on April 1, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection edition of the film.
This film, also recieved an X rating by the MPAA and was heavily cut for the R rated version.
The film is a loose and more modern adaptation of Bram Stoker's novel. In this version set in 1920's Europe, Dracula is dying. He must drink the blood of a female virgin to survive. Hhe is too well known in Romania to get close to any women and virgins are rare, so he and his servant drive to Italy as they believe the influence of the Roman church would encourage women to remain chaste. He then stays in the home of a family with 4 daughters. He interviews them, but they lie about being virgins and Dracula gets very sick from drinking their blood.
The film is violent and has several disturbing sex scenes in it.
The music in the film is very nice though and it seems unfit for a movie of this type.
The DVD special features include audio comnmentary and an 11 minute slide show of publicity photos with the excellent musical score in the backround.
on November 15, 2003
Udo Kier, God bless him. In terms of bad actors, Udo is like a deity, hovering at the skyline of the cosmos alongside such titans as the guy that played Prof. Brown in Pieces. I don't imagine I have to point out the fact that Udo should be in EVERY movie ever made.
This is about the worst Dracula ever. Shades of Buffalo Bill. It begins with Udo sitting in front of a vanity mirror (oblivious to the fact that he casts no reflection, I guess) painting black dye over his hoary white hair with a house painting brush large enough to cover a gutter. This chilling, otherworldly scene sets the tone for all that follows. Dracula must embark on a quest to secure the coveted, now-infamous wirgin blood to maintain his eternal existence. So, Dracula, saying goodbye to his SISTER, fetches his toadie, packs up in the ole' family scar, and takes to the road. Operation: Wirgin Blood has now begun; the game is afoot.
Eventually Dracula finds this estate, where the farmer has in his care a whole throng of absolutely hideous daughters. Now, by the father's account, these are all good, clean, corn-fed wirgins, just what a vampire needs. Aha, the hawk strikes. Meticulously, Udo begins moving in on the daughters. It must be stated that, though he is Dracula, Prince of Darkness, Udo has no shapeshifting abilities, no invulnerabilities, no sorcery, no demonic magnetism, and no super strength. When trying to seduce the wirgins doesn't work, Udo chages tactics and tries to overpower them physically. Come, see this movie, watch Count Dracula get slapped around like a schoolyard sissy by his unarmed female prey. Eventually, Dracula's persistence pays off, and he scores, but much to his horror, minutes later when he's puking over the edge of the guest room bathtub, he realizes that the wirgins are not wirgins at all, and the blood, much like mayonnaise, is killing him!
There is in fact one wirgin daughter, who has fallen under the spell of the stable boy. The stable boy is the consummate, inviolate piece of garbage. Slouching, foul-mouthed, a malingering lowlife rapist who spends his free time spewing mouthfuls of ill-informed Communism. So now we have this "hero" set against the wicked devices of Count Dracula. Operartion: Wirgin is now compromised. Dracula must proceed carefully. A little while later, the Communist stable body comes at Udo with an ordinary, garden variety wood axe---the bane of every self-respecting Incubus. He begins chopping Dracula apart, limb by limb, while the vampire runs like the wind, limbless with his evil cape streaming behind him. In the end, the stable scum chops him down to pretty much a body and a head, and Udo is like, "You fool, you can't kill me, I'm not one of you!" It is uncertain as to exactly what Udo meant by that obtuse statement, but that was probably because you have to be a vampire to understand it.
Short of another Udo Kier classic, the House on Straw Hill, otherwise known as "Expose", this is probably about the best of the Udo legacy, with Flesh for Frankenstein coming at a very close second. This is the one of the worst movies ever made. Oh yeah, baby. Look for the upcoming sequel, Operation: Wirgin vs Plan 9 From Outer Space.
on August 25, 2003
When I see a film with "Andy Warhol Presents" near the title, I cringe. For the record, I think that a guy who paints pictures of Campbell soup cans and passes it off as satiric art deserves my scorn. Moreover, I think a society reveals its moral bankruptcy when it elevates an odd duck like Warhol and his acolytes into figures worthy of worship. My personal opinions about Warhol and his "Factory" caused me a good measure of turmoil after I watched Paul Morrissey's "Blood for Dracula." This campy retelling of the Dracula legend is, by all accounts, closely associated with Warhol's forays into various forms of media, so if I despise Warhol I must necessarily despise this picture. I can't make that leap, however, because I discovered much to my liking in this cheesy movie. Discovering that Criterion actually released this on DVD might well be the biggest shock of them all; anyone familiar with the home video market recognizes Criterion's reputation for releasing some of the finest films ever made. Oh, how I dislike these dilemmas!
