review for The Return of Count Yorga on AllMovie

The Return of Count Yorga (1971)
by Fred Beldin review

This sequel to Count Yorga, Vampire is so superior to its parent production that comparing the two films makes one wonder why anyone would bother attempting to turn the relatively drab, routine original into a franchise. The answer, of course, is money. Count Yorga, Vampire was a surprise hit, and Robert Quarry's elegant, decadent Yorga stood out in an otherwise unspectacular film. The bigger-budgeted sequel is no classic, but the effectively frightening set pieces and an even more enjoyable performance from Quarry make The Return of Count Yorga highly recommended for vampire fans (even those unfamiliar with its predecessor). Quarry is excellent as the lovelorn fiend, moving from the detached boredom he projects as the regal, immortal Count to the pasty faced, red-eyed monster he becomes when his bloodlust is aroused. The story is silly, but the strengths of the film lie in the stark viciousness of the vampire attacks and the ghoulish atmosphere of Yorga's inner sanctum, where he lives with a harem of heavily made-up (but genuinely sinister) vampire women. Several of the pivotal attacks are shot without music, which effectively exaggerates the fear, particularly a devastating early scene where an entire family is slaughtered together in their living room. Lots of potentially dated "psychedelic" camera work actually works to the film's advantage, establishing eerie, unnerving scenes both inside the vampire's castle and in the homes of the victims. The Return of Count Yorga is also blessed with an extremely dry sense of humor that allows the viewer to accept some ludicrous plot holes and become fully immersed in a violent, horrific fantasy. While no further Yorga adventures were shot, this one stands as a rare example of a sequel that renders its source material irrelevant.