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USA 1974
Directed by
Paul Morrissey
106 minutes
Rated R

Reviewed by
David Michael Brown
3.5 stars

Blood For Dracula

Synopsis: Dracula is in a bad way, there is a shortage of virgins' blood in his home land of Transylvania. Looking for a pure bloodline to ravage he heads to Italy with his assistant. He needs a devout Catholic family with a fine selection of female offspring. He finds one but little does he know that the Marxist gardener is having his way with the four daughters. Sickened by the tainted blood ("The blood of these whores is killing me") he has to fight a bloody battle to survive.

Udo Kier cuts a forlorn figure as the Count, not surprising as the actor was shooting Blood For Dracula the afternoon after he and director Paul Morrissey had just finished the film's companion piece Flesh For Frankenstein. A quick haircut and Kier changed character, his skinny figure created by simply not eating (Kier reportedly fainted on numerous occasions whilst filming). Joe Dallesandro is hilarious as the gardener, Joe, barely attempting to hide his thick New York drawl as he spouts out his dialogue with clueless venom. It's no wonder that the film was re-released as Young Dracula to capitalise on the success of the Mel Brooks horror comedy Young Frankenstein.

The film looks wonderful. Gone are the static shots of Morrisey's early New York work. This film revels in its lush European vistas and Gothic architecture; the accompanying score by Claudio Gizzi is sumptuous and gives the film a classy feel that is only belied by some of the frankly terrible performances on show. The hapless display of acting will be tough for some to take and it's fairly obvious that Morrissey wrote the script over breakfast every morning while he was shooting the film.

Often known as Andy Warhol's Dracula, the film was the penultimate work produced by the legendary Warhol (the final movie, which was directed by Jed Johnson, Morrissey's assistant on Blood For Dracula and Flesh For Frankenstein, was Bad, a grotesque horror comedy brace that replaced Morrissey's usual satirical edge with sex and violence.

Morrissey was already used to his films being preceded by the "Andy Warhol" imprimatur, a misleading moniker as Warhol was barely on set, let alone behind the camera. Blood For Dracula and Flesh For Frankenstein were also misappropriated in Europe by second unit director Antonioni Marghetiti. Apparently in Italy distributors get tax breaks if the film is directed by home grown talent so they changed the credits on Morrissey's film to make a bit of extra cash. Unfortunately many sources still list Marghetiti as the director, which is a disgrace as Blood For Dracula is one of Morrissey's finest.




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