"Blood for Dracula" opens with a pathetic Count Dracula lumbering through his musty castle in Romania. It's the early twentieth century, and Drac finally realizes that the good old days are long gone. Once upon a time, a hard working vampire with charm and a little money could easily woo plenty of young virgins and sup on their blood at leisure. Now with those pesky modern ideas, a gal just doesn't keep herself pure until marriage anymore. This causes the Count a lot of trouble, especially since he suffers violent spasms whenever he imbibes the blood of a deflowered youngster. This poor guy's starving to death until his personal servant Anton proposes a brilliant idea: why not move to Italy? Virgins abound in that sunny clime, assures the valet, because with the Catholic Church's influence in the region all of the girls assume a dignity sorely lacking in the bleak atmospheres of the East. With nothing to lose, the good Count agrees to leave his castle and head to Italy. Like most tourists, he's just looking for a good meal. The fact that the Count's car sports a wheelchair and coffin strapped to the roof doesn't faze these two travelers in the least. All one need say is that the coffin holds a loved one headed for burial in Italy.
Once Count Dracula and his assistant reach Italy, they quickly fall in with a decaying noble family with four lovely daughters. Now all the Count must do is find out which one is the virgin and his health will improve in direct proportion to the amount of blood he drains from her neck. The only problem with this plot concerns the nature of this family. None of the marriageable daughters possess virginal attributes. In fact, these young ladies are complete degenerates who spend most of their waking moments down at the handyman's cottage or in each other's arms. To further complicate matters, the handyman subscribes heart and soul to the doctrines of communism, and he definitely does not like the Count's aristocratic manners or the idea of one of his young conquests married off to this Romanian intruder. This young communist soon discovers the Count's secret and dispatches the vampire in a sufficiently gruesome manner.
"Blood for Dracula" assembles the necessities for a campy film: atrocious acting, cheesy gore, and laughable dialogue. Simultaneously, the movie contains lavish set pieces, good costumes, lots of nudity, and several nifty twists on the Dracula legend. Morrissey's film also throws in a charming musical score by Claudio Gizzi that seems out of place in such a trashy film. You would think this movie is high art after listening to the quaint sounds of piano washing over the menu screen, and you would be wrong. This production attains a high cheese content from the opening sequence to the closing credits. That doesn't mean the film dives for the gutter all of the time: the plot adroitly deals with European class issues through the characters of the Count and Mario, the commie handyman. Many of the erotic sequences include dialogue about the rich versus the poor, and the handyman's sexual power over the wealthy daughters hints at the triumph of the working class over the decadent rich.
The acting steals the show in "Blood for Dracula." I've watched thousands of films throughout my thirty odd years of existence, and I've rarely seen overacting reach these heights. Everyone's guilty here, but Udo Kier as Dracula, Joe Dallesandro as the handyman Mario, and Arno Juerging as Dracula's servant Anton are the most egregious offenders. Dallesandro gives a new meaning to the term "wooden," with facial expressions carved from granite and dialogue delivered in a Brooklyn accent totally out of place on an Italian estate. Udo Kier screams his lines in a German accent so over the top that my ribs hurt from the concussive blasts of laughter rocketing out of my mouth whenever he appeared on screen. Arno Juerging takes his accent one step further, if that's possible, with every utterance simmering with implied threat. Why are Dracula and Anton so angry all the time? Who knows, but it's hilarious to watch. Overkill is the name of the game in this film.
