Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Blood of Dracula's Castle - 1969

Yes yes yes!  Yes!  I just continued with Gorehouse Greats tonight, and am I happy I did.  I literally could not wait to write this review.  I just finished Blood of Dracula's Castle.  Now, you might want to know it has the same writer as Nightmare in Wax, so given that I didn't like that one too much it seems like I might not like this one either.  But I did.  Oh man I did.

Let me first point out that the quality of this film is horrible. Most of the prints they used in this boxset have been surprisingly good.  I have to say that the bad audio level on Nightmare in Wax and Terrified aside, all the quality on these movies has been great.  Until now!  There are green lines all over this movie, they run for almost the entire length of the film with only small breaks.  It's ridiculously bad.  There are also obvious places where scenes got part of them cut out, a character will jump or audio will be missed.  I have to say though, in this movie, it may add to it.  I think.  It made it more of an experience, and it felt more like the kinda movie you'd see in the drive in while you totally felt up the girl next to you.

Glen and fiancee Liz are two very happy people.  Liz is a somewhat strange looking model, and her husband Glen is a photographer.  Not weird at all, nope its the perfect couple and after they go to the creepy walrus tank at the sea-world place, they get awesome news:  they're going to inherit a fucking castle because Glen's relative died!  Rockin!  But it's occupied...not awesome.  So they head out to the place, maybe see if they like it, and if they do, kick the peeps out and move right on in.

The people that live there, are of course, Count Dracula- who is in this movie is called Count Townsend- and his wife Countess Townsend.  With them of course is their bizarre deformed dude, Mango, and then there's John Carradine playing some wormy guy named George.  George is helping out Townsend seemingly because he thinks he might get turned into a vampire for doing so.  Then homicidal criminal Johnny also shows up later, also working for the Townsend's to become a vampire.  Geez that's in high demand these days!

You might wonder at this point, isn't that a lot of helpers and characters?  2 vampires, 2 helpers and 1 Igor-like dude.  Well, that's because the vampires are really not in the movie very much.  They are practically not even in the first 45 minutes.  Sure, they have a line here and there, but for most of the shots it's day, and the vampires are sleeping.  Mostly it's John Carradine interacting with the couple.

Oh and that's because, getting back to the plot, the couple arrived at the castle and got talked into staying for two days.  But during the night they heard screams, so now they're investigating the castle, and when they find a clearly obvious, and also unlocked cellar door (idiots!) they discover a whole gaggle of girls down there tied up and being forced to give blood to the vampires.

You see, the vampires have this new system.  Rather than kill the people, they are now harvesting them.  They take blood from 3-4 girls, but keep them alive, and that way they don't have to kill someone new every day, they can use the same people time and time again!  Why it's genius, in fact it's kind of like True blood...And then, they even say "what if some day someone invented a fake blood that we could drink instead of blood...then we could walk among the living again!"  Holy shit, did they steal the idea for True Blood from here?!  That's the kind of movie this is.  It's fucking genius.

Well so now in the plot they have their new couple that discovered them, so clearly the girl must be sacrificed. I have not mentioned so far that Townsend and his wife worship a god now, that they must make sacrifices to.  Ugh, that was the only part of this movie I didn't like.  Dracula or "Townsend" has never needed some evil god before, why have one now?  I think they realized at some point that their vampires weren't evil enough.  All the were really doing was surviving, in actually the nicest, most efficient way they could.  Not killing people, not hurting anyone.  Just withdrawing as much as they needed to survive.  So they threw in this god thing to up the horror factor and hope it worked.

It all comes to nice classic ending and whatever.  But man, let's talk about the comedy in this movie!  I don't know a whole lot of trivia or movie facts for that matter,  so I don't know what the first true tongue in cheek horror film is. I am talking not overtly comedy here.  You could argue to a point that the 50's monster movies were so over the top and stereotypical they could be tongue in cheek but I think that is just our perspective now.  You could say the same for Ed Wood films, but everyone who knew him claimed he loved those movies, held them in the highest esteem.  So I wonder what the first tongue in cheek horror movie really was.  It probably wasn't this, but since this was actually filmed in 1966, it's probably not got a lot of predecessors.  It is a clever, funny movie!

I was practically expecting anything but that.  I realized it kind of late in, gradually.  It's the subtle kind of comedy, the subtle tongue in cheek.  Like everything is fine until you twist it just a little, and then it's totally different.  It played just to that level of over the top-ness to it, that extra something that lets you know it's winking at you.  It gets it.  And it does it extremely well.

Now I am not a big 60's comedy person.  Personally, my sense of comedy is weird maybe, but I just don't find any of that old comedy stuff funny.  People make exceptions for "the greats" but sorry, I don't find the 3 Stooges funny, Abbot and Costello, Cheech and Chong, whatever comedy before my era I just don't get.  it's probably just me.  Whatever.  Oh, I will make an exception for Zucker/Abraham/Zucker, Kentucky Fried Movie was great.  My point is that this movie is funny.  It was done so well I actually wanted to go back and re-watch Nightmare in Wax because it was the same writer.  I think maybe I missed Nightmare in Wax's potential as a tongue in cheek comedy.  I might just do that.

I don't know what to say, I was blown away.  I don't know what to rate it cause it truly doesn't deserve 5 stars.  I want to give it 4, part of me is then saying 3.5 even.  But I liked it a lot, so 4.

I am actually wondering if these yellow shorts could possibly be a little higher.  It literally might be impossible.

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