Wednesday, July 29, 2009
Release date: 1931 USA
Director: George Melford
(The Cat And The Canary 1930; The Sea Wolf 1920)
Producer: Universal Pictures
Writer: Garrett Fort / Baltasar Fernandez Cue
(based on the novel by Bram Stoker
and the play by Hamilton Deane & John Balderston)
Director of photography: George Robinson
-Conde Dracula.................Carlos Villarias
-Eva Seward......................Lupita Tovar
-Juan Harker.....................Barry Norton
-Renfield..........................Pablo Alvarez Rubio
-Van Helsing....................Eduardo Arozamena
-Dr. Seward......................Jose Soriano Viosca
Dracula (Carlos Villarias) travels from Castle Dracula in the
Carpathian Mountains to London to establish himself in
respectable society by day and carry on his blood-lusting by
night. However, he has not reckoned on Dr. Van Helsing
(Eduardo Arozamena), who is aware of his vampirism.
This Dracula is a completely different vision of the horror
Cinematographer George Robinson's fluid camera work and a
complex depth of focus create a menacing atmosphere.
In addition, the sensuality of the vampire maidens adds an
unexpected raciness to this timeless tale.
- Before the dubbing of Hollywood movies into foreign languages
became the norm, it was common for studios to make two or more
versions of a movie simultaneously. 1931's Dracula was the only
one of Universal's horror films that received this two-for-one
treatment: the English-language version was shot during the
daylight hours, while, at night, the same script and sets were used
for the Spanish version.
- Director George Melford did not speak or understand Spanish
and had to work with his cast through translators.
- In 1989, horror-movie historian David J. Skal discovered the
legendary Spanish-language version of the 1931 Dracula in Cuba.
- The sexual elements of vampirism are played to a greater degree
in the Spanish version.
- Lupita Tovar (as Eva, Dracula's intended victim) was wooed by the
Czech-born producer of the movie, Paul Kohner, and they married
Friday, July 24, 2009
Directed by Javier Aguirre
Writing credits: Javier Aguirre & Alberto S. Insúa
Jacinto Molina as Count Dracula/Dr. Wendell Marlow (as Paul Naschy)
Haydée Politoff as Karen
Rosanna Yanni as Senta
Ingrid Garbo as Marlene
Mirta Miller as Elke
Víctor Alcázar as Imre Polvi
Two men deliver a large crate to a abandoned sanitarium.
Falling prey to temptation they open the crate only to find a
coffin inside with old bones. They are soon attacked by a
shadowy figure. The movie shifts to a stagecoach where four
lovely ladies are treated to a tale of local folklore concerning
the castle they are driving by that was rumored to once be the
home of Count Dracula. As they pass a wheel spins off of the
stagecoach. While a couple of passengers search for the wheel,
more bad luck befalls them as the driver is kicked by a horse
They decide to try to spend the night at the old castle which most
recently was used as a sanitarium. Upon arrival they meet Dr.
Marlow who is restoring the castle for research. The first night one
of the ladies (Karen) encounters one of the delivery men who is
now a vampire. Dr. Marlow comes to her rescue and starts to find
himself attracted to her. As the next few days go by, one by one
the passengers fall prey to Count Dracula. However Dracula does
not take Karen as he does the others. Instead he must make her
love him in the normal way before he can use her blood to resurrect
his long dead daughter. Once his daughter has been risen Dracula
will then gain his strongest power!
Dracula's Great Love was shot on 35mm film and most likely was
released in a 1.66:1 OAR. The beginning of this disc is a cropped
full screen transfer that later shifts to full screen. It is quite apparent
that it has been modified by scenes where characters are cut off to
the sides. The initial cropping that tries to give a widescreen look,
butchers the credits as you can see from the screenshot of the title.
This transfer is clearly from a VHS source. There are throughout the
film images where the tracking is definitely off, which gives the
feeling you are watching a worn out VHS tape. The color throughout
the film is washed out and very weak.
For the most part the mono track on the DVD is in good shape.
As you get about two thirds of the way through the film there are
about 4 spots where there is a audio drop-off. Fortunately it does
not drop any important dialog to the movie! Acceptable, that's about
it. I do think it would have the sound make a bigger impact with a
quality audio track.
