Friday, January 6, 2012

Film #88: Count Yorga, Vampire (1970)

D R A C is a P I M P!
He gots a stable of lusty thirsty ladies at his psychic beckon call. He gots a phat castle crib complete with dungeon and mutant servant crew. 
And dude even rocks a cape! Now dats straight pimpin’!
But like a pimp, stone cold vampire like Count Yorga can never satisfiy his thirst. He needs more bling, more hoes, and more bloods (We ain’t talkin’ bout the gang neither.)

Luckily he finds them in Los Angeles yuppie droves thanks to the help of his recently "deceased" girlfriend. Seems the Count has managed to convince those around him that he is just a normal cape wearing brother. 

After his girlfriend dies of mysterious causes, her grief stricken daughter Donna asks the Count to conduct a séance so she can communicate with mother once more. "You can Count on it!" Yorga says... to the sound of crickets.
With the séance set, Donna invites her group to sweater-wearing 1970s friends along for the trip to the underworld.

But during the séance the Count uses his vampire mind control to get into Donna’s thoughts, causing her to freak out worse than a brown acid trip. Boyfriend Michael and friends Paul and Erica rush to her aid, but it is only the Count who brings her out of her spell. 
Geez, thanks Donna, way to go and ruin a perfect night of dark arts!

The party over, Paul and Erica offer to give the Count a ride back to his castle (seems vampires can’t drive). The drop off goes well, though the Count gives one too many long glances at Erica’s, eh, assets before he leaves the car. 

This makes Paul turn down the Count's offer to come inside for a night cap, and the happy couple try to leave his grounds only to get their car stuck in the mud halfway down the Count's dark and winding driveway. Well, if you can’t go anywhere, you might as well scrump, right!

Mid-snuggle, the Count and his butt-ugly henchman knock out Paul and get down to some necking with Erica. Neck-sucking that is. She wakes up back home with the worst hickey of her life, and an unquenchable thirst for blood. But where is a girl to get blood at this hour? Oh, I know, the family cat! Here kitty kitty kitty.

When Michael and Paul discover Erica chowing down on Mittens, they turn to renowned blood scientist Dr. Jim Hayes for answers. They get one, but it isn’t the answer they wanted to hear. Dr. Hayes suspects Erica has been bitten by a vampire, and that the recent local killings involving bloodless victims back up his theory.

The group decides that it must be Count Yorga munching down on their honeys, and that he must be stopped!
But with Donna under the Counts spell, and Erica turning more vampire by the minute, they are running out of time, damnit! THEY ARE RUNNNING OUT OF TIME!

Will Dr. Hayes and his posse stop Yorga before more throats are pierced?
Can the power of love overcome the curse of the damned?
Can't we all just get along?
Find out in the vampire-revival neck-biter, 1970s “Count Yorga, Vampire.”

RDHP Ratings and Reviews

C-Rating: 2.7
Chris Dimick sucks:
“You can tell vampires are immortial, they just never die. 
Vampires have long overstayed their welcome both on this earth and in pop culture. Don’t get me wrong, there was and still is a place for Bela and his Count Dracula. 
And sure, the occasional modern vampire movie does stir the soul and shock the sphincter (I’m looking at you “Let the Right One In”).

But the majority of vampire movies since the 1931 Lugosi classic, including "Count Yorga, Vampire," are just more of the same. Handsome rich dude moves to new location only to be a vampire that bites all the beautiful ladies and pisses off the dudes who seek revenge on the powerful demon. Teeth are barred, stakes meet hearts, the end. The end. The en….. OH! Sorry, I feel asleep for a moment there thinking about how cliché and overdone vampire movies are. 
Where're daddy's pills? There they are. Plop plop, fizz fizz, oh what a relief it tis! Awake I am!

Now we all know my hatred for the Twilight movies, so I’ll try and keep this rant short. But since when did vampires and werewolves fall in love with ordinary women?! I understand where the TV show True Blood is coming from, and don’t have much to bash on it. 
Again, that is an interesting take on the vampire lore and deserves hand claps not bitch slaps.

But the rest of the vampire genre is just so lame. Count Yorga Vampire case in point. This 1970 movie aimed to modernize the story, making the Count hip and his victims sexy-chic and "today." 
But beyond the typical vampire bites victims plotline, this movie didn’t have anything else to offer. Even the nudity and sex was muted and standard! 

Don’t try to “sex” up Dracula only to dress your starlets in almost-see-through bedwear! I’m not saying that movies need sex and nudity, but if you are going devote a production to being the sexy Dracula for the modern 1970s, at least make it sexy and unleash some skin!

