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El Gran Amor del Conde Dracula

Count Dracula's Great Love
Cemetery Girls

Spain 1972
produced by
Francisco Lara Polop for Janus Films
directed by Javier Aguirre
starring Paul Naschy, Haydée Politoff, Rosanna Yanni, Ingrid Garbo, Mirta Miller, Victor Alcázar (as Vic Winner), Loreta Tovar, Álvaro de Luna, Susana Latour, Julia Peña, José Manuel Martin, Benito Pavón, Leandro San José
story by Jacinto Molina (= Paul Naschy), screenplay by Jacinto Molina (= Paul Naschy), Javier Aguirre, Alberto S.Insúa, music by Carmelo A.Bernaola

Dracula

review by
Mike Haberfelner

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Imre (Victor Alcázar) travels the Romanian countryside with four lovely girls, his girlfriend Marlene (Ingrid Garbo), promiscuous Elke (Mirta Miller), Senta (Rosanna Yanni) and virginal Karen (Haydée Politoff), when all of a sudden their coach breaks down next to what used to be Castle Dracula, but has since been used as an insane asylum before being taken over by doctor Marlowe (Paul Naschy), a scientist dedicated to research. Marlowe quickly welcomes the five of them into his mansion as his guests ... for quite some time, as it turns out, because Marlowe doesn't have wheels of his own, and his next supply coach won't arrive until a week from now. Still, Marlowe is the perfect host, and all four girls are soon interested in him. There's just one problem, Marlowe is also Dracula the vampire, and to come to full power he has to seduce a virgin without the use of his supernatural powers, shag her without drawing her blood, then sacrifice her in a special ceremony to resurrect his beloved sister. There is another problem, too, besides Dracula, who refrains from blood-drinking for now, there are other vampires in the mansion, and soon enough, Imre, Marlene and Senta are gone, only to return later as vampires.

Dracula's charms soon work on Elke, but when he beds her he has to find out she's a virgin no more. Soon, she too is taken by the other vampires and turned into one of them ...

Karen doesn't seem to mind too much that her companions are all gone, and she and Dracula, who protects her from the other vampires (the vampires are another thing she doesn't care about too much), soon fall in love. Eventually, Dracula manages to bed her without sucking her blood, and with that achieved, he prepares her for sacrifice - but ultimately realizes he cannot give her up even for his sister because he loves her to much. So he gets rid of all his vampire friends, sinks his sister's coffin in a nearby pond, then tries to persuade Karen to let him suck her blood to become one of his kind - but when she refuses, he stakes himself - not a death he dies too often in other movies, now is it?

 


Euro horror that's neither as good (as in so-bad-it's-good) nor as bad (as it that's bullshit) as you might suspect it to be:

  • Paul Naschy, then still at the beginning of his career and then rather wooden almost by definition, does not completely screw up his role. True, he's not a great Dracula, but he's not completely useless as well. (I simply have to add here: Naschy has become a great actor later in his career, just not yet in 1972.)
  • The film has not simply become a sex-and-gore flick, there is an actual story attached to the nudity and violence going on, anmd one that features quite a few unusual plottwists, including Dracula's suicide at the end.
  • The story of the film is also one of its problems though: Too much emphasis is put on the romance angle of the plot to really keep the tension of its horror roots alive.

In all, if you're into Euro-horror just like I am, it's certainly an interesting film - but that doesn't make it especially good, just a nice oddity in any Euro-trash- or Dracula-collection

 

review © by Mike Haberfelner

 

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