I chortled and guffawed through every scene in this movie. I went in expecting to hate "Blood for Dracula" and emerged with an excellent opinion of the proceedings. If you enjoy cheese as much as I do, you must pop this classic in the DVD player soon. Criterion throws in a commentary with Kier and Morrissey, a stills gallery set to the beautiful musical score, and a great transfer of the movie to conclude the package. I can't recommend it enough.
on January 8, 2003
Two of my all-time favorite movies are those created by Andy Warhol's partner, Paul Morrisey: "Flesh" and "Trash." Maybe I was expecting some of the same raw, hysterical, mesmerizing energy of those two classics when I watched this visually beautiful Criterion DVD presentation. It ain't nothing like my two faves. Joe Dellasandro is the main reason I wantd to see this flick and this Bronx bad boy does look fabulous, as always, in the nude. He was at his physical peak and it's amazing how similar he looks to a young Clint Eastwood. But Joe is forced to read lines and asked to act. This is not his forte. But in one scene, where the two sisters are making out in the background, the camera frames Joe in a ravishing close-up as he combs his hair. His face was built for the camera. The rest of the movie is a chore to sit through. This was made back-to-back with "Flesh of Frankenstein." The commentaries are flat and uninvolving because you learn little about the mechanics of the scenes. Morrisey talks endlessly about how much he loves putting shadows around the actor's faces but I wanted to hear more about how he set up the scenes, the problems he might have faced with his colorful cast, and especially his take on the glorious Joe. Factoid: Roman Polanski plays one of the very sexy and hunky bar flies in a curious scene that seems to have no place in the movie.
on January 1, 2003
Blood for Dracula is an interesting take on the Dracula legend. Dracula is in this film, a weak, sickly, even depressed vampire. who seems to detest everything in life except for his faithful assistant. They travel to early twentieth century Italy from Romania, in search of "Wergins", so Dracula can feed. They settle in an aristrocratic mansion, where the Lord of the Manor has three sexy daughters, and a 14 year old girl as well. Also, a "fieldhand", who enjoys getting it on with the daughters. This character is misplaced in the film, and his contemporary Brooklyn accent, along with his poor acting skills dont help the film. There is also a disturbing scene where he rapes the 14 year old, in order to deny Dracula her virgin blood. Other than that, the film is a hit. It is high on erotisism, and the two better looking daughters spend much of the film naked, and all over each other or the fieldhand. The neck biting scenes are some of the finest on film, but poor Dracula, he cannot live on tainted blood! All in all, a good film, funny, bloody, and a little sad even.
on July 10, 2002
Some people may ask about the title of this review, and all I have to say is, watch the movie. Everything campy and cheesy is present here, including completely hammed up accents. While "Flesh For Frankenstien" felt more like a horror movie, this film comes off as something of a soft core porn romp with a character who only slightly resembles Dracula. Instead of the pure Mina we are given incestuos bi-sexual sisters. Instead of a noble Dracula, you get a whinny, sickly Dracula. And instead of the usual dashing hero you get a rapist with a thick Brooklyn accent. And on the subject of our hero. I have never wanted to kill the hero in any movie more than this guy. The actor, who appears to be a pet of Warhol's, does a decent job (he actually was much better in Flesh for Frankenstein) but is character is disgusting. He forces himself on at least three girls in the whole movie (numours times, as well as one being a 14 year old).
If it wasn't for the hero of the story I would have given this movie four stars, but as it is, well, it falls flat and to be honest, at times becomes nothing but a cheap 70's porn flick. I would suggest Flesh For Frankenstien over this one any day.