This is not to say it wasn’t fun watching Count Yorga, Vampire. It did the job. Like an egg salad sandwich, it met my expectations but in the end tasted like bland mayo and eggs. 

Maybe my mundane views toward the film are due to the oversaturation of vampires in today’s times. As a zombie fan, I fear a similar fate may soon visit our rotting, brain-eating fiends, as their star grows brighter in pop culture by the hour. (And maybe, dare I say, is even starting to get overdone itself?)

Vampires will never die, and they shouldn’t. They are an interesting and vital part of horror. It's just that people should start finding original ways to tell their stories… instead of walking back to the Bela-well, like Yorga does, every chance they stretch their bat wings.”

N-Rating: 3.0
Nick Rich bites:
"To be completely honest, my review this week is fairly tainted.
Tainted like a kitten's blood who had just dined on antifreeze.

Wow. That was graphic... not really sure where that came from, but it really just speaks to the particular mindset I've been plunged into recently. You see, I've recently entered the ultimate phase (which I actually spelled 'faze' before correcting myself) of adulthood and spawned a tiny person (i.e. I had a child). As this was a mere 20 days ago, I believe it is safe to say that my brain is a bit scrambled and most definitely not operating on the normal frequency.

Reality... feel... funny...

Which is what makes my viewing of Count Yorga so peculiar this week. After a hiatus from the RDHP and life in general (as I have been tending to baby matters) watching this film felt like diving into a pool filled with ice-cold jello: strangely refreshing and a bit confusing.

Is is safe to eat while swimming in Jello?

As Chris said, there was nothing original about the story. It was cliched to the neck artery but in this instance I really didn't mind as it was so different from my recently acquired baby routine. Which is not to say I haven't been enjoying my new baby routine (I truly have as I officially have the cutest child in existence - amazing, but true), but sitting down to the project felt like sampling an exotic meal when you've been eating hearty Midwestern fare for an extended period of time - your normal food is great, but this feel different and therefore is stimulating to the gray matter.

FAR more devastating to the arteries than Count Yorga!

To add to the stimulation I had a special guest viewer with me on my end of the viewing: my stepfather Geiger. He was our unofficial expert on what was and was not factual about Count Yorga's portrayal of the 70s. When something suspect would appear on screen, like a doctor smoking during a consultation with a female patient then blatantly flirting with his overly attentive assistant (fact) or the women in the film wearing fancy, body-length sheer lingerie (double fact) we would ask Geiger to set the record straight for us. He also kept it real for those situations that were just a bit too far-fetched, such as a blood expert M.D. believing in vampires (fiction).

Having Geiger along for the ride made the viewing feel all the more festive and made me wonder if perhaps we shouldn't do more viewings with special guests. I suppose this is a moot idea at this point as the project is nearing a close...

Speaking of Geiger, he wanted me to convey his brief commentary of the film: "realistic lingerie with a few thrills, chills and scenes that gave me goosebumps."

Personally, I found Count Yorga about as scary as The Count from Sesame Street:

Why do all Counts have this, blah, accent? Blah!

Ultimately this was a fun flick to watch with friends and get a little Mystery Science Theater 3000 on... and when your brain is a bit fried, what else could you ask for?

The Skinny: Check this flick out if you've ever wondered how to not kill a vampire (seriously, some of the worst strategies and preparations I've ever witnessed were employed in this film) or if you are in true need of a break from reality."


Things We Learned from Count Yorga, Vampire:
-You can drive down the California highway with a wood coffin in the back of your truck.
-Female actresses had wrinkles in the 1970s. And Nick loves this.
-Never sneeze during a séance.
-Every creepy castle comes with a deformed servant.
-Shaggin’ wagons promote shaggin’.
-Any Count Vampire worth his weight in salt has at least two slave brides.
-Nick has never seen a phone booth before.
-It was fine for doctors to sexually harass and smoke in front of patients in the 70s.
-Every town library has a book on vampirism.
-Don’t ever be a “heavy.”
-Cat blood is delicious:

Quote of the Viewing:
[With no car of his own, Count Yorga must bum a ride from party attendees to get back to his castle. *Note: this week’s viewing featured a special guest, Nick’s step-dad Geiger.]
Geiger: “I know why he can’t drive.”
Nick: “Why?”
Geiger: “Yorga couldn’t get a license because they couldn’t take his picture for it. (Vampires don’t show up in photos or reflections)."


RDHP Salutes:

Creepy Vampire Pictures!
This is the last vampire movie we’ll screen at the RDHP. And really, the last chance for us to justify looking at these creepy vampire fan art photos. They are lame, they are distributing, but they are also fascinating. Don’t stare at one too long though, or you just might awaken with bites on your neck… or vomit on your computer screen.

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