though: I really like the sets. As cheesy as it is, whatever mansion was chosen to act as the castle in this movie gets the job done and when it does have to at least pay homage to the setting of the film, it does so well. Poor acting abilities aside, I like the scenes where they actually attempt to build up an atmosphere even though they fail in most cases. If you're able to watch absolute lowest denominator crap and still have a good time with it, this is for you. This movie just barely hits the "so bad it's good" mark which is what made it tolerable. You have to give the movie points for at least trying to deliver a fun experience, if you want a different look at Dracula this is a fun, albeit poorly made, attempt.

As with "Jesse James Meets Frankenstein's Daughter", this film is in the Public Domain, meaning you can watch the movie RIGHT NOW. Right here in the article. Alternatively you can download the film right HERE


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