on July 9, 2002
Joe Dallesandro's surly Communist peasant answers his own question: "They had a revolution, that's all." He tells this to a pair of decadent Italian sisters in bed, between bouts of antagonistic, power-tripping sex. Meanwhile, Count Dracula (a moaning and groaning Udo Kier), in another wing of the house, is a guest under what turns out to be false pretenses: he's been lead to believe that Italy is full of virgins ("because of the Italian church," huffs his manservant) and that this old estate in particular has 4 juicy virgins to choose from. According to director Paul Morrissey, the fact that his Dracula can subsist ONLY on the blood of virgin girls proves how out-of-date his vampire is. (The story takes place in the 1920's -- "the beginning of the modern era", as Morrissey sniffs on the DVD's commentary.) That this traditional figure of evil is too "moral" for his modern, corrupt prey is a rather heavy-handed point, perhaps. (Certainly for the horror genre.) And the contrast between the sensitive Dracula and the rather vicious Communist gardener who works on the estate makes Morrissey seem like just another political spin doctor. Equating Communism with Dallesandro's rapist mentality in the movie is pretty easy for an American who's never had to live with Europe's unique social problems. This lack of subtlety in regards to its themes is why I don't think *Blood for Dracula* is quite as satisfactory as its sister production, *Flesh for Frankenstein*. *Dracula* was made right after *Frankenstein*, and the resultant deflating of energy and inspiration is obvious. But NOT deflated altogether. The re-imagining of the vampire myth is quite inventive: I LOVE the virgin-blood business, even though it leads to at least 2 scenes of Udo Kier vomiting up "impure" blood for minutes at a stretch. (But, as Kier points out in the commentary track, "Vomiting looks great if you're wearing a tuxedo.") This Dracula, LIKE THE ORIGINIAL IN THE BOOK, by the way, CAN stand sunlight -- Kier simply shields his face with his hat when he steps outside. And he doesn't shriek in horror at the presence of a crucifix: it merely leads him to hide the thing in a dresser-drawer, while pouting, "This room is TERRIBLE!" Indeed, our affection for Drac here is due mostly to the delightful Udo Kier.
on October 14, 2001
Maybe you would have the same effect watching this expecting a five star winner, but it's Warhol. What do you expect?
Udo Kier's DRACULA who has the uncanny ability to groom himself in front of a mirror that casts no reflection of him needs to blood of "where-gins" to live. Not to find any in his native Romania, he travels with his brash servant Arno Juerging to Italy where a noble Marquis and Marquisa have brought up three virgin daughters fresh for the jugular, but Joe Dallesandro's fussy gardener character beats Dracula to the punch...or the - sorry I can't say it here! Which leaves Dracula to regurgitate tainted blood. How much can he stand?
How much do you think YOU can stand? Whether it's black humor or blood or gore you see this as. Maybe you see it as a work of art. It is certainly a more tamer setback to Warhol's far more gory FLESH FOR FRANKENSTEIN made the same year, with same cast and crew. Just try to withstand the promiscuous sex scenes and go along with the uproarious dialogue. Here's my favorite..."Perhaps you're right." - "Of course, I am!"
Did YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN rip that off?
on March 19, 2000
This movie stinks. The Criterion case talks about it being an "outrageous cult classic" and I've enjoyed nearly all of the movies they're brought to DVD, but this movie isn't good on any level. The acting is horrible and the plot isn't even up to porno standards. It does have gratuitous sex scenes (which are explicit enough to give this movie an "X" rating), but the women aren't attractive (my wife thought the guy was ok - good abs) and the sex is uninspiring unless you're a virgin. Horror fans will be disappointed because there is none (unless bad acting scares you), and Dracula fans will be disappointed because the entire study of the mythos consists of him needing to drink virgin blood and he doesn't have a reflection in a mirror. Of course, he has no problem picking up a crucifix, walking in sunlight, and is only slightly put out upon entering a chapel. Perhaps the worst part is that this movie doesn't even click as one of those horrible movies that suck you in because you're amazed at how bad they are. I bought this movie because of the reviews below - don't make the same mistake - rent it first. Or better yet - get Rocky Horror if you want to watch a cult classic.... If you want horror, get Scream, Psycho, etc. If you want Vampires, watch Interview With the Vampire.
on April 5, 2004
This review is for the Criterion Collection DVD version of the Film.
This film, another by Paul Morrissey and Andy Warhol is less disturbing than their previous release, "Flesh for Frankenstein."
This film is also a loose adaptation of the book.
Set in the 1920's or 30's Dracula is dying. To survive he must drink the blood of a virgin. He has become too notorious in Romania to approach any women and there are few virgins there. So he and his caregiver drive to Italy as they believe that there are more virgins there. He stays with a family that has 4 daughters, when asking some them if they are virgins, they lie and he becomes very sick from drinking their blood.
The film has excellent music which deserves to be in a better film. The Criterion collection special features are sudio commentary by cast and crew. There is also an 11 minute slideshow of production and publicity photos backed with selections from the musical score.