Blood for Dracula (1974)

Genres - Horror  |   Sub-Genres - Costume Horror, Sex Horror  |   Run Time - 93 min.  |   Countries - France, Italy  |   MPAA Rating - R
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Review by Robert Firsching

The companion piece to Flesh for Frankenstein is also available as a gorgeous widescreen DVD with audio commentary by Paul Morrissey, Udo Kier, and Maurice Yacowar. Like the other film, this one also features great photography and splattery gore dismemberments. It also has Kier as the villain, Arno Juerging as his assistant (here named Anton), and Joe Dallesandro as a virile stud. Once again, Kier and Juerging are marvelous, balancing the most ludicrous dialogue with a hilariously deadpan earnestness that is essential to good camp. That's where the comparisons end, because this film is much more elitist and philosophically oriented than its twin. Morrissey was unique in the Andy Warhol stable, a right-wing conservative, who, like his colleagues, delighted in hobnobbing with the rich and famous, but did so for much different reasons. In this film, an outspoken Marxist peasant (Dallesandro) becomes lord of the manor after deflowering a 14-year-old girl. This act defeats Dracula, who can only drink the blood of "weergins" and is left without sustenance, making him vulnerable to a flamboyant dismemberment. Dallesandro says he raped the girl to save her from Dracula, but the audience knows his true (Communist?) motives. Thus, the proletarian peasant is presented as more exploitive than the wealthy land barons. As Yacowar points out in the liner notes, "Mario represents not the triumph of the people, but the replacement of one tyranny with another, less dignified." Morrissey clearly believes in the superiority of the upper classes -- even those as decadent as presented in Flesh for Frankenstein and Blood for Dracula -- over the common rabble. That may be the root of the problem with both Morrissey horror spoofs, because once the viewer gets beyond the surface craziness and outrageous visuals, they're really sucker-punches at the audience, ostensibly playing to their instinctive delight in bashing the idle rich while simultaneously condemning the masses as a far worse horror. One can get past that, of course, because both of these films are still very funny and remain over-the-top splatter highlights of the '70s, but Morrissey's obvious disdain for the average man comes through in every smug frame.