Tuesday, April 05, 2005
Blood For Dracula review
Directed by Paul Morrissey, 1974, USA, 106 minutes, rated R 18+
Dracula is in a bad way, there is a shortage of virgins blood in his home land of Transylvania. Looking for a pure bloodline to ravage he heads to Italy with his assistant, he needs a devout Catholic family with a fine selection of daughters. Little does he know that no sooner does he find one than the Marxist gardener is deflowering the four daughters. Sickened by the tainted blood "The blood of these whores is killing me" he has to fight a bloody battle to survive.
Udo Kier cuts a sad forlorn figure as the Count, not surprising as the actor was shooting Blood for Dracula the afternoon after he and director Paul Morrissey had just finished the films companion piece Flesh for Frankenstein. A quick haircut and Kier changed character, his skinny figure created by simply not eating. Kier reportedly fainted on numerous occasions whilst filming. Joe Dallesandro is hilarious as the gardener Joe, barely attempting to hide his thick New York drawl as he spouts out his dialogue with clueless venom "That Dracula is no good for anyone and he never was!" its no wonder the film was re-released as Young Dracula to capitalise on the success of Mel Brooks horror comedy Young Frankenstein.
The film looks wonderful, gone are the grim static shots of his early New York work. This film revels in it's lush European vistas and gothic architecture; the accompanying score by Claudio Gizzi is sumptuous and give the film a class feel that is only belied by some of the frankly terrible performances on show. The hapless display of acting will be tough for some to take; it's fairly obvious that Morrissey wrote the script over breakfast every morning while he was shooting the film.
Often known as Andy Warhol's Dracula, Blood for Dracula was the penultimate film produced by the legendary artist, the final movie being Jed Johnson's Bad. Interestingly enough Johnson was Morrissey assistant on Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein. The two horrors were a grotesque horror comedy that replaced Morrissey's usual political rhetoric with sex and violence.
With Flesh, Heat and Trash, Morrissey was already used to his film's being preceded by the legend "Andy Warhol's," a misleading moniker as Warhol was barely on set let alone behind the camera. Blood for Dracula and Flesh for Frankenstein were also misappropriated in Europe by second unit director Antonioni Marghetiti. Apparently in Italy distributors get tax breaks if the film is directed by home grown talent so they changed the credits on Morrissey's film to make a bit of extra cash. Unfortunately many textbooks still list Marghetiti as the director, which is a disgrace as the film is one of Morrissey's finest.
First appeared on www.cinephilia.net.au