Friday, July 17, 2009
Inspired by the characters of Bram Stokers 1897 novel;
The Tomb of Dracula, published by Marvel Comics,
debuted in April 1972. Previously the Comics Code,
which governed the content of all Comic Books, had
banned the use of Vampires but this, slightly bizarre,
ruling had recently been relaxed. The basic storyline
followed the constant attempts of a group of determined
Vampire Hunters to put an end to the recently re-awakened
Lord of the Undead. This gang was assembled by the aging
Dr Quincy Harker, the descendant of Dracula's old nemesis
Jonathan Harker, now confined to a wheelchair.
Harker is ably assisted by the young Rachel Van Helsing,
granddaughter of Abraham Van Helsing, her bodyguard- a
giant, mute Indian man named Taj Nital and the scientifically
and mechanically skilled Frank Drake. Their battle against
Dracula is complimented by the vampire's son Janus,
resurrected from death as a child by an angel. Together this
band of good battle the forces of darkness numbering not
only Dracula himself but also a female vampire Layla and a
whole satanic cult lead by the unbalanced Anton Lupeski.
The Tomb of Dracula series proved to be very popular and
lasted 70 issues running until August 1979 and numerous
In the late 70's Japanese animation giant Toei signed a
deal with Marvel Comics to produce animated versions
of their comic characters. Though this deal was successful
the only Marvel property that made it to animation was
Tomb of Dracula under the new title Yami no Teio
Kyuketsuki Dracula (Dracula: Vampire Emperor of
Darkness). Appearing as a TV Special on the TV Asahi
network in 1980 it is unclear as to why this was the only
product of the deal especially since the comics that form
its basis were never available in Japan.
The anime version's plot condenses the overall story arc
from issues #7-50 into a 94 minute movie. Dracula is
pursued across Boston, New York and eventually
Transylvania by the Vampire Hunting team and a Satanic
Cult from whom he stole their bridal offering a young
girl named Dolores with whom the Vampire has fallen
The direction of Dracula was handled by two regular Toei
staffers; Akinori Nagaoka & Minoru Okazaki whose credits
included numerous episodes of popular shows such as
Dr Slump, Anpanman, Lupin III and Gegege no Kitaro.
The story was penned by Tadaaki Yamazaki with token
credit given to the original comic's staff Gene Colan,
Marv Wolfman and Tom Palmer. Seiji Yokoyama, whose
notable credits include Captain Harlock and Saint Seiya,
provided the haunting score.
The TV Special was popular enough to introduce a brief
resurgence in popularity of with the Horror genre
continuing with Toei's Kyofu Densetsu Kaibutsu:
Frankenstein a year later.
In the experienced hands of Harmony Gold Yami no Teio
Kyuketsuki Dracula appeared in west in 1983 under the
new title of Dracula: Sovereign of the Damned. Directed
by Robert Barron and with many of the regular cast who
would later go on to success in Robotech, Dracula played
on cable channels in the USA with a running time four
minutes shorter than in Japan. Despite the adult themes
the animated feature was released as a children's video
by Vestron in America and Mountain Video in the UK.
Interestingly the English release was only available before
the regulation of the video market and disappeared without
re-release when the laws were changed. As ever, Dracula
found a home in Europe including France and anime loving
Spain where it was released by Mondo Home Entertainment
with a dub by Oceania Film.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
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Saturday, July 11, 2009
Blood for Dracula (also known as Andy Warhol's Dracula
or Dracula cerca sangue di Vergine e morì di sete.)
is a 1974 film directed by Paul Morrissey (in Italy Antonio
Margheriti) and produced by Andy Warhol and Andrew
Braunsberg. It stars Udo Kier, Joe Dallesandro, Maxime
McKendry, Stefania Casini, and Arno Juerging. Roman
Polanski and Vittorio de Sica appear in cameo roles.
The film was shot on locations in Italy and was partly
improvised as the filming of Flesh for Frankenstein by the
same team had been quicker and less costly than expected.
