In Blood for Dracula, our favorite Transylvanian Count (Udo Kier) isn’t doing too well. It seems that Romania’s young ladies have been playing it a bit too fast and loose for the Count’s specific taste for the pure blood of virgins--or rather “wir-gins,” as the Count says. As he grows increasingly sick, Dracula packs up his coffin and heads off to the one place in the world that should be just brimming with pure young maidens: Italy. Good luck with that one, Count.
After producing the awesome Frankenstein blood-and-sex-fest send-up Andy Warhol’s Flesh for Frankenstein (Warhol, incidentally, was uninvolved with the production of these films), director Paul Morrissey and his crew found themselves with a surplus of fake blood and a couple of extra weeks to kill. So, they invited Roman Polanski and Vittorio de Sica over for cameos, cobbled together a script involving Dracula and some incestuous lesbian vampires and then just kind of winged it from there. Considering its off-the-cuff production, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that the resultant product is a bit of a train wreck. Its plot is barely coherent, the acting is uneven, and the accents are all over the place—but to hell with all of that, let’s watch Dracula vomit up a crapload of blood.
Morrissey doesn’t even bother to come up with a half-way decent excuse to disrobe his cast. When a group of maidens are out tilling a field, they’re suddenly struck by the oppressive summer heat and then bam, they’re topless. And while, no, no reasonable lady would ever do something like that, criticizing Andy Warhol’s Blood for Dracula for being tasteless and stupid feels about as pointless as, I don’t know, criticizing a Tyler Perry movie for being overwrought and cheap. What did you expect?
Still, even with all of the naked people doing the things that naked people do, Blood for Dracula feels kind of tame compared to the absolutely outrageous Flesh for Frankenstein. Make no mistake about it, Morrissey and his game cast tries their hardest to push the limits of good taste, like with the aforementioned sisters turned naked-make-out-monsters, and a hero that’s kind of a rapist jerk; but the movie is never able to top Udo Kier’s Dr. Frankenstein getting freaky with the internal organs of his creation.
Kier is too timid as Dracula, obnoxiously whiney even. It’s disheartening to see Count Dracula, one of the most feared creations in all of literature, reduced to bitching about his salad and upchucking blood that’s too impure for his tender tummy. As a consequence, the movie lacks that mad-eyed gusto that made Flesh such a good time. There are moments when Dracula clicks like during its protracted, dismemberment happy climax, or with Joe Dallesandro’s ridiculously out of place Queens accent (Dallesandro you may recognize as the crotch on the cover of Sticky Fingers), but overall the production just feels plum worn out.
Tomorrow: Former Mystery Science Theater 3000 stars take it to the Vincent Price classic House on Haunted Hill in their newest installment of Rifftrax: Live!