Sunday, December 18, 2016

Count Dracula's Great Love

Director - Javier Aguirre (Hunchback of the Morgue, Children's War)
Starring - Paul Naschy (Panic Beats, Night of the Howling Beast), Rosanna Yanni (Kiss Me Monster, Sadist Erotica), and Haydee Politoff (Queens of Evil, Hector the Mighty)
Release Date - 1973
Genre - Horror
Tagline - "She's the kind of girl you can sink your teeth into"
Format- Bluray (Personal Collection) (Screener)

Rating (out of 5):
     I really do enjoy the gothic horror films of the 60s and early 70s.  I love the sets, I love the wardrobes, and I love how sexy most films tried to be.  This was the height of the sexual revolution and movie producers used that to their advantage.  Sex sells.  Movies about Dracula, the Wolfman, Frankenstein and his creation, and so on no longer rely on sets, wardrobes, and sex appeal.  They rely on cheap effects, cheaper sets, and sex appeal.  The film's no longer have that look that I love.  Not long ago Vinegar Syndrome released the 1973 film Count Dracula's Great Love which was previously known as just Dracula's Great Love.  Knowing it was a Dracula film from the early 70s I had to see it.  I reached out to them and they were kind enough to send one my way.  Thanks guys!
     The film follows four beautiful young women and a man who are traveling by coach when the wheel falls off the wagon.  They seek refuge from the night at an old sanitarium that has been closed for sometime now.  Rumor has it that a wealthy doctor has purchased the property so he can reopen it.  When they reach the property they meet the doctor, Dr. Wendell Marlow (Naschy), who allows them to spend the night.  What they don't know is that there is a madman with the mark of the vampire roaming the premises and the women start to go missing one by one along with the man.  The doctor finds love in one of the young women which puts in play the prophecy that he will turn into Dracula.  He loves the young woman deeply and knows that if he turns into Dracula that she will die forcing him to do something very drastic.

     When I received the press release for the film I knew I would like it but I did not expect to enjoy it as much as I did.  The film rivaled anything coming out of Hammer or Amicus at the time.  It looked great and really stayed true to the gothic horror films of the time.  The acting in this one is great with Paul Naschy taking center stage.  He delivers an emotional performance that shows the viewer a different side of Dracula that they rarely see.  Almost every tale of Dracula told over the years shows him falling in love but very few shows how emotional he can be.  Naschy nailed it.  The remainder of the cast does a solid job as well including the beautiful women.  They are talented but their selling point is how beautiful they are.  They are absolutely stunning.  The story for this one is a very unique spin on the Dracula mythos.  In this take Dracula is able to be killed or die but can be resurrected depending on the circumstances.  This was clever when added to the sanitarium setting and the love angle which is essential to any Dracula story.  However, the film does get a little confusing in the middle when it reveals he will turn into Dracula or is already Dracula.  It feels like some of the scenes are out of place or completely left out.  Finally, the film has several on screen deaths but they are what you would expect from a vampire film.  Almost all of the kills are bites somewhere on the body.  These are bloody and well done but are not that memorable.  The effects we do get are decent for what we get but nothing memorable there as well.  Overall, Count Dracula's Great Love is an underrated classic.  The cast is brilliant and beautiful and the setting looks amazing.  The story does get a little bumpy at some points but if you stick with it you will really enjoy yourself.  Check it out.  

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