Blood for Dracula was initially released to theaters in a 103-
minute version that was given an X rating by the MPAA due
to its violent and sexual elements; it was later cut to 94
minutes and reclassified with an R rating for re-release.
The original uncut version has been released to DVD
several times, though it is now unrated.
A sickly and dying Count Dracula, who must drink virgin
(he pronounces it "wirgin") blood to survive, travels from
Transylvania to Italy. With a shortage of virgins in Romania
and thinking he will be more likely to find a virgin in a
Catholic country, Dracula befriends Marchese di Fiori (played
by de Sica), an impecunious Italian landowner who, with a
lavish estate falling into decline, is willing to marry off one
of his four daughters to the wealthy aristocrat.
Of di Fiori's four daughters, two regularly enjoy the sexual
services of Mario, the estate handyman (played by Dallesandro),
a Marxist with a hammer and sickle painted on his bedroom
wall. The youngest and eldest daughters are virgins, but the
latter is thought too plain to be offered for marriage, and is
past her prime, and the youngest is only fourteen years old
(portrayed by 23 year old Silvia Dionisio). Dracula obtains
assurances that all the daughters are virgins and drinks the
blood of the two who are considered marriageable. However,
both are non-virgins and their tainted blood makes Dracula
ill, but still turning the two girls into mental slaves.
Mario realizes the danger to the youngest daughter in time
and rapes her ostensibly for her own protection. But in the
meantime Dracula has drunk the blood of the eldest
daughter, turning her into a vampire. After the mother is
stabbed by Dracula's servant (whom she then shoots) and
Mario kills Dracula, the peasant Mario commands the estate.
Sunday, July 5, 2009
Dracula Lives was a magazine-sized, black-and-white-interior
comic from the 1970's, part of Marvel's larger effort to dominate
the comic-magazine field and do away with pesky rivals like
Warren Publishing. The effort was a failure, but some interesting
issues did come out of it, especially those devoted to horror and
Dracula Lives was on the shelves at the same time as the
longer-running Tomb of Dracula comic. The continuities of the
two overlapped, with storylines often weaving between the two;
most of the time, however, the magazine tales were stand-alone
stories, more generic adventures of the Count. Because of the
magazine format, DL could afford to be a little racier - but,
unfortunately, it rarely was. Instead, what we got were Dracula
stories by various creative teams from the Marvel stable,
alongside a partial adaptation of the original Bram Stoker
novel and articles on the Count's doings in the movies.
This provided a fairly decent mixture of material, but the
main meat of the magazine - the comic stories - were only
slightly above average most of the time. It was interesting
to see the King of Vampires in various historical periods and
different situations; but what this also meant was that the
internal consistency and continuity of stories was uneven
and ultiamately unsatisfying.
Dracula Lives ran for thirteen regular issues and one annual,
which contained reprint material.
You can see a gallery of Dracula Lives cover images here.
Friday, July 3, 2009
Director: Jess Franco
(Female Vampire 1973;
Virgin Among The Living Dead 1971;
Count Dracula 1970)
Producer: Interfilme / Fenix Films
Score: Bruno Nicolai / Daniel White
Writer: Jess Franco / Paul D'Ales
Director of photography: Jose Climent
Release date: 1971 France/Spain
Dracula (Howard Vernon) kills another innocent victim and
Dr. Seward (Alberto Dalbes) decides it's time to wipe him off
the face of the earth. Armed with a hammer and a wooden
stake, he arrives at Castle Dracula and duly dispatches the
vampire Count. Next day, however, Dr. Frankenstein (Dennis
Price) arrives with his assistant, Morpho (Luis Barboo), and a
large crate containing the monster (Fernando Bilbao).
Using the blood of a Cabaret singer (Josyane Gibert) who has
been abducted by his creation, the doctor brings Dracula back
to life and uses him for his own ends. The Count and a female
vampire (Britt Nichols) continue to terrorise the town, so
Dr Seward once again sets out for Castle Dracula.
Unfortunately, he is attacked by the Frankenstein monster
and left for dead. Amira, a gypsy (Genevieve Robert), rescues
him and summons up a werewolf (Brandy) to do battle with
the forces of evil...